The Guardian's Julia Powles writes about how with the advent of artificial intelligence and so-called "machine learning," this society is increasingly a world where decisions are more shaped by calculations and data analytics rather than traditional human judgement:

Jose van Dijck, president of the Dutch Royal Academy and the conference’s keynote speaker, expands: Datification is the core logic of what she calls “the platform society,” in which companies bypass traditional institutions, norms and codes by promising something better and more efficient — appealing deceptively to public values, while obscuring private gain. Van Dijck and peers have nascent, urgent ideas. They commence with a pressing agenda for strong interdisciplinary research — something Kate Crawford is spearheading at Microsoft Research, as are many other institutions, including the new Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence. There’s the old theory to confront, that this is a conscious move on the part of consumers and, if so, there’s always a theoretical opt-out. Yet even digital activists plot by Gmail, concedes Fieke Jansen of the Berlin-based advocacy organisation Tactical Tech. The Big Five tech companies, as well as the extremely concentrated sources of finance behind them, are at the vanguard of “a society of centralized power and wealth. “How did we let it get this far?” she asks. Crawford says there are very practical reasons why tech companies have become so powerful. “We’re trying to put so much responsibility on to individuals to step away from the ‘evil platforms,’ whereas in reality, there are so many reasons why people can’t. The opportunity costs to employment, to their friends, to their families, are so high” she says.
Source: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/201...

"Alphabet's [Google] executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, recently joined a Department of Defense advisory panel. Facebook recently hired a former director at the U.S. military's research lab, Darpa. Uber employs Barack Obama's former campaign manager David Plouffe and Amazon.com tapped his former spokesman Jay Carney. Google, Facebook, Uber and Apple collectively employ a couple of dozen former analysts for America's spy agencies, who openly list their resumes on LinkedIn.

These connections are neither new nor secret. But the fact they are so accepted illustrates how tech's leaders -- even amid current fights over encryption and surveillance -- are still seen as mostly U.S. firms that back up American values. Christopher Soghoian, a technologist with the American Civil Liberties Union, said low-level employees' government connections matter less than leading executives' ties to government. For instance, at least a dozen Google engineers have worked at the NSA, according to publicly available records on LinkedIn. And, this being Silicon Valley, not everyone who worked for a spy agency advertises that on LinkedIn. Soghoian, a vocal critic of mass surveillance, said Google hiring an ex-hacker for the NSA to work on security doesn't really bother him. "But Eric Schmidt having a close relationship with the White House does..."

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/201...

Guess what's behind that wall?

More here

The use of technology that allows the police to "see" inside the homes of suspects has raised privacy questions.
At least 50 US police forces are believed to be equipped with radars that can send signals through walls.
The use of the radar device, known as Range-R, was made public in a Denver court late last year.
It was used by police entering a house to arrest a man who had violated the terms of his parole.
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In 2001, the Supreme Court ruled that police cannot use thermal cameras without a warrant, specifically noting that the rule would also apply to radar-based systems that were then being developed.
"The idea that government can send signals through the wall of your house to figure out what's inside is problematic," Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist for the American Civil Liberties Union told USA Today.
"Technologies that allow the police to look inside of a home are among the intrusive tools that police have."

Two part documentary from thoughtmaybe.com (About)

The United States of Secrets chronologically accounts the Bush administration’s embrace of illegal and widespread dragnet surveillance and eavesdropping programmes, along with President Obama’s decision to continue them and expand them (despite campaign promises to the contrary) by weaving narratives by those who sought to blow the whistle on these programmes over the decades—culminating with Edward Snowden’s unprecedented dump of insider documents in 2013. We see how and why those inside the NSA and other government agencies came to act; what actions were effective, and what role the mainstream media had and continues to have in keeping such secret projects alive and untouchable in the name of ‘national security.’
Part 1 -- The Program    Part one details the emergence of a top secret project within the NSA called ‘The Program’ which was a series of mass-surveillance, capture, storage, and data analysis operations that expanded after the events of September 11, 2001. The Program drew on preceding decades of ‘national security’ measures charting back to the Regan administration and beyond, which were embraced by the regime of George W Bush, and expanded with the Obama administration. This first episode ties together the machinations of a dark world of secret surveillance, spoken by those who blew the whistle from the inside, and why.

Part 1 -- The Program

Part one details the emergence of a top secret project within the NSA called ‘The Program’ which was a series of mass-surveillance, capture, storage, and data analysis operations that expanded after the events of September 11, 2001. The Program drew on preceding decades of ‘national security’ measures charting back to the Regan administration and beyond, which were embraced by the regime of George W Bush, and expanded with the Obama administration. This first episode ties together the machinations of a dark world of secret surveillance, spoken by those who blew the whistle from the inside, and why.

Part 2 -- Privacy Lost    Part two details how companies like Google and Facebook provide excellent data harvesting portals for intelligence agencies such as the NSA, by operating huge infrastructures for targeted advertising—which is is one and the same with surveillance.

Part 2 -- Privacy Lost

Part two details how companies like Google and Facebook provide excellent data harvesting portals for intelligence agencies such as the NSA, by operating huge infrastructures for targeted advertising—which is is one and the same with surveillance.