December sure has been a month full of whopping privacy breaches, violations, and very sketchy practices by individuals and companies alike. It used to be pretty simple: Your private life, what you read, ate, watched, places you went to, people you talked too, and things you liked were something that you only shared with people you knew and/or trusted. Pinky Swears were eternally binding, secrets you told to friends stayed with them to the grave, and conversations between adults never evolved out of control save for the occasional bit of unsubstantiated gossip here and there.
Well, it’s a brave new world people… and everyone is involved if you want to be or not.
I’m going to list the 4 latest big privacy scares in the past month and let you decide for yourself if people are being treated as products and services is fantasy or fact.
- From Mashable: Facebook bug gave developers access to photos you never meant to share. As the article mentions, when you upload a photo but chose not to share it, a glitch in the matrix (so to speak) gave app develops access to those photos… without your permission. Once again, Facebook has failed to protect its users from letting their private data fall into the hands of people who were not meant to have it. How many other breaches and failures is it going to take before people just stop using the platform?
- From TheVerge: Taylor Swift tracked stalkers with facial recognition tech at her concert. While some folks might say this is an isolated incident and that Ms. Swift deserves to feel safe at her own concert (and she does, no question), it makes a person wonder about the privacy of the people who were being recorded, scanned, images captured and analyzed, etc. What happens to the captured images, data, and other bits of digital information used in the process? At this point, it’s not a stretch to imagine other venues doing this for a variety of other reasons… or to see it happening on our streets (much like London, England or various cities in China).
- From BGR: Amazon patent hints at using doorbell cameras to build a suspicious persons database. Apparently ringing someone’s doorbell or dropping off a package has now evolved into having your face scanned and put into a database, if Amazon has their way (should the patent actually go into production). I don’t know about anyone else, but this screams privacy violation and Creepy Factor of 10.
- From Android Central: Facebook gave Microsoft, Amazon, and Netflix unfettered access to user data. While I’m not entirely sure why Microsoft, Amazon, or Netflix would care about my liking a cat video, that is completely beside the point. The fact that once again Facebook has allowed our data to get into the hands of companies who have no right to it and no right to access it unfettered, is more than alarming. When Apple CEO, Tim Cook, said that regulation is inevitable (speaking about social media platforms, data centres, etc) he wasn’t wrong. I certainly hope not anyways.
I remember awhile ago someone once told me that privacy was a myth and everything we do is either being tracked, traced, scanned, copied, disseminated, sold, etc and that privacy as we once knew it is gone, I thought they were bananas.
Well… I’m a believer now.
Can you see what I see?