back to article Privacy is theft! Dave Eggers' big-screen takedown of Google and Facebook emerges

The Circle, Dave Eggers' novel about a society dominated by an omniscient, cult-like Silicon Valley internet company, has been given the big-screen treatment, with the trailer emerging this week. The movie's promo site has a witty parody of the "onboarding" process for a web platform – enjoy the unreadable EULA as it flashes …

  1. David Dawson

    Sharing is caring!

    Care bear stare!

    1. Oh Homer Silver badge
      Headmaster

      "Robbing The Commons"

      Well, certainly that may be how this fictional story characterises it, however that's a rather disingenuous jab at the principle of open access to knowledge, since real world movements that advocate such freedom (e.g. the Free Software Foundation) are quite clearly talking about that which is published, not that which is private.

      Anything which is not published has no bearing on The Commons, since it was never public knowledge to begin with, and you can't really claim to be limited by a lack of access to something you don't even know exists (even if such information might actually turn out to be useful).

      The true essence of open access to knowledge is (literally) academic. It's about collaboration, scientific progress and education, not freeloading, spying and spamvertising.

      Naturally the monopolistic "IP" fraternity may see things differently, since their objective is greed, not progress.

  2. Ralph B

    Cuddly?

    > We'll see if Tom Hanks is too cuddly for the role of the sinister Zuck or Schmidt-style corporate overlord.

    Is "cuddly" some politically correct euphemism for "old" now then?

  3. WonkoTheSane
    Trollface

    "an amalgamation of Google and Facebook"

    So... Apple, then?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Alexa, play The Circle on my Fire TV"

    "I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that."

    1. Electron Shepherd

      Re: "an amalgamation of Google and Facebook"

      So... Apple, then?

      What shape is Apple's new HW building?

      Coincidence? I think not!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "an amalgamation of Google and Facebook"

        "What shape is Apple's new HW building?"

        Asshole shaped?

      2. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: "an amalgamation of Google and Facebook"

        Yes but Apple did this to stop their managers from fighting over the prestige of having a corner office.

        And I would have said its a cylinder because I live in a 3D world.

        1. Alistair Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: "an amalgamation of Google and Facebook"

          @ IMG

          Actually -- I suspect there are corners on that cylinder. In the basement, inner and outer edges. 'Course those corner offices have a different sort of "prestige" attached.

        2. Uffish

          Re: "a cylinder"

          I thought that Apple decided that inward facing offices were very much higher status than outward facing, and that all the windows were curved in both the vertical and horizontal directions.

          Ahh, donuts !!!

          1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

            Re: "a cylinder"

            Any chance that Apple will sue GCHQ over how their doughnut looks? They must have a patent on houses with round corners lying around somewhere...

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "an amalgamation of Google and Facebook"

          "And I would have said its a cylinder because I live in a 3D world."

          Fascinating. I'm in a Barbie world therefore I would have to say its plastic and probably fantastic.

          That said I'm not actually a Barbie girl, I just commute here I therefore bring zero credibility to this theory.

    2. Alister Silver badge

      Re: Cuddly?

      Is "cuddly" some politically correct euphemism for "old" now then?

      I don't think I can recall Hanks in a "nasty" role before, so I think that's what Andrew means.

      1. Timmy B Silver badge

        Re: Cuddly?

        "I don't think I can recall Hanks in a "nasty" role before, so I think that's what Andrew means."

        Road to Perdition?

        Anything based on a Dan Brown book surely qualifies as nasty too... And "Mazes and Monsters" certainly is nasty.

        1. AMBxx Silver badge

          Re: Cuddly?

          I think he'll do a good job of cuddly public persona with something nasty going on behind the scenes.

          Bit like Zuck really.

      2. Naselus Silver badge

        Re: Cuddly?

        "I don't think I can recall Hanks in a "nasty" role before"#

        At least 1 of his incarnations in Cloud Atlas.

    3. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
      Joke

      "I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that."

