Facebook & Google’s surveillance poses unprecedented danger to human rights says Amnesty International; the companies dispute the findings

Author: Amnesty International, Published on: 21 November 2019

"Surveillance giants: How the business model of Google and Facebook threatens human rights," 21 Nov 2019

[D]espite the real value of the services they provide, Google and Facebook’s platforms come at a systemic cost... Google and Facebook offer services to billions of people without asking them to pay a financial fee. Instead, citizens pay for the services with their intimate personal data. After collecting this data, Google and Facebook use it to analyse people, aggregate them into groups, and make predictions... primarily so they can use these insights to generate advertising revenue... [T]his ubiquitous surveillance has undermined the very essence of the right to privacy... [These] platforms rely not only on extracting vast amounts of people’s data, but on drawing further insight and information from that data using sophisticated algorithmic systems... [which] have... effects that pose a serious threat to people’s rights, including freedom of expression and opinion, freedom of thought, and the right to equality and non-discrimination.

... Amnesty International had a conversation with senior Google staff, who subsequently provided information around its relevant policies and practices... [including] that it does conduct human rights due diligence across its business... Facebook [responded to Amnesty saying]: "[We] respectfully disagree with your conclusion that our practices are inconsistent with human rights principles... Our business model is what allows us to offer an important service where people can exercise foundational human rights—to have a voice (freedom of expression) and be able to connect (freedom of association and assembly)."

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Related companies: Alphabet Amazon.com Apple Facebook Google (part of Alphabet) Microsoft Whatsapp (part of Facebook)