Privacy is Over, Surveillance is the New Reality

If you didn’t know it already, you are being surveilled. By the government, by your social networks, by your cellphone carrier, by your bank, by every cookie-enabled website you visit, by CCTV camera. Forget privacy. It doesn’t exist.

If authorities WANTED to track your physical location down, they’d have multiple avenues to do so —- especially in a developed nation where the infrastructure is already in place.

Here’s how our location can be tracked:

• credit card/ATM usage
• cellphone tower triangulation
• cellphone bugging
• controlling your webcam via remote control
• CCTV and security cameras at intersections, convenience stores, banks, government buildings
• built-in location trackers in modern vehicles
• mobile phone security apps allowing you to track down and erase your data
• IP address
• boastful social media updates, such as this one: Alleged Thief Gives Himself Away on Facebook

If you wanted to get off the grid entirely, you could try to do as the North Pond Hermit did in Maine. He eschewed all of modern society for 27 years, surviving in the deepest (coldest) woods by setting up a camouflaged camp and stealing supplies from empty vacation homes. But still, he was caught.

Physical location is only one data point that can be gleaned about you. The other way your privacy is being invaded is by web data. The more we interact with the internet, the greater our trail of breadcrumbs. Intelligent people coupled with intelligent tools can connect dots.

And you don’t even need to be on Facebook for your private info to be easily gleaned from archived web sources like say, Friendster. In a recent WIRED article, researchers were able to grab sensitive information using Friendster(??!!) data and modern prediction algorithms that created “shadow profiles.”

This can be done through what are called “shadow profiles.” For example, if five of your friends invite you to join a new site called NeoSocial Company by punching your email address into a form on the site, the company could create a social graph based simply on your email address and who invited you, even if you don’t sign up for the service.

What does one do in the face of all this absurd surveillance?

The only response that seems apt in this non-sequitur reality is: put on a good show.

Someone somewhere is probably watching.


Image credits: Tyler Menzel on Giphy.

4 thoughts on “Privacy is Over, Surveillance is the New Reality

  1. You forgot to mention that those numerous roadside cameras. Small and inconspicious they record number plates of passing vehicles plus all connected data. All gets stored for *two years* minimum on a central computer in Hendon.

    What you can do here? Contact your MP abour roadside ANPR surveillance.
    The UK is the only European country that takes motion profiles of vehicles without specific reason!

    It’s up to everybody to do something about it. There are other, very safe countries with far less surveillance in Europe. So it can be different if you want it.


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