Unfortunately, the Panopticam stopped broadcasting the exact hour I was showing this message. So, the very last image broadcasted from their Twitter and YouTube accounts was the one just before me. The text below was ready since the day before and I was waiting until Jeremy was back online to release it, but after realising they are not going to resuscitate the project before I finish my sabbatical leave, I decided to post it anyway. So, this message was originally planned and delivered on February 24th 2016, and is being released on June 23rd 2016, with no images from the Panopticam…
Inspiration for this message/quote came from the Channel 4 series called Data Baby, with lots of very interesting reports on issues involving privacy, Internet of Things, social media, surveillance, and obviously big data.
Data is today’s goldmine and privacy settings are always calibrated to the amount of “freedom” companies have to monetise personal data. They will say they’re never interested in content and the actual personal data, and this is true, but they can do a lot more to what is known as metadata (data about data). Ask the NSA and GCHQ what kind of data they collect and the answer is exactly the same (have a look at this: “Phew, NSA Is Just Collecting Metadata”). US Senator Dianne Feinstein (chair of the Senate intelligence committee) has this to say about NSA bulk metadata collection programmes:
“The call-records program is not surveillance. It does not collect the content of any communication, nor do the records include names or locations. The NSA only collects the type of information found on a telephone bill: phone numbers of calls placed and received, the time of the calls and duration.”
They usually don’t want to read our emails or listen to our phone calls, when all they need to build “profiles” is to know who we’re emailing/phoning or when, where from, and things like that. So, with metadata they have users’ habits, connections, movements, necessities, preferences, consumer records, you name it! Ok, this message isn’t about NSA or GCHQ, but Facebook. So, just imagine what Facebook can do with everything its users post/like/share/comment on their profiles?!
A final update to this message (June 23rd 2016) comes from the funny picture posted by Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, recently, where it’s possible to spot his own laptop on the background with tape covering its webcam and microphone. If there’s anyone who knows what’s possible to collect from someone else’s computers, I guess this is him…