Google, balloons and panoptic surveillance

in #internet3 years ago

I was recently reading interesting news about global surveillance on the internet by transnational companies, specifically Google and Facebook, it was titled "The widespread surveillance of Facebook and Google represents an unprecedented danger to human rights" (this link takes you to the Spanish version that was the one I consulted)) I found it as a recommendation in my mail, by Amnesty International, Chapter of Spain.

The "Surveillance Giants" report notes that there is a growing and credible concern with aspects of privacy security with the advances in the handling and processing of personal data by two large companies, specifically mentioning Facebook and Alphabet (a which even today some we refer to as Google simply).

It is not the first time that I find this kind of signs and concerns on the part of researchers from different latitudes. Even recently, while reviewing a story about the progress or rather the resumption of progress of the Loon Project to carry Internet for All, using balloons at high altitude with mobile antigens that would work as repeaters or communication nodes for the Internet; Well, I came back to ask a colleague how secure our data and privacy were if we gave everything to a company ... In the conversation we could not give us an answer.

You can check the article of the advancement of the internet service by balloons in this NOTE. It is expected to be running by 2020 and to enable internet access in areas of the Amazon rainforest in Peru, providing an IpT service that covers 15% of the total area of the Loreto region in Peru (population estimated at 200,000 people ), of these people at least a quarter will have access to connectivity with speeds and benefits similar to those of 3G lines.


All of this sounds great, but it still involves delivering all your traffic to Google and hoping that it will not use it for anything that jeopardizes your privacy or that it will not change your data usage policy unilaterally and will package them for sale ... in the best case, at least you have to have the faith that they will not be hacked or will present vulnerabilities as well known as those that have already happened with Facebook.

It is not the first time that Google faces a problem with privacy questioning, not only of its users, but also of any other person close to them ... It sounds very exaggerated, because it is enough to remember what happened with its Google Glass Project, which It even originated a "Stop The Cyborgs" campaign.


It happened that the user of the glasses could take pictures of the people around him and a simple facial recognition system could provide information on the photographed person that the same person had shared on social networks. There was even fear that although users did not take photos, there was a change in the conditions of use and the company could activate the device and collect information on its own by taking photos with a time interval.

Maybe that is already being paranoid, but that possibility cannot be fully denied.


A curious detail that I want to point out is that even today it surprises me that people are so scared that they recognize them or that other people have almost immediate access to their information, as you will see, it is the same people who voluntarily place their data , that is, it delivers its information as part of the records in different social networks, its contacts, its hobbies and everything that would allow us to establish profiles:

  • social,
  • economic,
  • psychological
  • or of any other type.

Perhaps because of this, a decade ago the fear that Social Networks were used by the different intelligence centers of governments and other not-so-visible forces was all alive, all to spy on and control people.


I read a related headline in the NY Times recently that really caught my attention, You’re in a Police Lineup, Right Now.

But of course that problem goes beyond mere facial recognition. It's naive for the Op-Ed's author to think that a moratorium on facial recognition will accomplish much. As I covered in link #4 here back in September, there are plenty of other biometric techniques for surveillance. These include: "gait analysis (how you walk), heartbeat detection, using WIFI signals to track indoor movements; reidentifiaction techniques that use the microbiome; scent monitoring; and even an automotive anti-theft system that IDs the shape of the owner's backside."

Every time I see that we are in a world with greater vigilance ... it is supposed to give us security and they also say "if you have nothing bad you do not have to fear", but I have a very strong tendency to distrust the power groups and of your interests, so I don't feel calm.

The issue of the private one worries everyone, but at the same time it can be even irrelevant,
I explain to you at the bank where you have your savings or current account have your data, the government to make the tax declaration has your RIF data and to get the driving license has your data, then private companies such as banks and government you have your data, if it is repeated but it is the same thing that happens with google, facebook, hotmail and every time you use Google to search for information it also has your data.

Then what is the use of privacy if they already have your data?

That's why I say sometimes it even sounds contradictory.

Just talking about privacy and I invite you to read this publication.

Google wants to be a bank

Much of the personal information we voluntarily deliver each day on the Social Networks, so if it is a contradictory concern about privacy ... it is like movie stars who complain about papparazi, but they are distressed if nobody chases them for Take them a picture.

A perfect analogy friend.

Dear @pedrobrito2004

Interesting read buddy. It's surely growing concern to witness how more and more efficient surveillance is becoming.

I wonder if at some point FB and google will be broken into few smaller businesses or will they carry on with their afwul and abusive monopolies.

It is not the first time that Google faces a problem with privacy questioning

Several days ago I had a flight connection to Switzerland. And imagine my shocked face when I received reminder from "google asistant" about my upcoming flight.

How could they know about it? Probably by "reading" my gmail emails :/ Google doesn't feel like trusted company those days.

Enjoy your sunday. Upvote on the way :)
Yours, Piotr

What you told also happened to a sister of mine, I had a work trip that she did not publish in any of her Social Networks, only the closest relatives knew about the trip because it was some work and the bosses did not want to divulge much ... and Advertising on hotels for your destination and events arrived to your gmail email to assist you on the days when you would be there ... evidently, we suspect that not only did you read your emails, but also that the system could analyze those of your contacts and create more effective personalized advertising.
That may be a golden dream for an advertising company, but it made me nervous, I don't like feeling SO under surveillance.