it's her factory: On PRISM, or Listening Neoliberally


For example, “privacy” just seems irrelevant here, mainly because the concept generally indicates protection from interpretation. Traditional concepts of privacy rely on the same inner/outer dichotomies that ground the interpretative model of listening. For example, the cops can’t search the inside of your house without a warrant, but they can observe you from across the street, or search the trash you leave out on the curb. Or, as Obama says in the above-referenced NYT article, “If the intelligence community actually wants to listen to a telephone call, they have to go back to a federal judge.” So, the fourth amendment seems to protect us from interpretation, but not from equalization or attunemnent. Is “privacy” something only relevant to “interpretation”? In other words, is the concept of privacy part of a broader “interpretative” discourse? (There has to be a hidden, private truth to either interpret or not interpret.) Privacy, then, might be a privilege vis-a-vis interpretive power. But then it probably doesn’t matter at all to equalizing and (at)tuning power. Would there even be a correlative concept? If “privacy” isn’t the concept we appeal to in critiquing equalizing/attuning power, what concept do we appeal to?

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Predictive analytics and information camouflage – The New Inquiry


Williamson’s describes the interpretive work we perform on ads as simultaneously work on the self.

Nothing [in the ad] even ‘says’ that Catherine Deneuve is ‘like’ Chanel no. 5, or that they have a similar aura. We are given two signifiers, and required to make a ‘signified’ by exchanging them. The fact that we have to make that exchange, to do the linking work which is not done in the ad, but which is only made possible by its form, draws us into the transformational space between the units of the ad. Its meaning only exists in this space: the field of transaction; and it is here that we operate — we are this space.

Even when we aren’t convinced by a particular ad to buy anything, the work changes us. And we are nevertheless tempted to assume that other people are convinced and that from the totality of ads we can deduce social norms and salient lifestyle distinctions that are operating generally, even as we hold ourselves above them. Ads lift us above the other people who are duped by them. That is part of how they persuade us.

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A Guide to the Digital Advertising Industry That's Watching Your Every Click


We’re at the start of a revolution in the ways marketers and media intrude in — and shape — our lives…. And it is performing a highly controversial form of social profiling and discrimination by customizing our media content on the basis of marketing reputations we don’t even know we have.

Have to admit I hadn’t really thought about this. Privacy usually gets framed as there being facts about us which exist independently and then other people can come to know them; but of course the facts about us don’t exist independently of people knowing them, and the power of other people to create these facts is much more disturbing than them merely knowing them (I think an argument could be made that this is not as new as this article makes out, but still).

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What is Google taking when it takes our data? › Voyou Desoeuvre


A lot of concerns about “privacy” seem to be objections simply to the fact of Google tracking data, to the idea that our behavior can be quantified and mathematized. The concern, that is to say, is about privacy in the sense of our true, innermost, self, our bourgeois subjectivity. Or, to put it another way, people are worried about technology stealing their souls.

In which I try and figure out why people are so bothered about a minor technical change to Google’s privacy policy.

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It's Official: Google Is Evil Now



Guess I have a reason to switch to Bing now.

Microsoft’s privacy policy is down right now, but according to the version in Bing’s cache, Microsoft has exactly the same policy people are freaking out about: they record information from different products and services (including what you search for), and combine that information together.

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