      Why post AC if you are just going to blurt your name out in the text?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why post AC if you are just going to blurt your name out in the text?

        Don't tell him, Pike!

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "an amalgamation of Google and Facebook"

      So... Apple, then?

      Not quite. Here's a little slip of the veil of confidentiality by an application developer.

      So far, Apple's the only one who has NOT started to profile its users in the creepiest way possible.

    5. Fungus Bob Silver badge

      Re: "an amalgamation of Google and Facebook"

      FaceGoo

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "an amalgamation of Google and Facebook"

        GooFace - sorry, pretty obvious really

    6. fidodogbreath Silver badge

      Re: "an amalgamation of Google and Facebook"

      More like Windows 10-era Microsoft, actually.

    7. joed Silver badge

      Re: "an amalgamation of Google and Facebook"

      more like MS

  5. John Lilburne Silver badge

    Stop posting to this thread ...

    ... and upload your last night pub photos, kid in bath photos, and cat videos, or and whilst you are at it lets have some more likes, and pluses from you, your interaction rate is way way down.

    1. P. Lee Silver badge
      Alien

      Re: Stop posting to this thread ...

      My interaction rate is so low, Facebook have stopped spamming me.

  6. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

    Having read the book...

    It will be interesting to see if the film has the bit about filling out surveys as part of the job.

    There's a nice little twist in there that I haven't seen any reviewer pick up on.

  7. Alan J. Wylie Silver badge

    Google Conspiracy?

    A Google search for "the circle" or "we are the circle" currently doesn't return http://wearethecircle.com/. There are "high quality psychic mediums" in the results, though. Bing is even worse, however - at least Google returns a couple of Wikipedia hits, so I assume the site is just too recent to have been noticed, or highly ranked.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Google Conspiracy?

      Try this: https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=the+circle+movie%5C I'm getting a lot of hits for it.

  8. AdamT

    Black Mirror

    Didn't Charlie Brooker already do this in one of his "Black Mirror" episodes?

    1. John G Imrie Silver badge

      Re: Black Mirror

      Go back further and look at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blind_Faith_%28novel%29 Blind Faith by Ben Elton

      1. Synonymous Howard

        Re: Black Mirror

        Or even the BBC's 2008 "The Last Enemy" which had Cumberbatch trying to escape the Total Information Awareness database.

        But the first one I fondly remember watching was the "IT Thriller" in the eighties, Bird of Prey, with the late great Richard "uncle monty" Griffiths ... http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/11/07/monitor_bird_of_prey_retrospective/

        1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

          Re: Black Mirror

          BC's 2008 "The Last Enemy" which had Cumberbatch

          That movie resulted in an interesting dialogue in our family.

          SWMBO, horrfied: "Just how real is this..."

          Me: Much more real than you think. It was prophetic (as it came out before latest revelations), we found out it to be not far from a documentary.

          SWMBO: "I take back every single instance of calling you paranoid".

          It will be interesting to give her this one to watch...

  9. Rocketist
    Pint

    If the movie can catch the eerie feeling of the novel -

    it'll be worth watching. But then it probably won't, as that was a bit too eerie for the general movie public. Beer to fortify yourselves.

  10. Alan J. Wylie Silver badge

    "enjoy the unreadable EULA as it flashes past"

    By visiting the site, you do grant the Circle the right to interfere with the operation or use of your sites through any means or device including, but not limited to, spamming, hacking, uploading computer viruses or time bombs, or any other means.

    In applicable states, your family members, including children three (3) years of age and older may be confiscated for failure to comply

    Trust us, we're not breaking antitrust laws.

    Users may also have their citizenship revoked for failure to comply with the aforementioned community guidelines. If it happens, we'll know.

    And Oh, the Irony: <!-- GOOGLE ANALYTICS TAG -->

    1. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

      Re: "enjoy the unreadable EULA as it flashes past"

      And Oh, the Irony: <!-- GOOGLE ANALYTICS TAG -->

      The Privacy statement has in addition to cookies, Flash Cookies, Web Beacons, and "We may associate your IP address with the PII you provide."

