Mass surveillance programs run by the UK, French and Belgian governments are simply illegal: this is in essence the new ruling of the European Court of Justice CJEU, as of yesterday 6 of August 2020.
We learn that governments are NOT allowed to operate massive databases of what everyone does just in case some crime would be committed or a terrorist would be identified later. Instead, they are expected to carry out targeted surveillance and data retention – identifying specific people or accounts or phone numbers to focus on. More info about it from register.
This is a small victory. NOT something which will improve our privacy. The highly controversial activity will now shift elsewhere in three ways.
First many of the same data gathering activities is already done, with more secrecy, involving more secret agents, who are now clearly authorized to commit crimes, and are much harder to hold accountable, and this will be a mess.
Secondly some clever privacy friendly technology might eventually be used. For example in the healthcare sector. But there is little hope for that.
Then and finally we have privatization of surveillance: this ruling will further reinforce private mass surveillance monopolists. More mass surveillance will be done by foreign commercial firms such as Google Facebook or TikTok. Eventually by some new emerging more specialized players, such as Palantir.
A Battle which is Lost, Later Becomes Obsolete…
In general the combat against data theft and data sharing is nowadays becoming obsolete in my opinion. Why??? Why governments are not allowed to do what Google and Facebook and so many other do? An interesting question. This ruling will just accelerate the emergence of new monopolists, who will not only steal our data but also exploit it for the benefit of others, while keeping them inside their data centers, secretly, and also breaking the law as usual. Thus further accelerating the deployment of an Orwellian-type Big Brother cloud, which however will no longer share or sell the data easily or cheaply. It will rather exploit the data for profit, sell prediction and influence capabilities, while keeping them and monopolizing them.
Overall the exploitation of our data and our lives by mafias will continue. Why call these mafias? Is it rather a tool and a network benefiting anyone? These are not tools you use, they are using you, striving for your attention. They spent money to buy you, to acquire you and you sometimes we think we have chosen them, but they have rather chosen us. Most businesses nowadays spent money upfront to acquire so called customers, and they intend then to keep these people captive, and treat them very badly. The problem is that electronic commerce and all influencer (e.g. advertising) technology, is primarily acting on behalf business, not individuals, and really with a strong bias towards dishonest businesses and unhealthy dark interests. For example it is about promoting unhealthy life choices in order to sell remedies and promoting consumerism and narcissism. It is about inventing humans new occupations where we create the problem, and cure the problem for profit. It is in general manipulating human race to become weaker more stupid and more dependent on these so called tools. The idea is that humans should return to living like slaves: being perfect employees and buying and doing what is in the interest of the industry and the wealthy elite. Interestingly slavery is nowadays disguised as freedom of choice. However with disinformation and persuasive tech, algorithms always win against humans and people are systematically making the exact choices which do not benefit them.
Again governments are losing control, and losing their ability to collect the same data, and to know what is really going on on this planet. This is potentially dangerous, and the world is moving the the brink where there will be only one center of power: it will be Big Brother system of computers pretending to be at our service, and at the service of business, and governments, but in reality this is simply very clever malware, malicious software playing all sort of games against everybody, basically cheating.
The core of the question is that governments/individuals and businesses do not have the same life cycle.
- Business are expected to be created and destroyed. They have limited liability. Sometimes they are destroyed because they do some unethical and do harmful activity, and they have perverse incentives. They should obey to laws and regulations, not make them.
- Governments and individuals are expected to carry on, no matter what, and we have rights, and a political processes which favor this.
Humans have inalienable rights, which Google and Facebook do not have. Governments are expected to fight for these rights and police crime, and regulate companies such as Google and Facebook. Sometimes, we need to break them, as these companies are simply harmful according to many people in US congress. Even when the harm was exaggerated, it is very important that we actually scrutinize what businesses do with our data.
Overall there is no reason to be so happy when governments are further eroded and are losing any type of cognitive ability to understand the world, which might involve gathering data and understanding human behavior at scale. Both individuals and governments are marginalized nowadays, in our mass surveillance-based modern economy. Mass surveillance has become the main thing here, it is simply at the center of the modern economy. Currently we are building highly centralized privately run Big Brother systems, where opaque omniscient data centers are at the commanding heights of the economy. It is easy to see that this is bound to degenerate, into a system of organized oppression of humans and businesses alike, with algorithms and artificial intelligence being smarter than anybody else, or just abusing the transparency and asymmetry of information. Here governments have lost relevance and they are unable to defend us (against this massive scale algorithmic abuse).
A dark cloud is in the making. Literally.