I hate doing Google’s CAPTCHAs.
Part of it is the sheer hassle of repeatedly identifying objects — traffic lights, staircases, palm trees and buses — just so I can finish a web search. I also don’t like being forced to donate free labor to AI companies to help train their visual-recognition systems.
But a while ago, while numbly clicking on grainy images of fire hydrants, I was struck by another reason:
The images are deeply, overwhelmingly depressing.
CAPTCHA images are never joyful vistas of human activity, full of Whitmanesque vigor. No, they’re blurry, anonymous landscapes that possess a positively Soviet…
Earlier this year, Apple announced sweeping changes to their privacy policies, which sent shockwaves through the online advertising world. Beginning with iOS 14.5, which was released in April, Apple implemented Ad Tracking Transparency (ATT), a feature that requires apps that wish to track users for advertising purposes to ask for their permission first. Google has taken baby steps in the same direction with their Android OS and took a big step by moving to phase out tracking cookies. Privacy laws like California’s CCPA are discouraging the gathering of tracking data, too.
I care about monopolies for exactly one reason: self-determination. I don’t care about competition as an end unto itself, or fetishize “choice” for its own sake. What I care about is your ability to live your life in the way you think will suit you, to the greatest extent possible, and taking into account the obvious limits when other people’s needs and wants conflict with you realizing your own desires.
We live in a world of vast and increasing monopolization, with one, two or a few companies controlling everything from the arts (publishing, movies, music, streaming, comics, bookselling, movie theaters…
For two decades, the cookie has been an emblem of the online advertising model that powers much of the open web — and the privacy invasions that come with it. Now, the cookie as we know it is dying.
Online advertising will live on, of course, and so will privacy invasions. But the changes taking shape today will nonetheless alter how we navigate the web in the future — and define which companies dominate it.
The internet’s giants are building its post-cookie future.
The internet is about to experience a dramatic shift toward privacy.
To be clear, Google will continue to track users within its own platforms and use that information to target ads…
The Australian government is currently on track to pass a law that would require the largest online platforms to pay local media whenever they publish material from an article on their sites, or even link out to a news story. It’s the latest sign that the nation is willing to go to war with the platform behemoths in defense of its media industry, regardless of the cost.
The proposed regulation, called the News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code, would require social media platforms to negotiate with local media in order to use their content. …
Google engineers and other workers at the company announced on Monday that they’ve formed a minority union. The Alphabet Workers Union represents more than 225 workers out of 260,000-plus at the company, the New York Times reported.
“There are those who would want you to believe that organizing in the tech industry is completely impossible… If you don’t have unions in the tech industry, what does that mean for our country?” Sara Steffens, secretary-treasurer of the Communications Workers of America, the larger union that Google’s will be affiliated with, told the Times.
Timnit Gebru, one of Google’s most prominent researchers on ethics and computer vision, says she was fired this week after sending an email to Google Brain Women and Allies, an internal resource group at the company.
The email alludes to Google censoring one of Gebru’s research papers without talking to her about it, as well as the poor treatment of those who advocate for underrepresented people at the company. The email was published in full on the outlet Platformer.
Timnit Gebru, a pioneering researcher on algorithmic bias, said Wednesday night that she had been abruptly let go by Google, where she was technical co-lead of the company’s Ethical Artificial Intelligence Team, after she had privately threatened to resign.
Gebru is known for her co-authorship with Joy Buolamwini of an influential 2018 paper on bias in facial recognition software, among other work. The study found that three leading facial recognition systems were far more likely to misidentify women and people of color than white men. The findings helped to fuel a backlash against facial recognition that…
Google illegally surveilled and fired employees for participating in organizing efforts last year, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) said in a complaint filed on Wednesday.
The complaint alleges that the technology giant violated labor laws after spying on, interrogating, and terminating employees Laurence Berland and Kathryn Spiers, both former engineers at Google’s San Francisco office.
Last November, Berland was suspended after publicly opposing Google’s stance on the use of its technology by government agencies. He was fired later that month after organizing employees against the company’s hiring of union-busting firm IRI Consultants, which Googlers learned of from their colleagues’…
The undercurrents of the future. A publication from Medium about technology and people.