Future of Storytelling – Do Not Track

What if your credit scores were assessed based on your Facebook likes and your health insurance plan on your Netflix history? Do Not Track, a web-based documentary series about Internet privacy and data collection, shows that our digital footprint may soon become an even more integral part of our lives.

Directed by Brett Gaylor, this interactive series is meant as a warning call for all those who believe their browsing history to be of little importance. By accessing viewers’ IP address, favorite websites, and Facebook accounts, the web doc personalizes its content, providing viewers with geographically relevant GIFs, different narrators, and even the Big Five personality traits that apply to them. Consequently, no two screenings are the same, and we get an astonishing real-time look at how our data is being tracked, analyzed, and sold.

Each episode is accompanied by a selection of articles and videos relevant to the topic at hand, allowing us to further our understanding of issues such as the tracking industry and its economic origins, cookie files, and online profiling.

Watch this interactive documentary and learn how the Internet is judging us

Is it possible to keep the Internet from realizing that you’re pregnant? That’s the question Princeton sociology professor Janet Vertesi set out to answer in 2013 when she discovered that she was expecting. Her nine-month experiment required her to think like a criminal about how she could go about leaving no trace of her bundle of joy in any of her email activity. She had to call family and friends and tell them not to talk about the pregnancy on Facebook. She and her husband bought baby products — like prenatal vitamins — in person in cash. When she did buy things online, she used Tor to mask her IP address and conceal her identity while browsing, bought items with gift cards from Rite Aid, and had them shipped to an Amazon locker so her home address wouldn’t be associated with the orders.

The Hypocrisy of the Internet Journalist

It’s been hard to make a living as a journalist in the 21st century, but it’s gotten easier over the last few years, as we’ve settled on the world’s newest and most lucrative business model: invasive surveillance. News site webpages track you on behalf of dozens of companies: ad firms, social media services, data resellers, analytics firms — we use, and are used by, them all.

For years, as a regular writer at Wired, I watched this system grow up with unease. I watched more companies put tracking cookies and scripts in every article I wrote. As my career went on, that list kept getting longer. Unlike most of the people I worked with at Wired, I understood the implications of what we were doing. Most journalists have no idea how extensive the system their readers are sold into is, but I have no such excuse. Long before I was a journalist, at the very dawn of the era of the web, I worked in database marketing — what’s more commonly called analytics now.

I got into it from the internet side, but for marketers who built databases of consumer information, the web was love at first sight. The introduction of the browser cookie was a transcendent moment in data collection. It was like the first time a kid at Hogwarts used their wand. You knew it was big, but how big? All you could say is “This will be bigger than I can imagine now.” — and that’s what I told people.

Israel, Gaza, War & Data – The Art of Personalizing Propaganda

The better we get at modeling user preferences, the more accurately we construct recommendation engines that fully capture user attention. In a way, we are building personalized propaganda engines that feeds users content which makes them feel good and throws away the uncomfortable bits. We used to be able to hold media accountable for misinforming the public. Now we only have ourselves to blame.

Apple And Google Just Attended A Confidential Spy Summit In A Remote English Mansion

At an 18th-century mansion in England’s countryside last week, current and former spy chiefs from seven countries faced off with representatives from tech giants Apple and Google to discuss government surveillance in the aftermath of Edward Snowden’s leaks.

The three-day conference, which took place behind closed doors and under strict rules about confidentiality, was aimed at debating the line between privacy and security.

Spy agencies target mobile phones, app stores to implant spyware

Canada and its spying partners exploited weaknesses in one of the world’s most popular mobile browsers and planned to hack into smartphones via links to Google and Samsung app stores, a top secret document obtained by CBC News shows.

The 2012 document shows that the surveillance agencies exploited the weaknesses in certain mobile apps in pursuit of their national security interests, but it appears they didn’t alert the companies or the public to these weaknesses. That potentially put millions of users in danger of their data being accessed by other governments’ agencies, hackers or criminals.

Anti-NSA Pranksters Planted Tape Recorders Across New York and Published Your Conversations

A WOMAN AT a gym tells her friend she pays rent higher than $2,000 a month. An ex-Microsoft employee describes his work as an artist to a woman he’s interviewing to be his assistant—he makes paintings and body casts, as well as something to do with infrared light that’s hard to discern from his foreign accent. Another man describes his gay lover’s unusual sexual fetish, which involves engaging in fake fistfights, “like we were doing a scene from Batman Returns.”

These conversations—apparently real ones, whose participants had no knowledge an eavesdropper might be listening—were recorded and published by the NSA. Well, actually no, not the NSA, but an anonymous group of anti-NSA protestors claiming to be contractors of the intelligence agency and launching a new “pilot program” in New York City on its behalf. That spoof of a pilot program, as the prankster provocateurs describe and document in videos on their website, involves planting micro-cassette recorders under tables and benches around New York city, retrieving the tapes and embedding the resulting audio on their website: Wearealwayslistening.com.

The minority report: Chicago’s new police computer predicts crimes, but is it racist?

Chicago police say its computers can tell who will be a violent criminal, but critics say it’s nothing more than racial profiling.

When the Chicago Police Department sent one of its commanders to Robert McDaniel’s home last summer, the 22-year-old high school dropout was surprised. Though he lived in a neighborhood well-known for bloodshed on its streets, he hadn’t committed a crime or interacted with a police officer recently. And he didn’t have a violent criminal record, nor any gun violations. In August, he incredulously told the Chicago Tribune, “I haven’t done nothing that the next kid growing up hadn’t done.” Yet, there stood the female police commander at his front door with a stern message: if you commit any crimes, there will be major consequences. We’re watching you.

What McDaniel didn’t know was that he had been placed on the city’s “heat list” — an index of the roughly 400 people in the city of Chicago supposedly most likely to be involved in violent crime. Inspired by a Yale sociologist’s studies and compiled using an algorithm created by an engineer at the Illinois Institute of Technology, the heat list is just one example of the experiments the CPD is conducting as it attempts to push policing into the 21st century.

 

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