Do you know your trustworthiness score? Did you know Facebook has given you one? To avoid accusations they are purveyors of fake news, the company now uses an algorithm to determine a member’s credibility. Twitter, reportedly, is moving in the same direction. (“Facebooks’ reputation store,” The Week, Sept 7, 2018, pg. 19) How Facebook arrives at its score is as secret as the coca cola formula. Don’t expect an explanation if you discover you’re not a perfect 10.
Most of us have become used to surveillance, so this new information probably won’t raise eyebrows, which is a pity. Yahoo has been scanning our emails for some time and selling the information to advertisers. (“Privacy” The Week, Sept 7, 2018, pg. 32.) The same is true for AOL, another company, like Yahoo, Verizon owns. As the public feeds more information into electronic devices, the less privacy it has. Recently, I wrote of an app women can use to monitor their fertility. That same information can be shared with pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies and other marketers seeking to make a profit. (Ibid pg. 19.)
At the very least, you’d think people would be allowed to see the data collected on them. Think again. California passed a Privacy Act that would make data collection more transparent, beginning in 2020. Already, the big tech companies are taking the state to court. (Ibid, pg. 19.)
“Well,” you ask skeptically. “What about all those privacy policies I get (but don’t read) before I sign on for service? Don’t they give me some protection?” Less than a fig leaf, apparently. According to Mick Hagen of Entrepreneur.com, what those policies explain is “that the company is collecting and using your data.” (Ibid, pg. 19.)