I love a healthy discussion and that’s my main motive, as I certainly don’t know a great deal about this issue. But when you speak about it as a capitalist race, then it makes sense. You’re right to imply that colonialism was started very often by private for-profit companies. I think it’s important to make it clear that it’s about companies expanding outside of the mother country but also the government getting what it wants, its cut. In that way it’s similar to overseas natural resource extraction, or colonialism, or the military industrial complex. In some ways it’s part of the the military-industrial complex, the part that does spying. It’s complicated. Is it about political control of people inside one country? Or of the world? Is it about military capability? Profit? Crime?
It’s weird to think, that systems created to spy on people for the purposes of advertising (such as Android, Chrome and so on) are being used for many of these things. At what point does it become a misuse of data? Is there really anybody there to judge what is a good or bad use? Is there really any line, for example what’s the difference between “protecting the government” and (selectively) violating the rights of protestors (with a particular view or of a particular group)? We can easily see how this can slip into censorship and oppression.
I think it’s a classic model of historical power in a way. We like to think of some countries that got power and then used it for good, and others who used it for bad, and most probably somewhere in between, but the only thing that’s pretty certain is that power will probably used for selfish reasons.
I think in many ways we’re already there as the article title suggests. So the US, China and others too already have access to information about people using tech devices all over the world. Maybe they already have a high percentage of the data that would be useful to them, or maybe not. So if we’re there already, we don’t really need to speculate about what the uses of this data might be when we can just look at the present. But I think the current tech will continue to evolve, not in leaps but gradually as it has done, the software and hardware will get better than now and also be used more and more. So we can expect more of what’s happening in the present, and the possibility of things getting much worse if usage of this stuff is expanded.