      Though for once, the Privacy Policy (4,550 words) and the Terms of Service (7,008 words) are readable and not squashed into a tiny letterbox as seen on Youtube.

  11. Craig McGill 1

    Is the book worth a read?

    Only got the new Expanse book to look forward to (tomorrow) so could do with something else for reading to pad out the time until the new Stross in January...

    1. Jess--

      Re: Is the book worth a read?

      Cheers for the info, I had missed the new expanse book

      1. Craig McGill 1

        Re: Is the book worth a read?

        Came out yesterday in the US but for some reason there's a two day delay to UK...

    2. ThisPlaceInTime

      Re: Is the book worth a read?

      Craig, if you haven't already read it I can recommend The Bell Ringers by Henry Porter.

      It's a story along the same kind of lines but with a particularly British venality and it's quite chilling.

      1. Craig McGill 1

        Re: Is the book worth a read?

        Ta! About to order!

    3. David 18

      Re: Is the book worth a read?

      Yes definitely. The creepiness builds nicely.

  12. 27escape

    Mix of google/facebook

    Surely its apple?

    1. Poncey McPonceface
      Gimp

      Re: Mix of google/facebook

      I read a good portion of the book, the corp is a mash-up of the big G and the big F … the corp does both search and social. G+ uses circles. It may be a coincidence that the new Apple HQ is toroidal.

      Eggers is a superb writer, this isn't your average sci-fi dystopian schlock. Here's a review of it by Margaret Atwood in the New York Review of Books.

      There are very few authors that both write decent prose and do sci-fi. Orwell, Atwood, Vonnegut, Gibson, spring to mind immediately. Eggers I'd count among their numbers after The Circle.

      1. TheDillinquent
        Trollface

        Re: Mix of google/facebook

        You forgot Banks, although he hasn't written much recently.

        1. Tom 38 Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Mix of google/facebook

          I would read Iain Zombie Banks as much as I liked reading Iain M Banks

  13. Velv Silver badge
    Gimp

    Tom Hanks

    As featured in the trailer Tom Hanks reminds me more of Steve Jobs

    1. Tikimon Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Tom Hanks

      Steve Jobs? That qualifies for sinister corporate overlord...

    2. The Indomitable Gall

      Re: Tom Hanks

      I thought that too. When I read "Tom Hanks", I thought "WTF?" (never liked the dude). However, when I saw him in the clip, I thought that this might actually be the ideal role for him.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    After reading the article, I look down and saw...

    Sponsored: Customer Identity and Access Management

    Nice!

  15. ForthIsNotDead Silver badge

    Blind Faith

    Reminds me of Blind Faith by Ben Elton.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blind_Faith_(novel)

    Doubleplusgood.

  16. A K Stiles
    Black Helicopters

    How many people

    I wonder how many people who watch this film will be

    "Unsubscribe from all the social medias now!!!"

    and how many will be

    "Phew - glad I don't live in that reality"

    funny, we don't usually get helicopters around here at this time of day...

  17. Ilsa Loving

    "This is a satire of Silicon Valley ideology, "

    I'm not so sure that it's just satire. This seems to be exactly what's happening. And people seem to be happy to do it so long as they continue to get their free smurfberries or whatever choice valueless illusionary commodity being offered.

    1. Ole Juul Silver badge

      Re: "This is a satire of Silicon Valley ideology, "

      It's not satire. It's similar to scientology and people actually internalise those values. Besides, if it was satire, the trailer wouldn't have made me vomit.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is all has its roots in 'elite' hubris and state corruption.

    Firstly, why no HTTPS Register? [mod note – we're always working on it, it's being tied into internal and external redesigns for mobile we're working through, we've gotta get the ad networks to play ball, PDFs and images are already on HTTPS, etc etc etc etc. We want HTTPS as much as you do]

    Yes, social media corporations are becoming more insidiously evil, but this has Marx, Edward Bernays and state origins, and is partly a consequence of the abuse of the corporation model, into permanent and psychopathic 'person' businesses; the state privilege of a corporation should have continued to be for only time limited, specific, larger scale, public projects only, with corporation termination triggers for misbehaviour or non-viability.

