How far are they collecting and manipulating us?

In my beginning life of entirely touched by the internet, it’s time when I was in high school, and I guess it was when Facebook had just expanded to Asia. So, the teenager of me signed up to Facebook, created her profile, made friends, and of course, updated her status.

I start using it regularly. That time I also start to wonder why this sophisticated facility was offered to me for free? But it’s not bothered me that much and too long, invincible with its advantage. It was fun, I can be friends with people from a different class, level, school, city, country. I can spy my crush, my ex-crush, even my teacher. I guess everyone in my generation felt it.

In the middle of my twenties, when I am using it beyond from spying on my crush, I realize why those convenient was came to me for free or cheap. It was because I was the product. Unknowingly, I allow them to identify me, sell me, and then modify me until I thought it was my decision. In other words, I pay with my data into a business model that calculates to maximize my attention.

It’s not just Facebook that I am talking about. It was all Internet businesses like Yahoo, Google, Amazon, etc. Edward Snowden revealed that the American Government is capable of sniffing us all the time. Cambridge Analytica proved they could manipulate us with our facebook data.

For how does it happen question, I will start with an explanation from Edward Snowden in his Permanent Record's book because it makes sense, it’s about sniffing by the American government:

The cables and satellites, the servers and towers – so much of the infrastructure of the internet is under US control that over 90 percent of the world’s Internet traffic passes through technologies developed, owned, and/or operated by the American government, American businesses, most of which are physically located on American territory. It’s the computer software (Microsoft, Google, Oracle) and hardware (HP, Apple, Dell), too. It’s everything from the chips (Intel, Qualcomm), to the routers and modems (Cisco, Juniper), to the Web services and platforms that provide email and social networking and cloud storage (Google, Facebook, and the most structurally important but invisible Amazon, which provides cloud services to the US government along with half the Internet).

Given the American nature of the planet’s communications infrastructure, it should have been obvious that the US government would engage in this type of mass surveillance.

The reason why they do this was from protecting American citizens from terrorists (it starts from 9/11 attacks), but we guess they went too far by recording anything from every people in the world.

The NSA’s conventional wisdom was that there was no point in collecting anything unless they could store it until it was useful, and there was no way to predict when exactly that would be. - Edward Snowden

That precisely what I mean. There is no way to predict what our data will be used for. Also, unfortunately, there is no way to ignore privacy today. Our cloud track can understand all of our patterns of life, there are so many records, including our phone calls, browsing history, places, payments history, health records, network transactions, and it all has never been deleted. I am a programmer, I made a program, so I am assuring you that deletion has never existed.

For addition, if you look at the top 10 most popular social networks worldwide by number of users, Facebook owns almost half of them includes Facebook, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram. Considering all the companies they own, Facebook has more 4x the number of users of all other social media companies combined. And they have so many scandal about privacy. It should be the last person on Earth we would trust with our data is Facebook (and Zuckerberg).

I just want to remembering myself about the kind of world I live in today. Also, reminding you, in case you forget or don’t care.

Ultimately, saying that you don’t care about privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different from saying you don’t care about freedom of speech because you have nothing to say. Or that you don’t care about freedom of the press because you don’t like to read. Or that you don’t care about freedom of religion because you don’t believe in God. Or that you don’t care about the freedom to peaceably assemble because you’re a lazy, antisocial agoraphobe. Just because this or that freedom might not have meaning to you today doesn’t mean that that it doesn’t or won’t have meaning tomorrow, to you, or to your neighbor – or to the crowds of principled dissidents I was following on my phone who were protesting halfway across the planet, hoping to gain just a fraction of the freedom that my country was busily dismantling. - Edward Snowden

We can ask ourselves: how far are they collecting us? How far are they manipulating us? Thanks for reading.