Smartphones are not just phones but measuring devices. Machines evaluate data and create profiles of each person. Every online user has its folder where up to 3000 properties are stored. People do not understand what’s going on. The freedom is continuously disturbed; literally, they have a spy in the pocket.

Yvonne Hofstetter (49) is a German lawyer, businesswoman, and writer. Since 1999, she has worked internationally in software companies dealing with MAGs for arms and automated trading. Since 2009, Teramark Technologies has been General Manager of Artificial Intelligence, industry 4.0 – big data.

Now she addresses the social and technical implications of digital transformation. Yvonne has published two books on the issue. The first book Sie wissen alles (They know everything: How Big Data penetrate our lives) has become a bestseller in Germany. Another book Ende der Democracy (The End of Democracy: How Artificial Intelligence Takes Politics and Getting Rid of Us) was published in autumn 2016.

Hofstetter criticizes the large-scale monitoring and mass gathering of easily accessible data. Yvonne is one of the initiators of the EU’s Digital Rights Charter.

The author and expert on artificial intelligence in an interview with Austrian magazine Thema Vorarlberg said: “Internet giants have created their own library for each individual online user.”. Yvonne Hofstetter means that the mobile phone is “spy in the pocket of the coat” and wonder the naive ignorance of people.

Are you sending sensitive emails?

Compassionate things, like the handwriting of my new book, are sent only by regular mail. Otherwise, I encrypt emails because absolutely everything we entrust to the Internet is spread further.

Absolutely everything. What you do, how you feel, and what you plan on, by using Google and social networks. Your data are profiled based on the information you enter into them. And once you get dressed up, you know how to behave in the future.

Make no illusions: Google is much more than just a search engine. It is an international concern that combines a variety of cutting-edge technologies, including military, under one roof. Technologies such as artificial intelligence, military robots, drones, data glasses. Google has launched total surveillance.

It is the abolition of democracy. The central concept of human dignity is self-determination. And if I deny self-determination to people, I do not need freedom – that’s what the technology giants understand. This is precisely what Google and other companies from Silicon Valley are targeting. They want people to take self-determination by manipulating them. These are their opinion of how the world should work!

Can you give an example?

Almost everyone has a smartphone. However, the smartphone is not a regular phone. It is a measuring device. To understand how it works, we can focus on hurricane research in the US. Aircraft use sensors that measure everything. And of course, collects massive amounts of data. These data analyzing and using them for a weather forecast. How fast, and strong the hurricane is on the east coast of the US. Same technology works for natural phenomena and human society. In January 2007, Apple introduced sensors by launching the iPhone on the market. Since then, everyone has a spy on their own pockets.

Spy in your coat pocket?

It is well-known that the smartphone includes a camera, microphone, phone, and sensor that determines the location. While smartphones also use a feature sensors, like for example a thermometer. They also can record sounds that are below the threshold of human perception. For example, such sounds are broadcasting during specific TV ads.

When watching TV, your smartphone usually lies somewhere nearby. Your phone listen to what you are watching and immediately link it with your profile. It also records when you are calling and with whom. From these call metadata is build your character. Are you reliable? Do you have depression? It’s not so much about the conversation content, but about when and with whom you were calling. It is not at all clear what everything smartphones measure and save by applications.

How a world accepts total surveillance?

It is difficult to understand because the impact come with delay. What I publish today on Facebook, or I like will impact the future. Everyone who has nothing to hide does not have to worry. This sentence is bad! Everyone should remove it from their vocabulary!

It is not a matter of digging in your past and seeing what you have done before. Big data is used to control your destiny! These data processing concerts, these Internet and technology giants dream about global consumer control. They openly admit that they want to know who you are, what you think, what you feel to be able to intervene in your future. Of course, in a targeted and manipulative way!

The consumer must be under control. When you make your data available, you make an unmanaged game. You leave the right to your future and your self-determination to others. You get rid of your rights. Your right to act sovereignly on finances, or deal with sovereignty over sexuality. We put it all into the hands of technological giants who manipulate with masses.

But who, please, would be interested in all this data?

Data is not evaluated by people but by machines. These software robots create profiles of each person. The corporations that produce these profiles need data, lots of data to achieve their goal of global consumer control.

The more data they get from the people, the better. It is trading with international professional data brokers. Data is a raw material of the 21st century. Technological giants with this data want to transform society. They do it completely unregulated, and it’s anarchy. In this context, information capitalism talks about it. It is a new form of capitalism that comes here as an ideology along with digitization. And here I ask you to make no illusions.

In what sense?

Three years ago, the American data broker Acxiom had in 2013 a documentation of 700 million Internet users. Every person who has ever been on the Internet has a record profile. It’s the same as Stasi (a feared East German secret service). Each Internet user has his / her folder and holds up to 3000 individual properties for the person calculated by the algorithm by evaluating gross data. The problem is that people do not even know that this data and information exists. 

To whom?

For example, large corporations buy this data for millions of dollars. The data records contain all. Whether you are dependable or in depression. Whether you are the owner of the house, or how big is your family. How much you consume, whether you have a loan. Whether you are healthy, or for instance what sexual orientation do you prefer.

One example. If you are a man and on the Facebook, and you click on “I like it” on Britney Spears or Desperate Wives. Facebook’s algorithms conclude that you are highly likely to be homosexual. People on Facebook are clicking on “I like it” and do not know that they gather this information and derive new information from them.

Additionaly, there is a tendency for cooperative data collection. The problem already starts with cookies. They provide our computer with a unique identity (ID), a clear identification. Thanks to it, you are searchable throughout the Internet. Facebook keeps track of you across the network. Even you do not have to be signed in. You can not avoid this. You do not even know if these data are correct or wrong! In other words, you do not know the information stored about you.

Is the technology being used coming from the arms industry?

Correct. In the arms industry, these technologies have been used in the 1990s. In the form of so-called multisensor data fusion. Information is colllected, and based on it system creates a controlled intervention. These methods have put the army into the economy. It improves and expands with huge investments. The Google Group has an annual Research & Development budget of $ 6-7 billion. Besides, there is a close corporal connection between the Pentagon and Google.

Europe depends on the United States. Edward Snowden has shown enough. We utterly depends on American technology! Most of us have an iPhone or maybe Samsung, but it is the same Google Android. You are using Whatsapp, Facebook, and Amazon. Everyone of these sits in Silicon Valley, coming from a completely different legal and constitutional understanding, and it is the part of their products.

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