All watched over by machines – a review of Yasha Levine’s “Surveillance Valley”

LibrarianShipwreck

There is something rather precious about Google employees, and Internet users, who earnestly believe the “don’t be evil” line. Though those three words have often been taken to represent a sort of ethos, their primary function is as a steam vent – providing a useful way to allow building pressure to escape before it can become explosive. While “don’t be evil” is associated with Google, most of the giants of Silicon Valley have their own variations of this comforting ideological façade: Apple’s “think different,” Facebook’s talk of “connecting the world,” the smiles on the side of Amazon boxes. And when a revelation troubles this carefully constructed exterior – when it turns out Google is involved in building military drones, when it turns out that Amazon is making facial recognition software for the police – people react in shock and outrage. How could this company do this?!?

What these revelations challenge…

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