As individuals, we can control our behaviors and our use of new technologies, even dropping out of sight of surveillance capitalists. But at what price?
Digital technology is separating the citizens in all societies into two groups: the watchers (invisible, unknown and unaccountable) and the watched. Nearly every product or service that begins with the word “smart” or “personalised”, every internet-enabled device, every “digital assistant”, is simply a supply-chain interface for the unobstructed flow of behavioural data on its way to predicting our futures in a surveillance economy.
Google has pioneered a whole new type of business transaction. Instead of paying for its services with money, people pay with their data. And the services it offers to consumers are just the lures, used to grab people’s data and dominate their attention – attention that is contracted out to advertisers.
Google’s decision to bring DeepMind Health, the medical unit of the AI-powered company it acquired four years ago, closer to the mothership may leave 1.6 million NHS patients with “zero control” over where their personal data goes, experts say – while an independent body set up to oversee the protection of such data has been broken up.
Google has admitted that its option to "pause" the gathering of your location data doesn’t apply to its Maps and Search apps – which will continue to track you even when you specifically choose to halt such monitoring.
Google’s facial recognition technology in a doorbell, which primarily faces the street and is more likely to capture neighbours and passers-by, is likely to raise privacy concerns.
Just like enterprises and other large organizations set up honeypots and decoys to misdirect hackers' attention, browsers and similar software should lure website operators into tar pits of useless and false personal information.
Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation is forcing big changes at tech’s biggest firms – even if the US isn’t likely to follow suit.
Google's efforts to claim that it should be exempt from EU data protection laws because its search engine is "journalistic" really did not impress the judge in the Right To Be Forgotten trial.
The search giant's largest fear is currently that US legislators will consider bringing across European legislation that enables people to force Google to remove links from its database – the so-called "Right to be Forgotten."
Google and Facebook's "free" model allows them to aggregate largely unpaid-for content – such as your photos and posts – rather than strike a price for it.
The information that the likes of Facebook and Google store about you without you even realising it.
Working for a tech company may sound like all fun and ping pong, but behind the facade is a ruthless code of secrecy – and retribution for those who break it.
If we do nothing about Google and Facebook, we will get more of the same: more hyper-targeting, more algorithmic bias, less competition and the further erosion of collateral industries, like media. Enough is enough.
There's a good chance at least some of your Android apps have tracked you rather more than you expect.
Google has confirmed it has been able to track the location of Android users via the addresses of local mobile phone masts, even when location services were turned off and the sim cards removed.
As fears over tech oligopolies grow, industry giants such as Amazon, Google and Facebook have found themselves the subject of greater scrutiny from governments and skeptics in academia.
Academics did not disclose Google funding in two-thirds of cases (66 per cent). Authors failed to disclose funding even when they were directly funded by Google in more than a quarter (26 per cent) of cases.
Google has spent millions funding academic research in the US and Europe to try to influence public opinion and policymakers, a watchdog has claimed.
The largest monopoly in America, Google controls five of the top six billion-user, universal web platforms – search, video, mobile, maps and browser – and leads in 13 of the top 14 commercial web functions. With a real threat of antitrust and privacy regulation on the horizon, Google has come to the same conclusion that earlier industries did – that controlling Washington politicians and regulators is a cost of doing business.