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Responding to the online ad surveillance economy


Google Dashboard

Delete searches

Your history

Ads settings

Use 2-factor authentication if it is practical.

Use strong passwords, or better yet a password manager.

VPN's can be hard to choose. TunnelBear is popular and free.

Adblockers are controversial, as some publishers depend on ad revenue, and are responding. Some publishers compare using an adblocker to piracy.

Full spectrum surveillance


Secret Cameras Record Baltimore’s Every Move From Above - The plane’s wide-angle cameras captured an area of roughly 30 square miles and continuously transmitted real-time images to analysts on the ground. The footage from the plane was instantly archived and stored on massive hard drives, allowing analysts to review it weeks later if necessary."

One surveillance camera for every 11 people in Britain.

"Personal home assistants"

(Remember, most of digital devices may already be compromised.)

The Epic Struggle of the Internet of Things, Bruce Sterling

Digital commerce and governance is moving, as fast and hard as it possibly can, into a full-spectrum dominance over whatever used to be analogue. In practice, the Internet of Things means an epic transformation: all-purpose electronic automation through digital surveillance by wireless broadband.

That means... owning and maintaining a network of 'Internet-connected light bulb, thermostat, mattress cover, e-diaper, fitness tracker, bathroom scale, smart cup, smart plate, smart fork, smart knife, flowerpot, toaster, tea kettle garage door, baby monitor, yoga mat, sport-utility vehicle, and refrigerator.'

-- (See list at

Any device with embedded Internet access should be required to have a physical switch that disconnects the antenna, and be able to function normally with that switch turned off.
This means your should all be usable in their regular, 'dumb' form.
If we're going to have networked devices, we need a foolproof way of disconnecting them. I don't want to have to log in to my pencil sharpener's web management interface to ask it to stop spinning because some teenager in Andorra figured out how to make it spin all night. What happens next will amaze you


16278498935_dac4d8f223_o.jpg “amazon warehouse” by Scott Lewis is licensed under CC BY 2.0

With an hour left in the day, I’ve already picked 800 items. Despite moving fast enough to get sloppy, my scanner tells me that means I’m fulfilling only 52 percent of my goal. A supervisor who is a genuinely nice person comes by with a clipboard listing my numbers. Like the rest of the supervisors, she tries to create a friendly work environment and doesn’t want to enforce the policies that make this job so unpleasant. But her hands are tied. She needs this job, too, so she has no choice but to tell me something I have never been told in 19 years of school or at any of some dozen workplaces.”You’re doing really bad,” she says. -- Mac MacLelland, Brown Box


Pearson described the Work Diary as “the equivalent of being able to walk up to someone’s desk and see how they’re doing.” But it is much more than that. Once every ten minutes while you’re logged in, the program takes a snapshot of your computer’s desktop. It’s a detailed image that shows, for example, all the tabs open on your Web browser. The program also records minute-by-minute keystroke and mouse data, along with a productivity rating. The exact timing of the snapshot is unpredictable. It could happen at the moment you open iTunes to start a new playlist. Or when your boyfriend sends you an instant message. An icon pops up on your screen whenever a screenshot is captured, and you can review them and delete any troubling images. “The application is not a surveillance system,” oDesk’s online Help Center says. “You have full control over what it records . . . deleting those [screenshots] you choose not to share with your client.” But the Help Center fails to note that for each screenshot you delete, you sacrifice ten minutes of guaranteed pay. The Spy Who Fired Me

Mechanical Turk

The robots


Tasks that would seem to require a distinctively human capacity for nuance are increasingly assigned to algorithms, like the ones currently being introduced to grade essays on college exams. Particularly terrifying to me, computer programs can now write clear, publishable articles, and, as Ford reports, Wired magazine quotes an expert’s prediction that within about a decade 90 percent of news articles will be computer-­generated. -- Rise of the Robots

University students fooled by robot TA

Robot Therapy (Hypernormalisation clip)

- Twitter taught Microsoft’s AI chatbot to be a racist asshole in less than a day

Meanwhile in Education

If technologies are shifting our industries – and certainly we’re told they are – then how should we, how must we respond – and respond not in the service of “industry needs” but in the service of our own needs.
What I often fear is that we don’t really know what our needs are – technologically at least. Indeed, I think we’ve shied away from figuring this out, in part because we’ve been convinced that technology is too hard, too complicated. We’ve surrendered too to the notion tech is necessarily intimidating – or conversely to the idea that tech “just works” – and that we needn’t interrogate, let alone master it. It’s “someone else’s job.”
“Someone else’s job” – perhaps, but that job is increasingly encroaching on our own work. -- Existing Digitally, Audrey Watters

This passivity results on strange relationships between higher education and scholarly publishing, ownership of learning materials, ownership of courses, ownership of educational technology, data. (MOOCs, student data as business model)

It is also possible to use the web for work that extends the class. engages the public uses the web as platform.

Do you feel your education is preparing you for the life ahead of you? What would a meaningful and relevant education look like?