One down side to the emergence of user control of data collection and access as a political meme and substitute for reasoned argument is the likely countermove from the surveillance industry: conflating the user's right to privacy with the corporation's responsibility for confidentiality. Surveillance is unethical and irresponsible even when the corporation carefully manages third-party access to the dossiers it compiles.
“When the Business Model Is the Privacy Violation”
Arvind Narayanan, Freedom to Tinker, April 12, 2018
In other situations, the intended use is the privacy violation. The most prominent example is the tracking of our online and offline habits for targeted advertising. This business model is exactly what people object to, for a litany of reasons: targeting is creepy, manipulative, discriminatory, and reinforces harmful stereotypes. The data collection that enables targeted advertising involves an opaque infrastructure to which it's impossible to give meaningfully informed consent. …
In response to privacy laws, companies have tried to find technical measures that obfuscate the data but allow them [to] carry on with the surveillance business as usual. But that's just privacy theater. Technical steps that don't affect the business model are of limited effectiveness, because the business model is fundamentally at odds with privacy; this is in fact a zero-sum game. …
Privacy advocates should recognize that framing a concern about data use practices as a privacy problem is a double-edged sword. Privacy can be a convenient label for a set of related concerns, but it gives industry a way to deflect attention from deeper ethical questions by interpreting privacy narrowly as confidentiality.
If you want to target advertising effectively or persecute people for their political views or social status, building the dossiers at the vertices of the social graph is only the beginning. You can make many more reliable inferences if you identify and label the edges of the graph and study not only your target nodes' neighbors, but also their neighbors' neighbors.
“Stanford Researchers Find That Friends of Friends Reveal Hidden Online Traits”
Tom Abate, Stanford News, April 5, 2018
Researchers who have studied social media relationships have found that we tend to friend people of roughly our own age, race and political belief. … These traits are easily and accurately inferred from friendship studies. …
But not all unknown traits are easy to predict using friend studies. Gender, for instance, exhibits what researchers call weak homophily in online contexts. …
The group's new research shows that it's possible to infer certain concealed traits — gender being the first — by studying the friends of our friends.