    Political Correctness, Third Wave Feminism and other insidious Marxist Frankfurt School ('elite' backed) sabotage of culture in legislation, 'education' and mainstream media, and Edward Bernays invented Marketing (aka Propaganda) caused Consumerism has made people more stupid, so that they will foolishly accept abusive commercial contract terms and governments don't do enough to prevent this exploitation, partly because they are stupid and corrupt.

    There are also strong suggestions that most of the big 'social' media platforms had/have either indirect US spy agency start-up funding/investment or executive collusion with these state spy agencies, so may be at least partly US state spy agency "Wolves" to attract sucker customers to willingly spy on themselves, rather than state spy agencies having the greater expense of a Stasi-like informer network, monitoring and interrogation!

    1. Jim Mitchell

      Re: This is all has its roots in 'elite' hubris and state corruption.

      You know, I didn't know that mods could edit posts...

      1. William 3 Bronze badge

        Re: This is all has its roots in 'elite' hubris and state corruption.

        Welcome the future.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Political Correctness, Third Wave Feminism.. yadda yadda... has made people more stupid,

      You're not wrong on the second bit....

    3. Terrance Brennan

      Re: This is all has its roots in 'elite' hubris and state corruption.

      Take a chill pill, Bill.

  19. getHandle

    Gillan, Watson, Hanks, Boyega, Paxton...

    I'm in! What was it about?

    1. Missing Semicolon Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Gillan, Watson, Hanks, Boyega, Paxton...

      .. you had me at "Gillan" .....

  20. fidodogbreath Silver badge
    Pint

    Braver, newer world

    Company rallies reinforce the ideology through chanting "sharing is caring" and "privacy is theft."

    "Ford, we are twelve; oh, make us one / Like drops within the Social River; / Oh, make us now together run / As swiftly as thy shining Flivver."

    Huxley was all over this sh!t in 1932.

    "One believes things because one has been conditioned to believe them."

    (Beer, because the stupid Epsilons f-cked up my Soma delivery AGAIN.)

  21. William 3 Bronze badge

    Checks number of tracking cookies and javascript tracking on this web page.

    Seems legitimately ironic.

    1. fredesmite

      Re: Checks number of tracking cookies and javascript tracking on this web page.

      What was the ghost count ?

  22. Yugguy

    Headlong? Not me

    What a lot of these stories have in common is the basic assumption that everyone in the world will accept these technologies without thinking.

    A great percentage of us do not however.

    1. Missing Semicolon Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Headlong? Not me

      er, where "great" here, really means about 10%? Most people consider FB just part of the social fabric.

  23. David 18

    Justice done?

    Watching that trailer gives me hope that the film will do justice to a book I thoroughly enjoyed - that rarely happens.

    the scariest thing about the story is that I know plenty of the "nothing to hide, nothing to fear" brigade who would see it as a future to aspire to!

  24. fredesmite

    Sciencetology meets Google

    Too close to REAL LIFE !!!

  25. mykingdomforanos
    Pirate

    Discombobulating grindstones

    I've attended a couple of Larry Lessig's talks here in the UK, I've listened to his presentations and panel contributions on YouTube and elsewhere and I've read multiple articles by him. I've never heard or read anything that makes me believe he wants to end individual privacy, that he believes our personal lives and experiences somehow rightfully belong on the servers of big tech.

    Perhaps the noise of the axe the author is perennially attempting to grind has caused him to confuse Larry Lessig's views with those of Jeff Jarvis?

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Discombobulating grindstones

      Straw man alert.

      Larry has never defended strong individual property rights. They're an obstacle on the road to his frictionless utopian. Perhaps you need to put your own prejudices aside here?

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