• 08 SEP 17
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    Social cooling: Does the fear of surveillance make you self-conscious about what you click on?

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    Excerpt

    You’re on social media, scrolling for something to capture your attention, and you pause.

    There’s an image or link that looks interesting. But if you were to click and others — your friends, your family, your employer — were to find out, would that be embarrassing?

    While the internet and social media have made us more interconnected than ever, it’s also meant constant surveillance by companies — in other words, the feeling that on the internet, we are always being watched. Our clicks are logged, categorised, interpreted and rated.

    It’s leading to what Tijmen Schep, a Dutch technology critic, calls “social cooling” — a society of increasing social conformity and rigidity, in which we self-censor or second guess what we do online for fear of repercussions.

    Schep says it all starts with the collection of our data

    “There’s a huge business of companies called data brokers,” Schep, the author of Design My Privacy, a “beginners guide to ethical design for the Internet of Things”, told Lateline.

    “They gather data about us, from everything from our cookies through emails — everything they can get their hands on. They’re creating reputation scores about us, detailed psychological profiles.”

    Based on what we post and like and share on social media, these firms use artificial intelligence to infer intimate characteristics, creating valuable data.

    That’s given rise to something called the reputation economy.

    “Where in the past you had your money to increase your value, increasingly your social capital — your reputation — is now being gathered in these systems,” Schep said.

    “That’s really creating large social pressure to be perfect, to be a good citizen.”

    In next 10 years, Schep said, we will begin to appreciate the wide-ranging effects of this system, “like [how it will impact] your opportunity to get a nice job, to get a cheap bank loan”.

    “And that will profoundly change how [people] will look at themselves and how they will express themselves,” he said.

    “There are some companies out there that focus on human risk business. They will look at employees’ data — what they say, what they do — and try to predict the ones that will leak, basically creating a dashboard with the employees and their risk scores.”  SNIP

    Read the full article here

    And for the Netflicks fans see Black Mirror’s third season which opens with a vicious take on social media.

    https://www.theverge.com/2016/10/24/13379204/black-mirror-season-3-episode-1-nosedive-recap

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