Whither Privacy?

“There will come a time when it isn’t ‘They’re spying on me through my phone’ anymore. Eventually, it will be ‘My phone is spying on me’.”

― Philip K. Dick

As I related in my last post about how the pics we take and upload can expose information about us that we may not want others to know, and went on about how our phones also track our whereabouts to the snoops, a follower emailed me this bit of information about our home WiFi systems:

https://omgfacts.com/your-wifi-router-is-spying-on-you-c29211c1d875#.y678bptdw

I’ve gone online in an attempt to find out just how truthful and accurate omgfacts.com is, or their parent company, Dose, who describes itself as “an online media company with a mission to educate, entertain, and inspire” and “The World’s #1 Fact Source”. My research was for naught, I can find nothing that has investigated and rates their accuracy or truthfulness. So I caution how much credibility you may want to give it.

However, their article cites an article in the The Atlantic, an American magazine founded in 1857 and based in Washington, D.C. with a national reputation as a high-quality review organ with a moderate worldview that has won more National Magazine Awards than any other monthly magazine. And I did find the article: 

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2016/08/wi-fi-surveillance/497132

So, at least in this instance, omgfacts.com reported factually. And my response to the article is:

Why am I not surprised? 

Why is it if you or I peek in someone’s window, you and I can get arrested (if not get the crap beat out of us), but if the government or big business does it electronically it’s somehow okay as long as they aren’t targeting a specific person (without a warrent, if government) even if they can infer a specific person and their personal doings from the info gathered?

That they can – and do – must have been in the fine print of something we’ve unwittingly agreed to.

Let’s face it, we’re buggered, plain and simple, unless we go totally off the grid (not an easy thing to do, even if you want to). If it can be plugged in or run off a battery and in any way sends a signal of any kind, somebody will figure out a way to use it to spy. 

And then there’s the report where, in a public referendum held Sept. 25, a majority of Swiss voters supported a new law that would grant the Swiss intelligence agency powers to spy on telecommunications, infect citizens’ digital communications devices with surveillance malware, and place microphones and video cameras in private places:

http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2016/09/30/netizen_report_swiss_citizens_say_yes_to_surveillance.html

And another report on how your car tattles on you:

http://www.dallasnews.com/business/autos/2016/09/30/car-knows-thatll-become-big-business

Consumer Reports (“66 Ways to Protct Your Privacy Right Now”, November 2016) points out: “A 2014 study by the security firm Symantac and a June 2015 study by Germany’s AV-Test.org found that many Bluetooth devices…fitness trackers and running devices can broadcast [your] name, address,password, and GPS data…If possible, keep your wireless [Bluetooth] settings turned off until you choose to upload…”

Your VCR (among any other “smart” devises in your home) vulnerable?

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/hackers-infect-army-of-cameras-dvrs-for-massive-internet-attacks-2016-09-30

This is what Consumer Reports (see above citation) tells us about ourselves:

“At first, we simply accepted ads targeted to our search queries. But now, a decade later, the trade-offs have become more extreme. We implicitly agree to have our movements followed both virtually, as we browse the web, and physically, as our phones transmit our locations. We agree to have our interests cataloged and analyzed. We agree to have the content of our emails scanned. We agree to have our friends identified and analyzed in ‘social graphs’. We agree to have our images stored, shared, and tagged and our faces analyzed to help companies perfect their facial recognition tools. We agree to have our voices analyzed, our fingerprints scanned, and soon enough, the iris paterns of our eyes stored in vast, remote databases.”

Privacy? 

What an antiquated notion.

– Billl

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