Google’s surveillance is taking us further down the road to hell

Google recently took another step along the path of surveillance as a service, launching what it called “interest-based advertising”, and which everyone else calls “behavioural targeting”. These are systems that collect extensive personal data, for marketing purposes. To best understand the issues, it’s important to separate out the social ends – refining ads – from the technological means, which is massive monitoring of user activity.Too many discussions of the topic get bogged down in what’s essentially an argument of “the end justifies the means”, where a nominally beneficial goal of better advertising is presented as sufficient to trump all further implications.

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