Ever seen creepily accurate and specific advertisements online that target exactly what you've been looking for? According to Amnesty International, you could thank Facebook and Google as "human rights abusers" for this.
Amnesty International, a global rights group from London, refers to the business model of these technology staples as "Surveillance Giants." If the nickname isn't scary enough, the group's whopping 60-page report says that this business model by nature is destined to breach basic rights of privacy.
Embroiled Deeper In Controversy
Concerns about the security offered by Facebook and Google are hardly new. The Cambridge Analytica scandal has largely been forgotten, although it's no small matter that political consulting firms are using raw user data from platforms as big as Facebook.
Amnesty International's report only further confirms growing fears about the power such corporates possess. Think about it: how much information do you consume that is directly or indirectly linked to Google or Facebook? How many other people have access or a say in this? If used for political purposes, which has been proven to happen in the past, elections, votes, and outcomes could be influenced. In other words, democracy and people's thoughts themselves could be impacted and swayed.
Do Things Get Better?
Unfortunately, it seems difficult for the current scenario to change. Despite repeated scandals and incessant reports about the threat to human rights themselves, most people are reluctant to switch from the convenience of such widely used platforms. Even while writing this, I can concede to being a part of these masses. With governments seeking information from these platforms as well, it is also difficult to imagine laws banning the usage of raw data from users.
How things may end up is unpredictable. Never has technology and communication had the kind of sophistication it does today, and it is only bound to increase. The convenience and customisation offered by services like Facebook and Google make them almost impossible to abandon without consequences.
The most you can do is review your privacy and data settings on all online platforms and services you use, not providing them with anything that shouldn't be needed. Always deny allowing data to be shared with third parties, as there is clearly no telling where it's going. Avoid putting personal details online unnecessarily. And maybe put some opaque tape on your webcam.