How are you going to pay for it?

Dom on January 22, 2019

Cover image by Sharon McCutcheon We live in a capitalistic society, we need to work and get paid in order to survive. Developers make no excepti... [Read Full]
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Under-developed countries don’t care about Facebook data...

Actually, they do. Facebook data and advertising were critical weapons used in Duterte's power grab in the Phillipines, and is still being used (last I read) to round up possible "enemies" of his reign. And that's just one of the incidents we know about.

There is always a desire for information, especially information that can be used as a weapon. Facebook is a potential treasure-trove of information in any country where the internet exists, and is far more likely to be abused in underdeveloped and non-democratic countries.

This is why internet privacy is not a game.

 

There is always a desire for information, especially information that can be used as a weapon.

Well, for sure. But I think you are forced to make some trade-offs here. That's the doom of free (sometimes fake) information.

Facebook is a potential treasure-trove of information in any country where the internet exists, and is far more likely to be abused in underdeveloped and non-democratic countries.

Yeah, and now it is pretty clear that this situation needs to be fixed.


PS: I feel like the Facebook example has been an unlucky one

 

Except Facebook is just one example. Depending on their security, data policies, and the laws of the country in question, many social media and communication platforms are vulnerable to this same sort of weaponization. Social media in China is an excellent example.

Also, when you don't have any other means of gaining some information, a mixed bag of true and false that you have to sort through is just a minor wrinkle. Besides that, the most dangerous information is that which isn't as easily falsified. For example, "The person at this GPS location posted this thing about human rights; they usually post from this GPS location, so we can surmise they're often there. Let's go arrest them."

We forget, it isn't just the data we volunteer that is at stake here.

 

Actually, they do. Facebook data and advertising were critical weapons used in Duterte's power grab in the Phillipines, and is still being used (last I read) to round up possible "enemies" of his reign. And that's just one of the incidents we know about.

I didn't know about it, though my focus was more on the superficial features these kind of services offer (leaving out the information part).

Still, you made an excellent argument.
Thank you.

 

Sometimes a company's only aim is to be bought by a larger competitor (as has happened with whatsapp and youtube). The idea being they don't need to make a profit as long as they threaten the big boys.

Under-developed countries don’t care about Facebook data issues

As do under-developed (regarding this subject) people. One cannot care about things one does not know / understand.
Also consider that there are now under-developed countries where most of the population thinks facebook is the internet. It's not just a matter of having bigger problems, it's a also matter of being vulnerable.

 

The idea being they don't need to make a profit as long as they threaten the big boys.

It is pretty risky, though.

Also consider that there are now under-developed countries where most of the population thinks facebook is the internet. It's not just a matter of having bigger problems, it's a also matter of being vulnerable.

No doubts about it.

 

I think this is worth a separate comment. Eric S. Raymond wrote an entire essay entitled The Magic Cauldron back in 1999, exploring the means of economically supporting open source software. Not much has changed in this regard. Most of his points are relevant to this discussion.

By the way, The Magic Cauldron is also found in his book, The Cathedral & the Bazaar, with I firmly believe every developer should read at some point. It is named for the included essay, The Cathedral and the Bazaar, which prompted Netscape to eventually become the Mozilla Foundation, and touched off the entire Open Source movement (contrast with Free Software).

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