The "Sinster" Aspect Of Data Gathering Companies

in technology •  8 months ago

It is no secret that our data is being collected by most companies out there. Big data is heralded as one of the greatest technological breakthroughs. Certainly, there are a lot of benefit to collecting and using data.

Oil companies use geological and other data to reduce the number of dry wells they drill. Medical researchers are able to share data in an effort to leverage their trials in an effort to advance development. Customer service departments use data compiled to streamline the process in helping their customers since most inquiries fall into only a few main areas.

That said, the use of data in a responsible way tends to be questionable at best.

Before we go off on a tangent that might lead one to believe this is all conspiracy theory stuff, it is crucial to remember that corporations are in control. Now, whether you believe these entities are evil or run by people who are reptilian, that is up to you. I can say, however, that corporations exist to make a profit. That is it. All the b.s. about clean environment and helping the community is only done to garner good press so as to sell more stuff.

The bottom line is their interests rarely mirror yours. And they are concerned only about their own.

Today, we see a few corporations wield enormous influence. These entities also have access to droves of data about all of us. Facebook, Google, YouTube, and Amazon are just a few of the sites that monitor everything we do. Since they all have hundreds of millions, if not billions of visitors, they know not only about each of us individually but, also, collectively.

They are also proactive as opposed to reactive. In other words, they do not just report the news, they create it. They do not state what we think as much as they tell us what to think.

When a system all looks at the same thing, we get a great read on what is happening. This could be of extreme benefit. However, it also opens up the door for someone to do something "sinister". It is here where we start to see what the people who are into conspiracies warned us about for so long.

The Russian-election situation is a prime example of what can happen. Whatever the true level of interference, the central fact remains that an outside entity was able to tap into Facebook's ecosystem and manipulate it to spread the message they wanted. Whether it was true or not meant nothing. Also, there was no fact checking. The data was effectively contaminated.

We see a similar thing with web searches. Google is the giant in this realm. It is a well-known fact that Google manipulates the results based upon a variety of criteria, none of which appear to be in providing you with the best answer. One of the biggest factors is paying them. Put up some money and you jump to the top.

The problem with all this is when everyone is feeding off the same data, any mistakes (intentional or not) corrupts the entire system. Markets provide a benefit in that they tend to expose these situations and offer alternatives. Eventually, they work themselves out.

Not so with the system we are seeing emerge. With data compiled, sold, and branded as fact, it tends to show up on millions of screens around the world. This is read by millions who do not take the time to investigate it. Hence, if someone really wants to pervert the system, it only takes the proper entry point and the ability to know where the viral path resides.

Was this a grand conspiracy that was thought out and implemented over decades? Or is this just a natural result of the capitalistic system coupled with technological advancements and a government that basically is for sale? I do not know the answer and I guess it really does not matter. The fact that this system exists is what matters.

For this reason, we need to keep pushing the idea of decentralization. It is imperative that all of us do what we can to get out of centralized databases. As more decentralized platforms appear, like STEEM, we need to keep pushing them to all who will listen.

As I wrote in a post yesterday, it is not about money or blockchain. Rather, it is all about decentralization. That is what need to be promoted.

If not, these entities, evil or not, will do some sinister stuff to us.

The simply cannot help themselves.

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The most disturbing aspect of the data gathering is that none of us really know the extent of co-operation between Google Amazon, etc..and the intelligence agencies.

Sometimes I get the feeling that all the big revelations we've had so far about gov. spying are just crumbs compared to what is really going on behind the scenes.

I think u'v just spoken really well. I believe that whatever can be used for the good of the public can as well be used to our detriment . The data collected by these social platforms you mentioned can be used for a lot of stuff including crime fighting and all but at the same time can be used to track down innocent civilian and we that, we are at their mercy but the truth is that we can actually do less about this because most people can't do without these social platforms .

That’s exactly what I tell people about posting here on Steemit and dtube.
It’s part of my pitch. It’s decentralized. So you’ll have much more freedom to post what you want than on sites like Facebook and YouTube.

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I actually explained this to someone, and what got them to come on was the decentralization, and not the money making part. They thought the money making part was more cool than anything.

The reptilian theory makes a lot of sense. “FANG” and cold-blooded? What are the odds?

With the amount of data they have on all of us they can probably tell you what the next 3 meals you eat will be before you even are hungry for the first one.

Good post. Love to read it.

I also use the Brave browser to block these trackers. It is incredible that we pay excess data usage fees and slow load times because of these centralized tech companies tracking our movements.

that's pretty cool to know

You included the FAANG stocks, but forgot Apple. You're right that in most cases all you need is enough money at the right entrance point, and you can get your message spread across millions of devices without a fact-check. Part of the problem is that "facts" change according to who is doing the checking, so it's important that people have access to various viewpoints. What we're seeing in the world today is that viewpoints that are not convenient, or don't fit with the narrative are being shut down. So, we decentralize in order to protect the data, and the people from being censored.

