Dealing With Daily Digital Surveillance

Monday, March 07, 2011

Robert Siciliano

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Our everyday activities are being monitored, today, right now, either by self-imposed technology or the ever-present Big Brother.

Traditionally, documenting our existence went like this: You’re born, and you get a medical and a birth record. These documents follow you throughout your life, filed and viewed by many. You must present these records in order to be admitted to a school, to be hired, or to be issued insurance.

You get a Social Security number shortly after birth, which serves as your national identification. These nine numbers connect you to every financial, criminal and insurance record that makes up who you are and what you’ve done. Beyond that, it’s all just paperwork.

But recently, as reported by USA Today, “Digital sensors are watching us”:

“They are in laptop webcams, video-game motion sensors, smartphone cameras, utility meters, passports and employee ID cards. Step out your front door and you could be captured in a high-resolution photograph taken from the air or street by Google or Microsoft, as they update their respective mapping services. Drive down a city thoroughfare, cross a toll bridge, or park at certain shopping malls and your license plate will be recorded and time-stamped.”

Then, of course, there are geolocation technologies that work in tandem with social media status updates, applications that track you and leak that data, and cookies on websites.

All of these technologies have been around for a while in one form or another. The difference is that today, databases are collecting and sharing that information like never before.

On top of that, new facial recognition technologies will connect your social networking profiles to your face, and that issue will be compounded when you share photographs that are geotagged with your location.

Knowing this, and understanding technology’s impact on what you once considered privacy, ought to resign you to the fact that at this point, privacy is kind of a dead issue. If you want to participate in society you have no choice but to give up your privacy (but not your security), to a certain extent.

Your new focus should be security. Secure your financial identity, so nobody else can pose as you. Secure your online social media identity, so nobody else can pose as you. Secure your PC, so nobody can take over your accounts. 

And please, there’s no sense in telling the world what you are doing and where you are every minute of the day. When you do this, you aren’t just relinquishing privacy; you are compromising your personal security.

Robert Siciliano, personal security expert contributor to Just Ask Gemalto, discusses Social Security numbers as national identification on Fox News. (Disclosures)

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Brian Ford Robert, Not all digital sensors are created equal. In the UK they have used traffic cameras for some time. people still dispute the summons they get because the pictures are blurry. Just because the data exists doesn't make it right.
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Robert Siciliano agreed brian
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