Friday, 3 May 2019

Friend or Foe? Internet Spying

Last year, we learned that Cambridge Analytica gained access to the Facebook information of 87 million users. Maybe you were among them. And yet, one year later, we still see tech companies putting their profits ahead of our privacy.

Manoush Zomorodi, tech expert and host of Firefox's IRL podcast, has coined our mounting frustration with Big Tech as "Digital Wokeness." Indeed, it's likely the one good thing that's come out of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. In her recent article on the subject, she asserts that solving the privacy problem is possible, but will require both individual and collective action.

Kids born in 2019 will be the most tracked humans in history. It’s predicted that by the time they turn eighteen, 70,000 posts about them will be in the internet ether. How and what you post about your child is a personal choice, but trusting that tech companies aren’t building dossiers on our children, starting with that first birth announcement, is a modern-day digital civil right we need to demand. As a mother myself, I want my children’s privacy to be a priority for tech makers.

In her new book, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, Harvard Business School’s Shoshana Zuboff argues that tech companies like Google and Facebook  collect so much personal data for profit, that they’re changing the fundamentals of our economy and way of life. And now these companies are learning to shape our behavior to better serve their business goals. Shoshana joins Manoush Zomorodi to explain what this all means for us.

We then explore whether or not it’s time to end our relationship with corporate spies. OG advice columnist Dear Abby gives us some tips to start with. We chat with philosopher S. Matthew Liao. He asks if we have a moral duty to quit Facebook. Alice Marwick explains why most people won’t leave the social network. And journalist Nithin Coca tells us what it was like for him to quit both Facebook and Google. Spoiler alert: it wasn’t easy, but he has no regrets.

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