I don’t have enough hair to make the label stick, yet humanity seems to relish labels, whether for good or for bad. Crooked Hilary comes to mind. She’s still free so maybe not so crooked after all. Oh, and how did Apple get labeled a big data monopolizer?
Private Data Mongers
This week I read an article about data monopolizers. Big data. The big four data monopolizers. Four? Why not 12? After all, data does not belong only to those large enough to collect it all.
The world’s major technology players now have nearly unbridled access to more consumer information than ever, and in some cases, they’ve abused that privilege in the most horrific ways possible.
Oh, dear God no; say it ain’t so, Joe. Uh, Ryan.
I sense there might be a difference to unbridled access to consumer information, and how it is used– for good or bad– might be in the eye of the believer, but is this a privilege? Or, is access to such huge amounts of information merely the end result of an agreement between user and collector?
So many questions. So little time.
Oh, one more thing. Who are the big four? I can guess some of them. Let’s see, there’s Google for sure, definitely Facebook, and Amazon is just sooo big these days, so who is Number Four?
In tech circles, the top four global technology companies make up the Big Four –which is sometimes called the Big Five, depending on whether Microsoft is involved in an ongoing controversy.
Oh, alright. Microsoft. That’s fair enough. But, again, who is Number Four?
Most data privacy and security controversies center around Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook. Combined, these companies make up the powerhouse known worldwide as the Big Four.
Somehow the premise has expanded in ways never thought of before going beyond the headline. Now we’re talking about data privacy and we’re talking about security. Where do Starwood-Marriott, or Newegg, or Quora, or Exactis, or Panera, Under Armour and others fit in? That was just last year’s list and some pale in significance to Equifax, or eBay, Target, Heartland, and Adult Friend Finder (a friend told me about the last one).
I did see Facebook on a list but I did not see Apple, Amazon, Google, or Microsoft, so I’m thinking that maybe security isn’t the real issue and perhaps a sensationalist headline is.
When the concept of the Information Superhighway first went mainstream, the public had no idea that the flow of data would go both ways. Moreover, consumers weren’t aware of just how little control they would have over their private information thanks to the introduction of what was then a technological marvel.
I suspect that most TV watchers of the last century had no idea that YouTube would be able to corrupt so many young minds so quickly, either. Facebook is there to corrupt adult minds. And Twitter.
Look, in the last century we had TV and radio station surveys that targeted specific viewers and listeners; newspapers and magazines conducted surveys to determine who read their rags so they could better target ads to customers; catalogs adopted mailing lists that could be combined with other data so determine who was likely to buy what from one catalog vs. another, and what color front page would get the most results.
Data is nothing new and nobody has a monopoly on it. Either in gathering or usage.
Consumer information has always been big business. Now, however, technology has enabled corporations to gain frighteningly exhaustive access into the minds of consumers.
So, I’m back to trying to figure out where Apple fits into this since Tim Cook and his company flail away at privacy offenders in a big way, and the iPhone company’s business model is mostly about hardware and old fashioned sales direct to a customer, and far less about data harvesting.
What’s Apple got to do with all this? Apparently, nothing.
I did a search through the entire article and found Facebook mentioned 10 times, Google mentioned once, Amazon mentioned once, Microsoft mentioned once, Apple mentioned once.
Isn’t this more about Facebook and privacy abuse than anything else?
The sharing economy is providing corporations with even more personal and sensitive consumer data. Sharing economy companies include well-known names such as Lyft, Uber, Airbnb and Upwork. Every day, companies gain access to a growing body of consumer information from participants in the sharing economy.
Maybe this isn’t such a monopoly after all.
Private information is absolutely positively everywhere these days which means it may not be as private as we think. Private information isn’t private anymore because, 1) we have agreed to give up information in exchange for free social network, free software, free shipping, and free search, and, 2) we seldom read the fine print, and 3) nobody really cares that much except elected officials who need some beast to beat, and media critics who need fodder for slow news days.
Oh, and where does Apple fit into this Big Four (or, Five) monopoly which isn’t really a monopoly anyway?
Monetizing user information is not illegal and probably not immoral since most of us give it up so quickly. And, yes, Apple uses customer information to help improve products and services and that technique probably dates back to cave man days when Ogg asked Klogg what kind of spear and rock he needed to gather lunch.
Current measures used by corporations to protect consumer information aren’t working.
Maybe, maybe not, but I sense there is less of a monopoly going on than Ayers thinks, and why is Apple on the list again?