Privacy: Those policies don’t mean what you think
You gave up the privacy of your personal data a long time ago, said Ian Bogost in TheAtlantic.com. Everything you’ve done, online and off, has been “recorded, munged, and spat back at you to benefit sellers, advertisers, and the brokers who service them.” Companies started doing this when they first got computerized databases in the 1980s. What’s changed is that the data collection is now accelerated, all-pervasive, and centralized. An Android phone conveys your “position in space more than 300 times in a 24-hour period,” even if you’ve disabled location services in your settings. There’s really no way to opt out. “Are you really going to stop using Google? Or quit Facebook? Or stop browsing the web? Or leave your smartphone behind?”
Thanks to “self-surveillance,” the range of information that tech companies gather is only growing, said Megan Molteni in Wired.com. A fertility-monitoring app called Natural Cycles just got federal approval as the first “digital contraceptive.” Pharmaceutical companies, marketers, and insurance companies are all interested in the data Natural Cycles and apps like it can deliver. You’d think you should at least be able to see the data that’s kept on you, said Kieren McCarthy in TheRegister.co.uk, but tech companies are trying to sabotage legislation that would let you do that. California passed its Consumer Privacy Act in June, but the tech industry hopes to gut it before it goes into effect in 2020. Google and Facebook want California to exclude profiles of consumers’ “behavior,” “attitudes,” “psychological trends,” and “abilities.” That rips out the very heart of the new protections.