To listen to the audio version of this article click on the play image.

Brought to you by @tts. If you find it useful please consider upvote this reply.

That said, Google still indexes content from the Steem blockchain, so the "big data companies" can still build their picture of you with what you post here too.

All they need is some way to link your Steem profile(s) with the data they already hold, and your every post, and every comment gets added to what they already know.

The truth is, this loss of privacy is the price we pay to use these "free to use" platforms. When you look at the big picture, it's scary, but we don't look at the big picture when we're living out daily lives - we like convenience, connecting with, and interacting.

From a personal standpoint this doesn't worry me, because I'm always conscious of what I'm sharing, and how it's being used. But a lot of people put every tiny detail of their lives online - and just like a blockchain, the Internet has a very long memory.

Great Words to live by!!

thank you for technological information.

It's about time we stop allowing them to just sell information about us to everyone who pays for it. We are being manipulated in so many ways, it's just insane!

Decentralization is coming in at the right time. I agree that it's not about the money. It's about the freedom! But obviously, money is a great addition to that and it's attracting a lot of people as well!

This great technology post, i appreciate that's bigdata

"We kill people based on metadata"
David Cole

So true, this increase of big data management has lead to many disgusting activities regarding interpretation and control. I think decentralization is an ideal solution which, as you said, it is worth to figth in order to distance info - from user.

Becouse even with decentralization, what would prevent to collect Big Data from centralized entities? I think it would be even easier, you just need access to the blocks, which everyone will have...

As usual, thanks!
D.

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I do agree that decentralized data will not prevent big data. Big data starts always on a small scale and is also done by soe Steemians.
The interest in different types of posts varies with time. I’m sure that soe browse trough the trending and hot topics to extract information about what type of posts are trending or hot and write their next articles based on this research. While this is harmless it is the same idea as behind big data! We have Steemians who do post the top most profitable post, alsoan example of data mining.
While it is true that most companies do use this to enrich themselves, I do admirer the technical solutions and algorithms.
I do think that this is an evolution which can’t be stopped and will brings us good and will harm us.
The goods things will be for instance medical related, the bad things concerns privacy, manipulation and for instance the automated system to fire automatic atomic rockets!
I, myself, don’t have a problem with it, as long as I do know what happens with my data.
For once the governments are doing something about it, looks at all the European law suits against google and facebook!

You hit the nail on the head Task. Pushing crap to the top of my feeds, everyday. I can't even find my family's posts anymore. I had to weed through political ads for local elections on my FB and Messenger. George Soros just ousted our current DA in San Antonio, by giving $1,000,000 to his opponent, and they were both Democrat. WTH. It doesn't take a lot to influence people, maybe just a lie will change the world. Keep them coming Task. 😎

Upvoted you to decentralize the wealth in steemit :p
A lot of what you listed in your post is over my head. It is so easy for people to point the manipulation as only a conspiracy.

Big data is power.

Power corrupts.

Therefore big data is corrupt.

Signed,
The Ghost of George Orwell

Can't people extract data about steem users for example and use them in not so nice ways?

It's pretty creepy that these corporations are doing this kind of thing, I'm not sure how the people in control justify it. I think 5-10 years down the road we will have decentralized everything and it'll be awesome

I could see making a decentralized ISP, but who/what would keep it running? I find this problem very difficult to answer, and I the only potion I can think of is to make an ISP a human necessity, but then it would need things to keep it working.

Taskmaster. Your post opened up a few new worries to me. It is only a matter of time before Amazon issues its own alternative currency, and they, as well as Facebook and Twitter will be using Blockchain technology in a centralized way, unless we can eradicate their new "coins." That means huge swaths of the population will completely lose privacy and have no recourse when errors are made. Right now when Amazon or I make a mistake I usually eat it before trying to deal with customer no-service. What happens when they erroneously credit my book to my wife and very witty blog about dachshunds to me? I dont know what would be worse Amazon perpetually showing me books about Dachshunds or my wife getting in trouble with the IRS because she cashed an amazon check.

Yes, the worst thing is that there are people who defend these companies because they think that they represent free market capitalism, but it is not so, they are companies that have managed to take advantage in quite dishonest situations. Google and YouTube, for example, apply silent censorship, if a person searches about a type of content, and if this content is labeled as "bad" or "terrorist", then they will make suggestions and show you information that contradicts that type of content, but if they seek information on a politically correct topic, they will make suggestions that reaffirm that type of beliefs.