03 May Surveillance – the silent creep of control
By Clive Gregory
The year 2020 will forever be remembered as the year a pandemic, Corvid-19, brought the world to a standstill. Well almost. One industry that is likely to benefit, and no doubt make vast fortunes for a few, is surveillance. Already, at the beginning of May as I write this there’s an attempt to get the entire population to download an app for contact tracing. Now, I’m all for finding ways to contain this pandemic but this push for us all to download is happening before the scientists broadly agree that such an app will work and which app will achieve the desired result.
Of course surveillance has been creeping daily into our lives long before this and will no doubt become even more brazen in the years to come. Many people now willingly, in fact pay for, devices that have the capacity to listen in to their everyday conversations, gather data on every aspect of their lives. These devices have friendly, everyday names like Alexa or Hey Google and they want to know everything about us. Scarier still are the smart TVs that have cameras built in to not just listen but watch our every move. Surely, though it’s possible to turn off the cameras, isn’t it… well no, I’ve not seen any such feature on a smart TV I’ve looked at.
But hey, you can order your groceries just by talking, you can speak to multiple friends and family via your smart TV and see them on your TV just as they can see you – cool. Actually, it could really be cool, except that every picture, every word, everything you buy, everywhere you go, every picture you take, every profile you create, everything can and is being recorded and the information sold to whichever entity wants it and is prepared to pay for it whether they be corporations or governments – anywhere in the world.