July/August 2016


The digital titans unmasked
- Smiley-faced monopolists

デジタルの支配者の真実 ― その笑顔の裏側で
For Facebook, Amazon and Google, we have traded our privacy for something we find useful and put on hold our support for ethical shopping in exchange for the ease of low (or no) price and almost-instant gratification. This month's magazine looks at just how far down the line we are and asks how deeply exploitative and anti-democratic is this new 'surveillance capitalism' under which we now live. This month's contributors include security expert Bruce Schneier, psychologist Robert Epstein and engineer and software activist Prabir Purkayastha.







Stories making the news this month
6 Canada: silence in the sands
6 Up all night in France
7 A new home for RefuTrees
7 Reintroducing Aleksandar Vučić
7 Blacklisted win in Britain
8 South Africans dying for justice
8 Bedouin wings clipped
9 Activist alarm at China’s foreign NGO law
9 'Rebel' readers jailed in Angola
PLUS: Scratchy Lines by cartoonist Simon Kneebone and Reasons to be Cheerful.

The Big Story - Internet titans

10 Smiley-faced monopolists
The trendy, friendly face of capitalism conceals an agenda that is ruthless and totalitarian. Vanessa Baird takes a look at the digital titans - Google, Facebook and Amazon - and their impact on democracy.

15 Internet giants - THE FACTS

16 I spy with my little algorithm
Everybody wants your private data. Bruce Schneier on how surveillance has become the business model of the internet.

18 Can search engine rankings swing elections?
Robert Epstein reveals how easily we can be manipulated by the likes of Google and Facebook.

21 No, Mr Zuckerberg
Indians mobilized and did the unthinkable - said ‘no’ to Facebook. Prabir Parkayastha gives an insider’s view.

23 Helping in two clicks
Many people are now sidestepping big charities and choosing to use digital technology to ‘give directly’. Amy Hall examines the implications.

25 Beating the digital titans - ACTION

28 The gathering storm
Nithin Coca reports on Malaysia’s slide towards authoritarianism.

30 Essay
Beware the slippery language of ‘sustainable branding’, writes Dale Lately.
32 Mark Engler
What’s not for sale in branded America?
33 Steve Parry
The pantomime plebiscite.
PLUS: Polyp’s Big Bad World cartoon.

Mixed Media
34 Toronto HotDocs Film Festival special
36 Book reviews
The Transmigration of Bodies by Yuri Herrera; Second-Hand Time by Svetlana Alexievich; Dark Money by Jane Mayer.
37 Music reviews
Hopelessness by Anohni; Legend of Funaná by Bitori.

4 Letters
5 Letter from Bangui
Ruby Diamonde bids farewell to the Central African Republic.
26 Country Profile: The Bahamas
38 And Finally
Yemeni street artist Murad Subay on using art to campaign and to commemorate.




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