News By/Courtesy: Rumella Jain | 26 Nov 2019 3:33am IST


  • Report published by Amnesty International named 'Surveillance Giants'
  • Data-collection business model criticized
  • Business model called “inherently incompatible with the right to privacy.”

In a recent report published by Amnesty International named 'Surveillance Giants', it was stated that the data-collection business model fuelling Facebook and Google stands as a threat to human rights around the world. “Despite the real value of the services they provide, Google and Facebook’s platforms come at a systemic cost,” the report can be quoted as saying.

With omnipresent surveillance, the two online giants collect massive amounts of data which can potentially be used against their customers, according to the London-based human rights group. “The companies’ surveillance-based business model forces people to make a Faustian bargain, whereby they are only able to enjoy their human rights online by submitting to a system predicated on human rights abuse,” the report further said.

The organization contended that in turn for offering people free online services, using information about them to target money-making ads endangers a plethora of rights including freedom of opinion and expression. The business model is “inherently incompatible with the right to privacy,” Amnesty argued.

The report further stated how the two tech firms have established “near-total dominance over the primary channels through which people connect and engage with the online world,” giving them unparalleled power over consumers’ lives. “Google and Facebook dominate our modern lives— amassing unparalleled power over the digital world by harvesting and monetizing the personal data of billions of people,” said Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty International’s secretary general.

“Their insidious control of our digital lives undermines the very essence of privacy and is one of the defining human rights challenges of our era.” The report appealed for governments to implement policies that ensure access to online services while protecting user privacy. “Governments have an obligation to protect people from human rights abuses by corporations,” the report maintained.

Facebook pushed back against what it contended were inaccuracies in the report, saying it strongly disagreed with its business model being characterized as surveillance-based.

Google did not offer a specific written response. However, the report stated that Google announced this month it would limit data that it shares with advertisers through its ad auction platform, following the launch of an inquiry by the Irish data protection authority and had launched a new feature allowing users to delete location data.


Section Editor: Prithvijit Mukherjee | 26 Nov 2019 17:32pm IST

Tags : Google, Facebook, Amnesty International, Rights, Privacy

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