Today Mark Zuckerberg is making yet another appearance in Washington for yet another grilling and pee-pee whacking. Facebook and Google have been gathering massive amounts of data on every human on the planet primarily without that human’s knowledge. Oh, there has been some imperceptibly tiny font at the bottom of some page along the lines of
Your use of this site means you agree with our terms and conditions.
If you click the “terms and conditions” link it’s a massive quantity of boilerplate legal jargon giving them the right to collect and sell every scrap of personal information they can find out about you even if none of it was disclosed or used on the site. It might even have some clause allowing them to sell your first born at a child sex trade auction in the UAE for all you know. If you did read it, you didn’t read it that far and most of you didn’t understand it.
Think I’m kidding? Google has information about every call you make regardless of carrier if you have an Android phone. Same would be true for Apple most likely. Hell, even Facebook knows about Google’s call and SMS history collection. They’ve tapped into it.
Of course all of this is coming up because of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. A scandal which overlooks the fact the Obama campaign had one of the founders of Facebook help them do pretty much the same thing. Cambridge Analytica basically improved on what they did.
Google has been doing the same thing for years, collecting your personal information and selling it to advertisers. Just how do you think they can sell “targeted ads?” You think that “free” Gmail account is out of the goodness of the heart, seriously? Keep in mind it is a corporate culture which allows executives to shoot heroin on a yacht with a prostitute while the wife and five kids are at home. No. Hidden away in that imperceptibly small print link was the right for Google to “read” every one of your emails mining it for advertising information. Having a computer scan it is the same as reading it. The programing languages all open a file, then do a read/get from it.
You see, this take from the masses and sell to the advertisers business model was bad from the start. It’s a modern tech spin on extortion hidden under the thin veil of advertising. They tried to mask it like television and radio advertising, but Internet advertising is completely different. Advertisers weren’t willing to spend money for just eyeballs, especially after the GoDaddy parked page click fraud scandal. They wanted targeted marketing. They wanted their new car ads show only to people talking about buying a new car. They wanted the sex toy ads to appear only to people who visited porn sites. They wanted, they wanted, they wanted.
Google and Facebook were more than happy to mine your data and sell it to them.
All of this boils down to AGILE being a completely false development methodology designed to enable criminal activity. Yes, that is what your sons and daughters are being taught in college. It tends to be hidden under the mantra of “move quickly and break things.”
Corporations like AGILE because it allows them to continue committing the kind of financial fraud SOX regulations were designed to stop in a post-Enron world. Previously corporations would get Big 6 accounting firms to come in and put a dollar amount on some system they were working on. These firms were paid to estimate high so they did. Suddenly all of the dollars being spent on a not-yet-working system was booked directly as an asset without ever really appearing on the expense side of the books. (Do some research on the valuations for that Enron energy trading platform valuations which wasn’t even close to working and nobody was willing to buy at auction.)
AGILE provides a methodology for this criminal behavior to continue unabated. You see, the 4 Holy Documents don’t exist.
- Business Requirements Document (BRD)
- System Requirements Document (SRD)
- System Architecture Document (SAD)
- System Specification Document (SSD a.k.a. Function Specification)
These 4 Holy documents provide a definition of done. An independent test agency can take these documents and develop a complete test plan without ever speaking to one of the developers or knowing anything else about the system. This is pretty much how FDA regulated worlds work today, though with medical devices there are more up front documents.
AGILE doesn’t have a definition of done. Nobody can call a system a failure because there is just this big bucket of epics and stories and a few get pulled out for a “sprint.” The same developer who wrote a “solution” to a story writes an automated test script which then gets run by Jenkins to “prove” their code works. There is no high level architecture document. There is no technical architect required to give blessing on something before it gets rolled in. A technical architect will many times ask the legal department to weigh in on this which are technically very possible but legally and ethically something only a Jimmy Hoffa, Jamie Dimon or Hillary Clinton would do.
There are too many business leaders and business schools operating via the mantra
If we aren’t currently under indictment for it, then it must be legal.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Even if your legal team can get you off, it wasn’t ethical. The current Silicon Valley darlings operate under AGILE trying to maintain plausible deniability for when the big sticky chunks hit the fan. Most of them operate under that mantra.
Personally I don’t believe Mr. Zuckerberg operates under that mantra. I believe mentally he is still a kid in his dorm room trying to build something cool to prove he can. He also hires college kids, not seasoned veterans who would question anything going into production, so lots of baaaaaad shit is in the Facebook universe. Not one person there ever thought how the really cool thing they were building could be abused.
The corporate structure and personnel the IPO forced into Facebook, now that’s a different story. If someone told me they slept dreaming that mantra I would believe it without question.
Google, they pretty much invented that mantra. After all, a corporation which would deliberately engage in the world’s largest for-profit copyright infringement to create Google Books so they could keep people looking and ads popping up via their Android devices then claim “public good” in front of a judge, has no moral or ethical fiber. It’s an entity quickly approaching Saddam Hussein or Kim Jong-un in its collective mentality.
This all happened during an election year when the E.U. Global Privacy Law is about to take effect. What Google and Facebook have done to the human species is completely outside the boundaries of party politics. The only way to kill a fast tracked privacy bill would be for some douche bag to try to attach border wall funding or yet another unnecessary tax cut for the wealthy to it.
No privacy law which doesn’t mandate a U.N. inspected and verified dump of all existing personal data is worth the paper it is written on though. They must start from square one. No more recording/mining of phone calls, emails or text messages ever.
When that happens, Facebook and Google go out of business. Nobody will pay to use what they have left.