Facebook, Instagram and Twitter help cops to track minorities

From Technology review:

Our love of social media makes it easy for us to be spied on—so could we just use it less? An investigation by the American Civil Liberties Union reveals that Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram supplied police in Ferguson and Baltimore with data that was used to track minorities. The companies packaged up and provided data from public posts to a company called Geofeedia, which analyzes digital content to provide surveillance information to law enforcement agencies. The companies have now cut off, or at least modified, their supply of data—but it’s a reminder of how we all, perhaps unwittingly, enable a surveillance society. Spying as a result of digitizing our lives isn’t a new phenomenon, but it’s getting worse because we’re all so keen to connect. Much of the data is public, too, so simply banning police access won’t work. Tristan Harris, an ex-Googler, has an idea, borne out of a desire to be less beholden to the smartphone, that could ease the problem by encouraging us to step back from Facebook et al. He wants to introduce new criteria, standards, and even a Hippocratic oath for software designers to stop apps from being so addictive. If we can wean ourselves off social media even a little, its power for spying could, perhaps, be commensurately diminished.