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

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

Kleptoremuneration

“There is an inverse relationship between utility and reward. The most lucrative, prestigious jobs tend to cause the greatest harm. The most useful workers tend to be paid least and treated worst.” While this inverse relationship doesn’t always hold, George Monbiot still maintains that our lives are damaged not by the undeserving poor but by the undeserving rich.
www.monbiot.com

Secrecy concerns around TTIP

“Shrouded in secrecy, our world leaders are currently negotiating a deal that will let multinational corporations wield power over national governments; lower environmental and safety standards across the EU; bring workers’ rights down to appalling US levels; and threaten the NHS as we know it.” Jim Sheridan expresses his concerns about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and its implications for the United Kingdom. Similar anxieties exist in Germany. Is Europe about to be sold down the river?
www.huffingtonpost.co.uk

How Starbucks avoids UK taxes

“Over the past three years, Starbucks has reported no profit, and paid no income tax, on sales of 1.2 billion pounds in the UK.” Tom Bergin explains how Starbucks makes certain that we are #allinthistogether.
www.reuters.com

Thankfully, a recent investigation provides sufficient evidence to conclude that the UK government has got this covered. Not.