As we’ve written about many times now on our blog, our total reliance on technology, and wireless technology in particular, is leaving all of us and our data vulnerable to attack. We now live in a world dominated by smartphones, tablets, laptops, and even smart watches. There is practically nowhere a person can go these days without being on the grid and attached/inundated with electromagnetic frequencies; and Big Brother has taken full advantage of it.
While technology keeps progressing at a wondrous rate, unfortunately privacy regulations are still stuck in the Dark Ages, and an alarmingly small number of us actually seem to care. As Edward Snowden now famously said, “Arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.”
“At a time when we are facing a massive attack against privacy rights thanks to the explosion of surveillance technology, we should be deeply concerned about the latest revelation that Vizio used 11 million televisions to spy on its customers and then sold the data they collected.
Are we really comfortable with a situation where private companies and the government know more about our lives than we do?
We need to control Big Brother. We need public policy which protects privacy rights. We need to do more than talk about a "free society." We need action to make sure that we live in a free society."
And as a society, we are particularly attached to our smartphones, and even more so for the younger generations. According to a study done by Deloitte, “During the day, we look at our phones approximately 47 times and that number rises to 82 for 18- to 24-year-olds.”
Only 6 states - California, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, and Utah - require a warrant to obtain your phone’s GPS history, aka “cell-site location information.” Illinois, Indiana, and New Jersey require warrants for real-time tracking only. This leaves 33 of our states with absolutely no oversight or legislation to access this data.
Internet connected home devices such as Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home are becoming wildly popular despite their now-limited capabilities. What they ARE good at, however, is eavesdropping on every word said within earshot.
The Bentonville Police Department issued a warrant to Amazon before the first of the year in what may be the first (and certainly not last) of its kind. James Bates, a suspect in a first-degree murder case, had an Echo device in his home. Because it records everything said at all times, those conversations inside the home may become instrumental in proving the case.
While being able to solve a murder case is important, so is our privacy, and there is currently no legislation in place to prevent this slippery slope from becoming downright icy. Sure, you may have nothing to hide, but what happens if you criticize the government? What happens if a rival business hacks into your Google Home and steals sensitive information that can leave you in financial ruin? What if pedophiles gain access to these recordings and find out private information about your children?
We as citizens are going to have to become our own privacy and security advocates, because it does not seem like there is any political will to keep our private data, well, private.
As we progress towards technological advancement, the Internet of Things can and will be used against us in a court of law. Our voices inside our own homes, our whereabouts, our likenesses, and the rest of our private data are no longer our own.
This Orwellian society will continue to become more invasive unless we stand up for what’s left of our rights.
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