Not happy with simply logging your phone calls, your IP address, and tracking your purchases, the powers that be have slowly been collecting more and more information about its citizens for unknown uses. And don’t think it’s only with a court order and a police warrant that this information is viewable.
For years we have ignored all the cameras which spy on us in plain sight; CCTV is now a part of all of our urban landscapes, licence plate and face recognition technologies mean they know exactly where you went, what time you went there, and what you did. Public spaces these days are almost devoid of blind spots. Where they cannot see you, they lure you to add your own surveillance under the guise of gaming, entertainment, communication, and security. Technology has become the easiest and objectively non-intrusive way of self-surveillance.
This technology is usually free, but not paying for something is the biggest trick in the book. We are glad to be getting something for nothing and in our daze and stupor, we blindly install everything without reading the terms and conditions. But remember if something is free it does one of two things; it acts as bait and makes you yourself the product and the information you now give away for free is the real reason the technology was made so cheap and enticing.
With all this alluring software and tech we are all encouraged to share everything. You log in to save your bookmarks and you post favourite sites you’ve viewed. You log in to approve comments and click the like or dislike buttons. What you are doing, when you are doing it is all posted online. People are happy logging every part of their lives on various social media, but logs of analytical data is not where this self-surveillance ends. We have slowly and blindly placed cameras in our lives; either recording our families and friends, or facing ourselves and recording every gesture, interaction, or communication we make. On our phones, computers, games consoles, and televisions, our faces are being tracked and cross referenced. Image programmes now ask you to name the faces in your library of photos. Avatars, profile pictures, and picture messages can then be cross referenced to check what you were doing and who you were doing it with. Short of reading your mind we now have hashtags, comment boxes, and approval buttons. It is now possible to track what you thought and what your opinion was at any given time.
The profile and associated data you have created for yourself is then encouraged to be uploaded under the guise of security and safekeeping. Please make backups, not physical ones but upload everything to the cloud – it’s all very secure – we promise. As long as the price is right we never check which country, which servers, and what securities are safeguarding our information. As long as it’s supposedly “safe”, we save and upload our data constantly. If you can’t afford a monthly data plan, don’t worry, unsecured free Wi-Fi hotspots are everywhere these days making your 24/7 self-surveillance easily up-loadable to the all knowing eye in the cloud. Just ignore that this self-surveillance is constantly building a trail of possible non-evidence for corruptible future use.
Remember over a decade ago when technologies that could intercept surveillance data and cross reference it were just conspiracy theories? Now they admit to programmes like Trapwire. Imagine what technology they are currently withholding from us. This technology coupled with a government who wants to be seen to be thwarting the next great crime is a recipe for an Orwellian disaster. Governments throughout the world have a history of hiding secrets, twisting or breaking laws, and illegally gathering information of whoever they think is their current threat. These governments are prone to change (good or bad), they are guilty of vote-rigging, they shift their political viewpoints and allegiances, they create and revoke laws to suit them… and these are the people we ultimately trust with all our information? We should think more carefully about what pieces of information we share. It can all potentially incriminate.
But hold on, the irony that you are reading this on an online blog should not be ignored. How do you know that this article is not a trap to gauge your opinion? Thinking of agreeing or disagreeing? Thinking of replying? First make sure you’re not logged into this device and are not facing any camera.
You are being watched. You have just been tracked.