The Holy Data - Part 1
On this post, I just want to rant about how internet sees you: A significant, yet unimportant data mine.
Oh, also this topic is popular nowadays, thanks to the report from The Guardian. I just read the statement of Zuckerberg, which somewhat feels like babysitting.
Whatever, this is a way bigger problem than Facebook. Every service we use today, is either run by:
- A company who sucks every bit of data from you; information, behavior, interests, social interaction, personal preferences for every situation (political, economical etc.) and literally every move, every touch of screen, every click and sometimes even the mouse gestures you make.
- A naive startup, who is currently collecting data but still didn’t realize they can do what other companies are doing.
- Someone who wants to help people and earn money
As a person, when asked, you’d probably want the last one as your provider, but you can settle up to middle one, depending on how convenient/helpful the service is.
I really believe the last example is extremely rare on the modern web. So rare that you probably saw not more than 10 services in your lifetime. Most of the web is same as the first example (if not worse), and considering how many startup-monetization models are developed, I suspect there are not many examples for the second description, at least not for long time.
But probably the best part: As an Internet user, you don’t care.
Really, you don’t give a flying fuck. And this behavior is incredibly popular, even with the tech-savvy people who can actually imagine what is going on behind the scene.
Not convinced enough? Try to install an extension (like Privacy Badger, or uMatrix) to your browser (hehe, yeah, totally your browser..). And try to click that from time to time, on the websites you normally visit.
Every. Byte. Counts.
Hell, even now, I have Google Analytics on my blog.
I witnessed some of these companies’ inner-routines, especially their specialized teams. They love tracking you. They’re having permanent smiles on their face because of thinking how they successfully predicted your actions and presented to their managers weeks ago.
Because this is the source of the real money. This is why you’re not paying while announcing your ideas on Facebook, faking a life on Instagram, chatting on Whatsapp, browsing dank memes on Reddit… They’re listening, and they’re doing this so good, you don’t even realize.
They have some products like Facebook Beacon or Google AMP, not directly under the spotlight most of the time, because.. you know.. reasons. And they tend to hide most of the code they value.
Because no one wants to sell apples to you anymore. They want you to subscribe their “appling service” to give you free (or incredibly cheap) apples. Because they want to watch how and when you eat the apple, want to know how you share it and who you share it to, want to know what do you think about them… But ooh boy, free apples are the most delicious, right? Because all of your family, your co-workers and your friends can’t be wrong.