You are the product

“What this means is that even more than it is in the advertising business, Facebook is in the surveillance business. Facebook, in fact, is the biggest surveillance-based enterprise in the history of mankind. It knows far, far more about you than the most intrusive government has ever known about its citizens. It’s amazing that people haven’t really understood this about the company. I’ve spent time thinking about Facebook, and the thing I keep coming back to is that its users don’t realise what it is the company does. What Facebook does is watch you, and then use what it knows about you and your behaviour to sell ads. I’m not sure there has ever been a more complete disconnect between what a company says it does—‘connect’, ‘build communities’—and the commercial reality. Note that the company’s knowledge about its users isn’t used merely to target ads but to shape the flow of news to them. Since there is so much content posted on the site, the algorithms used to filter and direct that content are the thing that determines what you see: people think their news feed is largely to do with their friends and interests, and it sort of is, with the crucial proviso that it is their friends and interests as mediated by the commercial interests of Facebook. Your eyes are directed towards the place where they are most valuable for Facebook.” John Lanchester does not know what will happen should this $450 billion penny ever drop.
www.lrb.co.uk

Britain is still a world-beater at one thing: ripping off its own citizens

“Whether as taxpayers or consumers, pretty much everyone in Britain is now human feedstock for Big Capital. This may not be how you see yourself. After all, you’re a customer and in our dynamic, choice-stuffed markets the customer is king. Except that the propaganda doesn’t match reality.” Aditya Chakrabortty asks what Britain is actually for.
www.theguardian.com

Want people to behave better? Give them more privacy

“Team members had a kind of collective privacy—they were hidden from the constant scrutiny by management and other workers, even though within their shared workspace they were still visible to each other. The effect was to shrink the size of the surveillance audience and confine it to people the workers had a personal connection with. This kind of ‘privacy within team boundaries’ has been associated with better results in many workplaces, from Google to hospital emergency rooms.” David Berreby quotes research suggesting that workers often are more productive in an environment that does not monitor their every move.
www.psychologytoday.com

How can the international system do more to tackle corruption?

“The international efforts to reduce corruption that have developed over the past 20 years constitute a massive agenda which is being worked through in multilateral institutions, individual countries, companies and civil society campaigns. It will take years of reform to fulfil the commitments that have been made. But the prize is enormous.” Claire Short is in an optimistic mood.
www.opendemocracy.net

Das Gegenteil von Transparenz

“Wer sich hingegen am Ausverkauf der Demokratie beteiligt, scheut offensichtlich das Licht der Öffentlichkeit. Wenn die Unterhändler und Sigmar Gabriel wirklich überzeugt wären vom TTIP,  könnten sie es ja für alle zugänglich ins Netz stellen.” Katja Kipping beschreibt den eigens eingerichteten TTIP-Leseraum und seine Nutzungsmodalitäten.
www.linksfraktion.de

Can we afford to ignore what Katie Hopkins says about migrants drowning in the Med?

“So while we ought noisily to challenge her incitement to hatred and violence against the most vulnerable groups in society and to condemn the fact that major media outlets are providing her with the microphone to do this, we also need to organise for a different kind of politics in which those escaping war and poverty are welcomed and not left to drown in the seas that surround us.“ Des Freedman regards Katie Hopkins as merely a sideshow in an age of neoliberal politicians protecting uninhibited cross-border flow of capital while barring people fleeing poverty and persecution and refusing to help them when they vanish into the sea.
www.opendemocracy.net

Deutschland braucht Flüchtlinge

“Um es klar zu sagen: Es ist ein großer historischer Glücksfall, dass Deutschland just in dem Moment Menschen in großer Zahl aus dem Ausland anzieht, in dem diese Gesellschaft sie braucht.” Henrik Müller sieht in der aktuellen Zuwanderungswelle eine große Chance für Deutschland und die Deutschen.
www.spiegel.de