Open up a web browser or power up a smartphone—pretty much essential for modern-day living—and you’re walking straight into a privacy minefield. That much you know. Especially after the news earlier this week that Unroll.me, a popular service that lets you unsubscribe from multiple email lists with a single click, was selling data it had mined from all your mail. What you might not realize is that your surrendering of your privacy isn’t just an accident—it’s the purposeful design of a particular breed of app makers and web designers employing a practice known as “dark patterns.”
The outcome of Tuesday’s presidential election has inspired a new wave of hate speech across the United States, both online and in real life. Friday morning, black University of Pennsylvania students were reportedly targeted by unknown perpetrators using the GroupMe app. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the messages in question included “scheduled” lynchings for specific students under the group name “N***** Lynching.”
One Saturday in 1994, Bennie Lydell Glover, a temporary employee at the PolyGram compact-disk manufacturing plant in Kings Mountain, North Carolina, went to a party at the house of a co-worker. He was angling for a permanent position, and the party was a chance to network with his managers. Late in the evening, the host put on music to get people dancing. Glover, a fixture at clubs in Charlotte, an hour away, had never heard any of the songs before, even though many of them were by artists whose work he enjoyed.