We’re being spied on by phones, computers, TVs, cars – even the doorbells. Worse, argues Oxford professor CARISSA VELIZ, we’re doing it to ourselves by giving away our data
Most of us know that our personal data is being collected, stored and analysed thanks to our relationship with our mobile phones, computers and the internet. But are we really aware of the full extent of the privacy invasions into our daily lives?
Let’s start at dawn. What is the first thing you do when you wake up? You probably check your phone.
By doing that, you are informing a whole host of busybodies – your smartphone manufacturer, app developers and your mobile company, as well as intelligence agencies (if they happen to be watching you) – what time you wake up, where you’ve been sleeping and who you share a bed with, providing they keep their phone with them too.
If you wear a smart watch it will have recorded your every movement in bed – including, of course, any sexual activity. Share a picture or record your thoughts on Facebook, or type a search into Google, and that information is tracked and stored.
Perhaps you’ve run out of sugar and you decide to ask your neighbour if she has some spare. Standing outside her door, you notice there’s a new smart doorbell, which records images of those who come near. It’s anybody’s guess where the footage is going to end up and what it will be used for.
The CDC attempted to manipulate twitter users with a strange online poll, yet most users saw right through it!
You turn on your smart TV. It is probably identifying everything you watch and sending the data to the manufacturer, third parties, or both.
If you had time to read the privacy policies of the objects you buy, you would also have noticed that your TV picks up and records your spoken words and reserves the right to transmit them to other organisations.
Intelligence agencies such as MI5 and the CIA can make your TV look as though it is off while they record you. Your digital assistant Alexa may be listening too.
On and on it goes, as your day unfolds – the computerised surveillance that turns your everyday life into data.