The business behind our data. Bets on our private lives 1/3

Posted on July 3, 2023


The material is available on the podcast here.

Strange times, our private lives attract greed. However, it is specifically private, but since the arrival of the Internet and computers, our slightest actions and gestures in our life can be traced on the Internet.

Gillimard knows nothing of our readings. Amazon knows all of our purchases and watches us when we’re on our Kindle e-reader. Universal doesn’t know our musical tastes. Spotify knows every second of listening. The waiter doesn’t care about our conversations with friends. Facebook analyzes them all.

Now that so much of our lives are digital, our privacy has become a battle between privacy usurpers and advocates.

We will analyze the different actors and data businesses on the Internet. For those who want to protect their privacy, I invite you to watch One of my videos In the subject.

privacy violators


Of course, we think of Facebook, Google or Microsoft. Between them, they manage the main messages sent over the Internet using Messenger, Whatsapp, Gmail and Outlook. they have 84% Android smartphones in the world and 75% Windows and ChromeOS computers. They control the major social networks like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn. They even have the right to scan our documents with Office or GSuite.

It’s huge indeed, and yet it remains the tip of the iceberg.

First, BigTech is spying on our movements outside of their sites. Google has Google Analytics, a module that installs on a third party site to analyze traffic in exchange for allowing Google to spy on site visits. The site administrator can view his traffic metrics.

Google Analytics is installed on 80% of websites, which allows Google to monitor 80% of the Internet. Not to mention Google Chrome browser which should allow the remaining 20% ​​to be monitored.

Facebook is not to be outdone: it also offers a module to be installed on sites, and facebook pixel. This component becomes a cookie to analyze the traffic of the sites where you are located.

Secondly, along with BigTech, there are thousands of companies out there that collect, resell, and then auction our data.

Yes, you read that correctly, our data ends up in auctions, every time you visit a website.

For example, you are surfing the Internet in search of your next vacation. Your entire trip is analyzed, and a marketing profile is circulated with you online (80% male, 60% CSP+, 90% holiday research).

On each visited site, this profile is auctioned (Automated advertising), bots will fight for a few milliseconds on behalf of advertisers. In your case, a battle between against In the end, the winner will have the right to display his ad in front of your eyes.

This whole process is repeated on each site between the time it is shown and the ad appears.

Expendables 2.0

So far, we have stayed in the field of marketing. There are also online surveillance companies serving governments and digital 2.0 mercenaries.

contractor sharpening He proposes to analyze the massive data of citizens online for the states, which is a kind of NSA turnkey. The French government is using it, and even the NHS in the UK has used its services during the coronavirus outbreak.

We can also quote NSO with its Pegasus software. It is used to hack into anyone’s phone. Its purpose, of course, is to hunt down terrorists and pedophiles. Still unable to trace Epstein’s clients. But it has already been used at least 50,000 times to spy on journalists, human rights activists like Ahmed Mansoor or even politicians. Morocco used this program to spy Macron phone.

The Defenders

There are real actors who fight for our private life, be it associations like Clear in the United States Grid squaring And Framasoft in France ; or companies like proton Which offers a fully encrypted competitor to Gmail and Drive.

Again, for those who want more details about apps and tools to protect their privacy, I refer you to my video in this subject.

But some companies ask questions like apple. On paper, Apple wants to be anti-Google. Ha business model It is based on selling products and services to consumers and not on collecting data.

On the other hand, Apple offers itself the following means: T2 security chips and biometric sensors on all devices for better encryption and security; Frequent updates and bug-bunty to avoid gaps. Implementing end-to-end encryption in different applications to avoid circulating data in the clear in their servers; Better framing and limiting tracking of third-party apps on the AppStore.

On the other hand, Apple is still a closed company, and it is difficult to audit its devices. The company claims to collect data on the AppStore and Stock Exchange app. In the Snowden case it worked well with the NSA. The FBI asks him to remove the encryption. China demands that he remove apps that could help protesters.

Is Apple doing everything possible to protect our privacy or is it navigating by a simple marketing argument?

In any case, for some companies, the question no longer arises.

contractor Quant He wanted a French Google that respected privacy. After a $25 million investment by the European Union, the product remains wobbly, and relies heavily on Bing. Other similar solutions like DuckDuckGo or Brave Search have appeared. worse: The high salary of its leaders The chest is exposed because the chest still fails to win a round. Despite the influx of public money, her current situation Borrowed 8 million euros from Huawei to avoid bankruptcy.

finally, Its founder just left to start an electronic surveillance company. Qwant’s credibility was severely affected. The company seems to be getting grants for “noble causes”.


There is no point in pointing fingers at any actor or platform, especially like Tiktok. All of the internet is violating your privacy spread across thousands of actors!

It also lacks the most important actor. In a forthcoming article, we shall see the roles that states play in this work of our own lives.

The article was originally published on January 20, 2023.

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