When we started MileTrackGPS we had a vision of starting a tech company that delivered a useful, quality product that would help people and organizations log their trips more easily while increasing their efficiency, quality of work, and quality of life. We also wanted to be mindful of how we would ensure our users’ privacy as well as how we managed their data and kept it secure and truly theirs.
Frankly, we were tired of the way that many of the big software and technology companies were using and abusing their customers’ data, that is, helping them to enhance their algorithms through deeply invasive tracking methods all in order to increase not only their own advertising revenue but that of the companies to whom they sell copious amounts of user metadata and behavior patterns, all for the sake of making their already behemoth companies bigger and more powerful. In essence we were sick of how many of these big technology companies’ products are only bait to get their hands on the real product.
And what is the real product? This answer is more complex than you might wish to imagine. If you’re like many consumers you may think this question so obvious that it isn’t even worth asking. Consumers like this may answer the question of what the real product is by saying something like, “The product is what I am using every day. Isn’t that easy to see?” Let’s call consumers with this belief ‘blind believers in technology companies’ benevolence.’ Their belief that technology companies have their best interests in mind is wrong, but for now we will let them enjoy their ignorance (although it has dire consequences for them).
The second type of consumer when asked what the real product is may answer, “The real product is our data, which is proxy for our behavior patterns, which in turn is proxy for us. Their real product is us. We are the product.” While this second type of consumer is closer to being correct than the first type of consumer (the blind believer in technology companies’ benevolence) they are still incorrect, though in a much less extreme way.
This leaves us with the third type of consumer, who will give us the correct answer. When asked what the real product is they will tell you that the real product of the technology companies isn’t just your data which is proxy for you, but the prediction products that are made by processing your data (aka: your behavior) through their series of complex algorithms in order that they can sell their behavioral predictions of you to the highest bidding company so that that company can sell you exactly what you will want in the future back to you. Basically, the real product of these technology companies is an attempt to alter your future for their monetary gain.
In an interview with Sam Biddle from The Intercept on February 2, 2019, Shoshana Zuboff, author of the extremely insightful book The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power helps us understand this situation more clearly when she says,
They (these technology companies) are just secretly scraping your private experience as raw material, and they’re stockpiling that raw material, constantly flowing through the pipes. They sell prediction products into a new marketplace. What are those guys really buying? They’re buying predictions of what you’re gonna do. There are a lot of businesses that want to know what you’re going to do, and they’re willing to pay for those predictions. That’s how they get away with saying, “We’re not selling your personal information.” That’s how they get away also with saying, as in the case of [recently implemented European privacy law] GDPR, “Yeah, you can have access to your data.” Because the data they’re going to give you access to is the data you already gave them. They’re not giving you access to everything that happens when the raw material goes into the sausage machine, to the prediction products.
Having heard this whole story, it should be clear to you why we wanted to start a new type of technology company, a technology company that will never look at your data, never put it through complex algorithms, never make prediction products out of your life, and most of all, will never sell your data or predictions products made from your data to anyone.
At MileTrackGPS we don’t want to keep track of your life, we want you to keep track of your life. That’s why we started this company in the first place.