Stop Making Sense

118437132by April Glaser and Libby Reinish
Slate

[…] Gabriella Coleman, a professor of scientific and technological literacy at McGill University, points out that companies like Facebook would be collecting data on individuals regardless of government requests. That’s how the vast majority of free online social networks make money; they use data mining to sell targeted, contextual ads. “In some ways,” she says, “that’s the source of the problem, the fact that we’ve just given up all of our data in return for free services.”

Community-hosted, decentralized social media, on the other hand, allow people to maintain ownership of their data. These platforms use a principle called “federation” to connect a vast network of servers to one another. If the NSA wants to collect the data of all the users on a decentralized network, it has to contend with a large number of disparate server owners who could be anywhere in the…

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