The Guardian UK – “…On [December 2, 2019], the Electronic Frontier Foundation published a 17,000-word report on this topic. Behind the One-Way Mirror: A Deep Dive Into the Technology of Corporate Surveillance, by Bennett Cyphers and Gennie Gebhart, covers both online privacy problems and the growth of real-word surveillance. BOWM, for short, explains how personal data is gathered, brokered, and used to serve targeted advertisements. In theory, users should prefer useful adverts to irrelevant ones. In reality, it provides a stream of data to anyone who wants it. Most of us, I suspect, don’t object to the ads as much as to the vast infrastructure used to deliver them. Non-targeted ads are fine with me. As the report points out, when you visit a website, data associated with your online identity will be sent to anyone interested in bidding in an auction to show you a targeted advertisement. A data-snorting company can just make low bids to ensure it never wins while pocketing your data for nothing. This is a flaw in the implied deal where you trade data for benefits. You can limit what you give away by blocking tracking cookies. Unfortunately, you can still be tracked by other techniques. These include web beacons, browser fingerprinting and behavioural data such as mouse movements, pauses and clicks, or sweeps and taps. Data brokers can try to connect whatever information they get to data that you are giving away in other areas. This might include your email address, mobile phone number, location, credit card and store card numbers, your car’s number plate and face recognition data. Some of this information may have been purchased from third parties..
As BOWM points out, real-world identifiers can last a lot longer than your browsers or even your devices. Your main email address, phone number, credit card number and car number plate don’t change very often. Good luck changing, or disguising, your fingerprint and face recognition data. “Gait recognition” is already being used in China. You can run but you can’t hide. Today, we are past the stage where it’s a technology problem. Only governments can protect our privacy by banning the collection of data and giving us the rights both to prevent its collection without explicit permission, and to delete data that has already been collected…”