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Retail spy masters.

February 8, 2018

It’s ironic that there is a national outrage over a government agency spying on the American people without their consent, but there is no corresponding indignation over “surveillance capitalism.”

In the past weeks and months many stories have broken about search engines and TVs that track everything from what you watch on the tube to whether you are in a car or on  foot, to clothing containing tracking technology, to your vehicle, to Amazon grocery stores that won’t let you shop if you don’t have a smartphone.

In fact,  just about everything we own that has an e-component can track us in one form or another, which certainly has a “Big Brother” feel to it.

The internet is rife with articles explaining how you can turn off  some of the tracking features, but as soon as you use certain apps you could reactivate it again, just by agreeing to the app’s terms of use.

All of this tracking is targeted at discovering what we buy and where we go with the intent to sell us something.

Maybe you’re OK with that. After all, it isn’t as though we haven’t been bombarded with ads entreating us to buy something forever.

Certainly law enforcement finds tracking useful, not just to catch crooks, but to locate missing children, lost hunters and hikers or even cars.

However, given the many instances of our personal data being hacked, not to mention the reluctance of companies to tell us about it, there are certainly downsides to surrendering body and soul to our electronic masters.

Not the least of these is outright theft and blackmail, via ransomware, scareware and other nefarious software.

At this point, about the only defense is not to own anything that has the ability to be tracked. Some people simply won’t own  anything new enough to have that capability, but that’s nearly impossible today.

At some point your analog TV will expire, and some states are even contemplating legislation that makes it so expensive to license and drive a pre-computer automobile that they become expensive shelf warmers. Not having an internet browser connection activated on your smartphone doesn’t work, because that doesn’t disable the GPS locating features.

Maybe that’s the price of living in the “connected” age.

And maybe it will prove to be too high a price to pay, if it hasn’t already.

From → op-ed

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