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The Residue of Internet's C4I DNA Visible in Uber's Behavior

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The Residue of Internet's C4I DNA Visible in Uber's Behavior

We're at the frontline of a new type of warfare that has evolved as the Internet. We are beginning to see the casualties of this war, democracy, privacy, and security.

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The military's fingerprints are visible throughout the Internet's history, with much of the history of compute born out of war — so, it's no surprise that the next wave of warfare is all about the cyber (it's HUGE). With so much of Internet technology being inseparable from military ideology and much of its funding coming from the military-industrial complex, it is going to be pretty hard for the Internet tech to shake its core DNA programmed as part of a command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence (C4I) seeds. 

This DNA is present in the unconscious behavior we see from startups, most recently with the news of Uber deceiving authorities using a tool they developed call Greyball — allowing them to target regulators and law enforcement and prevent or obscure their access and usage to the ridesharing platform. User profiling and targeting is a staple of Silicon Valley startups. Startups profile and target their definition of ideal behavior(s) and then focus on getting users to operate within these buckets. Or, they segment them into less desirable buckets and deal (or don't) with them however they deem appropriate.

If you are a marketer or sales person, you think targeting is a good thing. You want as much information on a single user and a group of users as you can possibly get so that you can command and control (C2) your desired outcome. If you are a software engineer, this is all a game to you. You gather all the data points you possibly can build your profiles — command, control, communications, and intelligence (C3i). The Internet's DNA whispers to you in your ear. You are the smart one here; everyone is just a pawn in your game. Executives and investors just sit back and pull the puppet strings on all the actors within their control.

It's no surprise that Uber is targeting regulators and law enforcement. They are just another user demographic bucket. I guarantee that there are buckets for competitors and their employees who have signed up for accounts. When any user signs up for your service, you process what you know about them, put them in a bucket, and see where they exist (or don't) within your sales funnel (repeat, rinse). Competitors, regulators, and law enforcement all have a role to play. The bucket they get put into and the service they receive will be (slightly) different than everyone else's.

Us engineers love to believe that we are the puppet masters, when in reality, we are the puppets, with our strings pulled by those who invest in us, and our one true master: Internet technology. We numb ourselves and conveniently forget the history of the Internet, and lie to ourselves that venture capital has our best interests in mind and that they need us. They do not. We are a commodity. We are at the frontline of this new type of warfare that has evolved as the Internet over the last 50 years. We are beginning to see the casualties of this war, democracy, privacy, and security.

This is cyber warfare. It's lower-level warfare in the sense that the physical destruction and blood isn't front-and-center, but the devastation and suffering still exists. Corporations are forming their own militias, drawing lines, defining their buckets, and targeting groups for delivering propaganda to, while they are positioning for a variety of attacks against competitors, regulators, law enforcement, and other competing militias. You attack anyone the algorithm defines as the enemy. You aggressively sell to those who fit your ideal profile. You try to indoctrinate anyone you can trust to be part of your militia, and keep fighting. It is what the Internet wants us to do.

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Topics:
big data ,uber ,privacy ,c4i

Published at DZone with permission of Kin Lane, DZone MVB. See the original article here.

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