Why Power, Not Privacy, Is at Stake in Online Data Tracking
The degree to which companies can yield the power of individuals' data to explain societal behavior gives them unprecedented amounts of power. Privacy is a relatively minor concern.
What's the Latest Development?
Based on purchasing data, the retailer Target can tell when women are pregnant, often before extended family members know. And to judge consumer behavior, Google tracks click-through rates on 41 different shades of blue. While the brave new world of big data has ignited concerns over personal privacy, individuals should be more concerned over what companies know about our society as a whole, says Alexander Furnas, a student at the Oxford Internet Institute. More than knowing details about individuals, understanding how we all behave gives companies unprecedented amounts of power.
What's the Big Idea?
The ethical implications of big data remain mostly unexplored but one already worrying topic involves the concept of asymmetric data. Information-driven companies like Facebook, Amazon and Google have vast stores of data which are meant for company eyes only. "Thus, industry outpaces academia," said Furnas, "and the people building and implementing persuasive technologies know much more than the critics. ...the persuaders [have] more power than the persuaded." To accurately understand the stakes of big data, we should understand our personal information in terms of power rather than privacy.
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Antimicrobial resistance is growing worldwide, rendering many "work horse" medicines ineffective. Without intervention, drug-resistant pathogens could lead to millions of deaths by 2050. Thankfully, companies like Pfizer are taking action.
- Antimicrobial-resistant pathogens are one of the largest threats to global health today.
- As we get older, our immune systems age, increasing our risk of life threatening infections. Without reliable antibiotics, life expectancy could decline for the first time in modern history.
- If antibiotics become ineffective, common infections could result in hospitalization or even death. Life-saving interventions like cancer treatments and organ transplantation would become more difficult, more often resulting in death. Routine procedures would become hard to perform.
- Without intervention, resistant pathogens could result in 10 million annual deaths by 2050.
- By taking a multi-faceted approach—inclusive of adherence to good stewardship, surveillance and responsible manufacturing practices, as well as an emphasis on prevention and treatment—companies like Pfizer are fighting to help curb the spread.
Long hidden under trees, it's utterly massive
Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.
- America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
- Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
- Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Christmas has many pagan and secular traditions that early Christians incorporated into this new holiday.
- Christmas was heavily influenced by the Roman festival of Saturnalia.
- The historical Jesus was not born on December 25th as many contemporary Christians believe.
- Many staple Christmas traditions predated the festival and were tied into ancient pagan worship of the sun and related directly to the winter solstice.
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