Facebook, Google Business Models Threat To Human Rights: Amnesty Report

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The ‘surveillance-based’ business model of Google and Facebook is incompatible with the right to privacy and threat to other human rights, said a report.

Written By Kunal Gaurav | Mumbai | Updated On:

The ‘surveillance-based’ ’business model of Google and Facebook is incompatible with the right to privacy and threat to other human rights, said Amnesty International in a report. The 60-page report claimed that the issues go beyond Google and Facebook and has become core of many businesses such as advertisers, data brokers, start-ups and several non-tech companies looking to monetise personal data.

“The model that has been pioneered by Google and Facebook is now the blueprint for the internet, and it is making its way into our homes, workplaces and streets via the ‘Internet of Things’,” concluded the report.

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Offers for targeted advertisement

The Amnesty International report named 'Surveillance Giants: How the business model of Google and Facebook threatens human rights' explained the power of the tech giants where both companies together dominate social, media, messaging, search, video, web-browsing and mobile platforms. According to the report, Google and Facebook compete with each other in offering the best predictions about most people to advertisers so that they can deliver ‘highly targeted advertisements’ to people based on a complex combination of their profile characteristics.


“Google and Facebook’s surveillance-based business model also incentivises ‘datafication’ - rendering into data many aspects of the world that have never been quantified before,” the report said.

The International human rights organisation said that companies have a responsibility to respect all human rights that exist independently of a state’s ability or willingness to fulfil its own human rights obligations.

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Recommendations for states, companies

Amnesty International recommended states as well as companies to take appropriate measures against it. “Governments must take measures to ensure that access to and use of essential digital services and infrastructure – including those provided by Google and Facebook – are not made conditional on ubiquitous surveillance,” the human rights organisation said. The report urged Google, Facebook and other technology companies to refrain from lobbying for a relaxation of data protection privacy legislation. “Technology companies must take action to remediate any human rights abuses to which they have caused or contributed through their business operations,” it said.

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