Tech companies never properly informed us about how they used our data, and the world suddenly lived in surveillance capitalism. It’s time to stop.
The message from Carissa Véliz dealing with ethical issues in the digital world is so heavy.
“People need privacy”, she says in her book “Privacy is Power”. It is not too late to resume ours, he says.
The invasion of privacy is in the dominant DNA of the business models of large technology companies. When you search or post on a social network, your likes, wants, likes, everything are recorded and used commercially on websites, applications and devices that are far from the original navigation.
She is a professor at the Institute of Ethics in Artificial Intelligence at Oxford University. He wrote “Data protection is power” (data protection is power, probably not to be introduced in Brazil) and is editing the “Oxford Manual for Digital Ethics”.
The predecessor of all this, as the Oxford professor explains, is Google. The search model at the turn of the 1990s to 2000s has evolved a lot.
“If postmen read our letters the way they do Gmail, they would go to jail,” he writes.
The economic power of the great technicians is easily turned into political power, and Donald Trump’s rise and fall is an example.
This symbiosis owes a lot to September 11th. Without the attacks, history might have taken a different course.
“The level of government surveillance after September 11th is amazing. The NSA [agência do governo americano] collected data from Microsoft, Yahoo !, Google, Facebook, YouTube, Skype, Apple and others in a program called Prism. This included emails, photos, videos, audio conversations, and browsing history. “
The response to this depends on people, argues Carissa, professor at the Institute of Ethics in Artificial Intelligence at Oxford University.
After publishing “Privacy is Power”, where she also gives tips on what to do, she is now working on the Oxford Manual for Digital Ethics.
Woman. argues that privacy is a form of power. Could you explain We can think of power as something analogous to energy. It can be converted from one shape to another. For example, having economic power can help you gain political power.
Data is another form of power. They can lead you to gain economic power (as in the case of Google) and political power (as in the case of data-driven political campaigns).
In the digital age, everyone who has data has power. If we share our data with tech companies, the rich will rule our society. If we give it to governments, we risk authoritarian tendencies.
Only when most of the power (and data) is in the hands of the citizens will democracy be strong. Whenever you share data with others, you empower them.
Woman. discussed “the false belief that privacy was an obsolete value”. How was this belief built? Result of several elements, two of which are outstanding. First, it was a convenient representation for tech companies to justify their business model. The statement of [Mark] Zuckerberg, whom we had “further developed” in our data protection behavior.
Second, the link between loss of privacy and harm is much more direct and tangible in the offline world than in the online world. It’s easy to forget why privacy is so important, given that much of our lives happen online.
If someone steals your diary, you will notice its absence and immediately start thinking about how to abuse it. When data about you is collected online there is no trace. The damage may be similar or worse than the loss of privacy in the past, but you won’t notice. You can lose a job due to unfair discrimination based on your data, but you will never know what happened.
Many people use social media to communicate with relatives and friends far away. You can see children grow up and share experiences, strengthening relationships that would be very distant at other times. Isn’t it a reward for loss of privacy? Online communication with the people we love is very important for those who live far away. But we don’t have to or shouldn’t have to give up our privacy to achieve this.
We can use encrypted services like Signal. It is important to note that buying and selling personal information is part of a business model. The technology itself doesn’t need this to work.
Woman. argues that it is not too late to regain our privacy. But doesn’t it seem a bit quixotic at this point? No more quixotic than the end of child labor, the achievement of universal suffrage or the introduction of eight-hour shifts with weekends off, paid public holidays, and maternity and paternity leave.
The history of rights is the progressive realization that people are not resources that can be exploited according to a person’s wish. We have needs and demands that should limit what others demand of us.
To fix the digital environment, we have to end the data economy. Personal data should simply not be bought and sold. This creates poor incentives and has toxic consequences.
Woman. writes: “If we give our data to governments, we will have some form of authoritarianism. Society is only free if people keep their data. “Have we lost our freedom? Part of it does. Some people have lost more freedom than others. But we can all lose a lot more. The surveillance architecture we are building could be the framework of an almost invincible authoritarian regime.
How connected are the US government and tech companies? How do you support the surveillance work of authorities? Very. Some companies have closer relationships than others. A particularly worrying link exists between Palantir and the American government. Palantir is a company that helped the NSA implement its mass surveillance program and is now working with other government agencies such as the Center for Disease Control due to the pandemic. Surveillance in the digital age has been a public-private company from the start.
How quickly is privacy awareness taking shape around the world? Is there a country ahead of us? In a recent survey I conducted with a colleague, Sian Brooke, we found that 92% of people had bad experiences with online privacy. As a result of the accumulation of bad experiences, we are more aware of the importance of privacy.
Germany is perhaps one of the most famous countries in the world, possibly due to its history with the Stasi (former East German secret police).
According to Ms, Facebook has the privacy of its users as the lowest priority on its list. argued. Is the government doing what is necessary about Facebook? No, regulators are still not doing what is required of Facebook. However, the company is currently the target of multiple investigations and litigation worldwide. Your results can be important in the process of regulating great technicians.
As Ms. In the book recalls, Folha stopped posting on his Facebook page three years ago in a rare move. Why is the media so afraid to take action against the control of large technical information? Because tech companies are big and powerful. They became intermediaries between newspapers and their readers, and many people got their information through social networks. Newspapers fear that they will simply be left out if they do not accept the demands and approaches of the great technicians.
Woman. Worry because more and more academic research is being funded by technology companies. These surveys, as well as the work of NGOs, also supported by great technicians, guide the debate and public policy. How to deal with it We have to create protection zones between research, political and technology companies. This is part of the way to limit their power. If great technicians want to fund research, it has to be done by mediators who guarantee that this money arrives unconditionally.
We cannot allow great technicians to dictate society’s agenda because they don’t care about the public interest. If you want to give money to improve society, pay your taxes.