Is Google predicting criminals ?
If you have not seen this bombshell that was dropped by The Intercept last week, you need to go back and read it right now. The article is detailing Google’s relationship with the White House- and it is a showstopper. Really, Read The Whole Thing.
Some of the highlights that pertain to student data privacy:
“Another potential conflict arises from the enormous amount of data that Google and the government each have stored on American citizens. Google recently acknowledged having mined the data of student users of its education apps, and has been accused repeatedly of violating user privacy in other contexts. An overly close partnership risks Google putting its data in the government’s hands or gaining access to what the government has collected.
Most notably, Google has faced questions for years about exercising its market power to squash rivals, infringing on its users’ privacy rights, favoring its own business affiliates in search results, and using patent law to create barriers to competition. Even Republican senators like Orrin Hatch have called out Google for its practices.
In 2012, staff at the Federal Trade Commission recommended filing antitrust charges after determining that Google was engaging in anti-competitive tactics and abusing its monopoly. A [FTC] staff report that was later leaked said Google’s conduct “has resulted — and will result — in real harm to consumers and to innovation in the online search and advertising markets.”
The Wall Street Journal noted that Google’s White House visits increased right around that time. And in 2013, the presidentially appointed commissioners of the FTC overrode their staff, voting unanimously not to file any charges.
Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, said the [White House] administration “has been a huge help” to Google both by protecting it from attempts to limit its market power and by blocking privacy legislation. “Google has been able to thwart regulatory scrutiny in terms of anti-competitive practices, and has played a key role in ensuring that the United States doesn’t protect at all the privacy of its citizens and its consumers,” Chester said.
At a congressional hearing earlier this month, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, citing the possibility of consumer harm, called on the FTC to reconsider the kind of antitrust charges against Google recently filed in Europe.” -The Intercept [emphasis added]
So, keeping all that in mind, let’s move onto another report on Google, privacy that goes waaay beyond reading your email.
IS GOOGLE SURVEILLANCE OFFERING “PREDICTIVE POLICING” IN YOUR TOWN?
…in your schools?
Consider this 2014 article from PandoDaily and happenings in Oakland, CA. See some of the highlights below, but if you have time, read the full article. There is so much more.
“On February 18, 2014 several hundred privacy, labor, civil rights activists and Black Bloc anarchists packed Oakland’s city hall. They were there to protest the construction of a citywide surveillance center that would turn a firehouse in downtown Oakland into a high-tech intelligence hub straight outta Mission Impossible.”
“Main item on the agenda that night: The “Domain Awareness Center” (DAC) — a federally funded project that, if built as planned, would link up real time audio and video feeds from thousands of sensors across the city — including CCTV cameras in public schools and public housing projects, as well as Oakland Police Department mobile license plate scanners — into one high-tech control hub, where analysts could pipe the data through face recognition software, surveil the city by location and enrich its intelligence with data coming in from local, state and federal government and law enforcement agencies.”
“The anger wasn’t just the standard objection to surveillance — or at least it was, but it had been intensified by a set of documents, obtained through a public records request by privacy activists, that showed city officials were more interested in using DAC’s surveillance capabilities to monitor political protests rather than fighting crime. The evidence was abundant and overwhelming: in email after email, Oakland officials had discussed the DAC usefulness for keeping tabs on activists, monitoring non-violent political protests and minimize port disruption due to union/labor strikes.”
“Google’s Scott Ciabattari [also] attended the Geospatial Conference of the West in Wyoming in 2013, where he delivered a 30-minute presentation about all the cool intel tech that Google can provide to local, state and federal government agencies.”
BIG DATA. Is it getting too big? and too Secret?
Big Data is not always accurate; people should question its use, and should have data transparency. There should be no secret data collection. Finally, algorithms are not always predictable and to be fair, look at some of the other known algorithms the software industry uses. They don’t always work out as planned, Just ask Microsoft.
To read more on data gathering, predictive policing, surveillance and Resilient Cities, click here. Check the list to see if your city is “resilient”.