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Design & Technology | Citizenship | RE | PSHE

Google, Facebook accused of human rights abuse

Are two of the biggest companies in the world laying waste to human rights? A major new report, yesterday, claims they are destroying the right to privacy, freedom of expression and equality. The charity was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its campaign to stop torture around the world. It has been attacked by the Iranian leader Ayatollah KhomeiniAn Iranian cleric and revolutionary who led the Iranian Revolution in 1979 and became the country’s Supreme Leader. and the Chinese Communist Party. It has been praised by the anti-apartheid hero, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and the Pakistani activist for female education, Malala YousafzaiA 23-year-old Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest person ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize.. It helped to secure an international Arms Trade Treaty in 2013, then International Criminal CourtAn international tribunal that has jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for committing genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. in 2002, and a global convention against torture in 1984. It is a global movement of seven million people and is widely recognised as one of the world's most influential NGOsNon-governmental organisations, such as charities or political campaign  . So, guess who Amnesty International now says is the biggest threat to human rightsThe basic rights and freedoms that belong to every person in the world, from birth until death. They apply regardless of where you are from, what you believe or how you choose to live your life. Some have called for animals and even natural phenomena like rivers to have some form of human rights. on Planet Earth? The answer is two brands that we all use - and, by using, we sustain - every day of our lives: Google and Facebook. Yesterday, Amnesty published a damning 60-page indictment of the twin "surveillance giants" warning that they are enabling human rights harm on a global scale. What are the key points? To participate meaningfully in today's economy and society, and to realise their human rights, people rely on access to the internet and the tools Google and Facebook offer. Facebook is the world's dominant social media company. If you combine users of its social platform, WhatsApp and Messenger, and apps such as Instagram, a third of humans on Earth use a Facebook service every day. Google accounts for around 90% of global search engine use. Its browser, Chrome, is the world's dominant web browser. Its video platform, YouTube, is the world's second largest search engine, as well as the world's largest video platform. Google's mobile operating system, Android, underpins the vast majority of the world's smartphones. But their surveillance-based business model forces people to make a Faustian bargain. 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 to make predictions about their interests, characteristics and behaviour - so they can use these insights to generate advertising revenue. These two companies collect extensive data on what we search; where we go; who we talk to; what we say; what we read, and, through the analysis made possible by computing advances, have the power to infer what our moods, ethnicities, sexual orientation, political opinions and vulnerabilities may be. These algorithmic systems have been shown to have a range of knock-on 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. So, are two of the biggest and best-known companies in the world laying waste to human rights? Digital dictatorship It depends what you call "human rights", say some. If you mean the right to live in the 19th century, then perhaps they are. Like it or not, we live in a digital age now. Privacy is a value we must learn to sacrifice for the amazing benefits of instant connection to the rest of the human race and limitless knowledge. Embrace it! You've fallen for the propaganda, say others. Privacy is not a commodity that we can trade. It is as deeply essential to our happiness as love, or having a soul. Imagine if Google asked you to give up the ability to love or have a soul in order to use Android. That's what we are talking about here. KeywordsAyatollah Khomeini - An Iranian cleric and revolutionary who led the Iranian Revolution in 1979 and became the country’s Supreme Leader.

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