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Wednesday, May 29th, 2013, 4:11 pm

Facebook: Peer-Maintained Surveillance Network, Now With Prompting


Graph theory is essential to the Surveillance Industrial Complex — the privatised branch which maps people and assigns risk levels to them, depending for example on who they meet/met and/or speak/spoke to. Facebook extracts an immeasurable amount of work previously carried out by the Surveillance Industrial Complex. It outsources the effort. The cost is being passed to the public in exchange for games and pseudo-status.

Recently, owing to a friend, I came to realise that Facebook no longer requires anything more than a person adding himself/herself to the site in order for surveillance to commence. Users are now prompted to inform on peers, even those whose accounts (profiles) are vacant or inactive. Family connections, geo-location, face recognition/tagging are all done by one’s peers now. The only thing more worrying than this degradation of privacy is people’s lack of awareness of the ramifications.

The prompting mechanisms add all sorts of relational metadata, adding to prompting for tagging of photos with names, even names of people who are not registered Facebook users.

I often hear arguments that go something along the lines of, “if you don’t like Facebook, then don’t use it.” Well, it’s not as simple as that. You may choose to leave Facebook alone, but Facebook will never — ever — leave you alone. The Surveillance Industrial Complex uses is to gather intelligence on everyone in civilisation. I can almost sympathise with countries that banned Facebook.

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