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The latest report to warn that surveillance capitalism is out of control — and ‘free’ digital services can in fact be very costly to people’s privacy and rights — comes courtesy of the Norwegian Consumer Council which has published an analysis of how popular apps are sharing user data with the behavioral ad industry.
It suggests smartphone users have little hope of escaping adtech’s pervasive profiling machinery — short of not using a smartphone at all.
Majority - Apps - Report - Data - Parties
A majority of the apps that were tested for the report were found to transmit data to “unexpected third parties” — with users not being clearly informed about who was getting their information and what they were doing with it. Most of the apps also did not provide any meaningful options or on-board settings for users to prevent or reduce the sharing of data with third parties.
“The evidence keeps mounting against the commercial surveillance systems at the heart of online advertising,” the Council writes, dubbing the current situation “completely out of control, harming consumers, societies, and businesses”, and calling for curbs to prevalent practices in which app users’ personal data is broadcast and spread “with few restraints”.
Multitude - Violations - Rights - Rate - Billions
“The multitude of violations of fundamental rights are happening at a rate of billions of times per second, all in the name of profiling and targeting advertising. It is time for a serious debate about whether the surveillance-driven advertising systems that have taken over the internet, and which are economic drivers of misinformation online, is a fair trade-off for the possibility of showing slightly more relevant ads.
“The comprehensive digital surveillance happening across the adtech industry may lead to harm to both individuals, to trust in the digital economy, and to democratic institutions,” it also warns.
Report - Users - Data - Giants
In the report app users’ data is documented being shared with tech giants such as...
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