Where’s Big Brother, Now that We Need Him?
Does privacy exist anywhere anymore? We thought we had the right to our own bodies here in the U.S. of A.—but that right extends only as far as the airport, where government-sponsored groping is the specialty of the day. We would like to think that our thoughts are our own, unless we want to share them, but it seems that only extends as far as our keyboards and phone pads.
Yes, when it comes to technology, I am a cave-dweller (but I’m not a Luddite!). I thought that I avoided the Wall Street Journal because I don’t have any money to invest, but today’s article, “Race Is on to ‘Fingerprint’ Phones, PCs” (written by Julia Angwin and Jennifer Valentino-DeVries) has introduced another really good reason to avoid WSJ—paranoia.
Despite my lack of any technical knowledge I did know that some of my online habits were tracked by various entities. It didn’t seem like a big deal, judging by the types of advertising to which I am subjected. Clearly nobody knows anything about me, except what I choose to share.
Now, thanks to the Wall Street Journal, I know that companies “are developing digital fingerprint technology to identify how we use our computers, mobile devices, and TV set-top boxes.” If business is there, can government be far behind? Is government far behind?
It seems that our turncoat computers, our faux loyal friends on lonely nights, have turned state’s evidence on us, betraying us by revealing their unique profiles (clock settings, fonts, software, and other characteristics) every time they goes on line. According to WSJ, your computer broadcasts “hundreds of details…to other computers it communicates with. Tracking companies can use this data to uniquely identify computers, cellphones and other devices, and then build profiles of the people who use them.” Excuse me while I go make a tin-foil beanie.Continued on the next page