#24: Know No Boundaries

The desire to know everything about you, all of the time.

Hi,

I've a couple of pressing deadlines to meet for a UX Design course I’m currently studying, so today’s post will be brief, if that’s ok.

My latest piece is about Google, the pioneer of the commodification of personal information.

They may create wonderful, user-friendly products, but it’s not without a cost…


Reading time: 1 minute

“Google loosed upon the world…a Pandora’s box whose contents we are only beginning to understand.”

Shoshana Zuboff - The Age of Surveillance Capitalism

Google is like an invasive species.

It lives in an environment virtually free from natural predators, where few boundaries exist to limit it’s hunt for our private data. 

Google began life as a single organism - a revolutionary search engine. But, like a locust swarm, it quickly expanded into new, more ambitious territories, far from clicks and queries.

It now pursues our private data from every corner of the online landscape: in “searches, email, texts, photos, songs, messages, videos, locations, communication patterns, attitudes, preferences, interests, faces, emotions, illnesses, social networks, purchases, and so on”.

It’s invested in wearables, drones and self-driving cars.

It’s built voice assistants, smartphones, and laptops.

Why?

To capture the private human experience, for sale to advertisers, hungry for certainty in what people will think, feel and do.

It's not about maps.

It's not about phones.

It's not about smart-homes.

It's not about self-driving cars.

It's about behavioural data - mine, yours and everyone else’s

And no territory, it seems, is exempt from plunder.

Share Scott Bryan


As I struggle to take greater control of my privacy online, I recently found a wonderful resource called Switching.software. It’s basically a listing of ethical, privacy-focused and open-source alternatives to the more familiar websites, apps and other software out there.

I’d recommend starting here if you, like me, are concerned about your privacy online.

Thanks for reading.

Until next week,

Scott