Our rights to privacy today are being hacked and hijacked, bared and shared, twittered and frittered away.
The latest evil eavesdropper is called a “dirt box,” a dragnet device installed in a small plane that flies low over metropolitan areas collecting cell phone data on citizens. The targets are criminals, but the net is wide and the technology by Boing is now commercially available. Apparently, not all crooks can be tracked by the red flashing lights coming from their $125 LA Gear running shoes.
The black box in your car can record your speed and driving habits, but what if it could also send this info to police or your insurance company?
Thermal imaging, the ability to see through walls of buildings to locate creeps and terrorists, is here. But what about the walls of your house? You thought your neighbours were already a little nosy!?!
Target stores have been identifying pregnant teenage girls by the type of products they purchase and then try and sell them more. In one case, Target outed a girl with ad mailers before her father found out.
In his new book Technocreep – The Surrender of Privacy and the Capitalization of Intimacy cyber expert Tom Keenan reveals a frightening series of personal privacy invasions being committed by governments, corporations and the kid next door. These cases of spying on innocent people will make you want to put on rubber boots, wrap yourself in tinfoil and stand in the corner of your bedroom for the rest of your life.
I thought the National Security Agency cornered the market on illegal information gathering when it got into the domestic user accounts of 60,000 Americans in one 6-month period. That, of course, caused CIA computer pro Edward Snowden to leak all their classified information in order to out the NSA as a domestic spy agency.
For his efforts to identify the enemy within, Snowden is now confined to a Moscow apartment where he can summon the superintendent by talking into a bowl of flowers, and the eyes in the photograph of Putin follow him around the room.
Snowden, okay. But Snow White?!? While little Sofia is bouncing down the Donald Duck Drive at Disneyland, all hopped up on candy floss and having the time of her life, she is constantly under surveillance. That Minnie Mouse bracelet she has on her tiny little wrist tells Disney’s tracking system where she is at every moment of her visit. A block away, Snow White sees Sofia coming her way and by accessing the bracelet data, she knows Sofia’s name, her favourite Disney characters and how much money the kid has left on her Magic Band. It is not an easy job Snow White has — looking after seven guys suffering from the “short man syndrome” and making sure Sofia maxes out that gift card before she leaves the premises.
Girls All Around Me is a cell phone app tailor-made for guys on the hustle. Slick walks into a singles bar and scans the room with the camera of his cell phone. The facial recognition app will identify every woman in the bar who has posted their photos on Facebook. By the time Slick makes his move he already knows the woman’s name, her favourite drink, her dog’s name and the music she listens to most. How could a guy possibly strike out armed with all that information? Slick will find a way, that’s why he’s a regular at the singles bar. About the only upside to Girls All Around Me is that women in bars may never again be subjected to really bad pick-up lines like: “Is it hot in here or is it just you?”
The Nike Fuel Band sounds like a very helpful health monitor, calculating the number of calories burned by the number of steps you take in a day. But what about at night? What happens when little Jimmy sees Mommy and Daddy burned 170 calories last night and didn’t leave the bedroom?
Japan has always been the world leader in high-tech toilets, complete with heated seats, water jets, hot-air bottom dryers, perfume blasts, mood music and even noise making for the flatulently timid. But the new “Smart Potty,” now in Japan and soon headed to a bathroom down the hall from you, is the ultimate in techno thrones. In less time than it takes you to flush it, the “Toto Toilet” takes your blood pressure, body temperature, weight and urine analysis, and instantly sends the results to your doctor. Hopefully the doctor’s assistant who receives these results is wearing plastic gloves because that stuff came right from the toilet.
The question is not how, why or by whom our privacy is being stolen. The question is: Does anybody care? I do, which is why I sometimes wake up sweating and screaming “I want my privacy back!!!” That’s when my clock radio starts laughing and my reading light snaps a selfie of me and my radio.
For comments, ideas and copies of The True Story of Wainfleet, go to www.williamthomas.ca