California’s new privacy law permits consumers to request access to and the deletion of data collected by businesses. To comply with the law, many companies are accused of designing consumer facing user interfaces that are near impossible to use. Some are so bad that consumers have gained access to other’s private data.
The photos of all of us have been amassed to create a massive database. A photo of our face can be submitted and it will identify the person (claimed 99% accuracy) and return information about each of us and all photos of us they have found online, even back to when we were kids. They scraped all of our photos from – social media posts. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more – possibly even personal web sites. If your photo is on social media, you are in their database. There is no way to request removal, even if the photo is of a child whose information is protected by the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.
In 2017, without warning or recourse, Google shut down all services associated with Salil Mehta, a professor of statistics, editor of a statistics journal, author of a best selling book on statistics, a former Obama administration official and later, a polling statistics adviser to the Trump campaign. His offense? He ran a blog about mathematics! Google, Facebook and Twitter have become the totalitarian governments of the 21st century, stifling speech their algorithms choose to flag. Unlike us peons, Mehta is well connected and a huge outcry caused Google to reinstate his account.
Egyptian authorities are now stopping people at random on the streets and searching their electronic devices including phones, tablets and computers to check their social media posts for “dissent” and to check one’s contacts. The U.S. already uses this option for some of those entering the United States, including searching or seizing the electronic devices of U.S. citizens.
The European Court of Justice (EU’s equivalent to the US Supreme Court) rules that social media platforms can be ordered to remove defamatory speech, world wide. In other words, individual nations can enforce their speech restrictions, globally.
Numerous common terms, even commonly used numbers, are now considered symbols of hate, per the newly updated official list of hate symbols from the ADL.
There are many news reports about a growing “epidemic” of transgender murders in the United States. However, the data show a nearly constant trend line from 2015 to 2019. Further, the transgender murder rate, based on the data, is 1/4th to 1/2 that of the overall U.S. population. (It is possible that the underlying data is poor, which the Human Rights Campaign hypothesizes – but news reports calling out an epidemic in the absence of data to support that are not even pseudo news reporting – they are creative fiction writing.)
All murders are wrong, period. Violence and hate are wrong, period.
This post is about news reporting, not the transgender community.
Interesting and well stated comments on the power of large tech companies to control our democracy as most public discourse now takes place via online forums.
Facebook routinely spies on and collects detailed information from Android apps, even on people who do not have a Facebook account. The level of detail of the information collected is trace-able to individuals. About 90% of Android apps contain Google trackers.
Facebook, in spite of all its
public lies public comments about privacy, was giving away our personal data including access to private messages to big tech companies like Bing, Netflix, Spotify, Amazon, and Yahoo.