The Rise of Surveillance Tech and What It Means for New Generations
Just reading recent news articles on another criminal apprehended thanks to the surveillance cameras will make you think how defenseless we are before the watchful eye. Think about all the times you’re crossing a street within just one day. And now think of how many cars are on the said street with their dashboard cameras rolling.
Nowadays, most of our movements in public places are recorded. Do the recordings go anywhere? Does someone check them? Are we being tracked? There’s no definitive answer. Conspiracy theorists will say—definitely! The more pragmatic of us will doubt that.
Your Privacy is Your Personal Responsibility
You know that if you were looking for a pie recipe or googling to find homework help, the browser history would save them so you won’t lose any useful links. But it can be uncomfortable to know that someone else may have access to this information.
The key takeaway here is that you need to protect your devices with secure passwords and two-factor authentication if possible. It’s not that you should be embarrassed that you searched for a term paper writing service or best gifts for the anniversary. The point is that everyone should be allowed their privacy.
Be Careful With New Tech
Well, you could’ve skipped the latest iPhone, maybe avoided signing up to Facebook. Yet, you’ve been spied on by modern technologies more times than you can imagine. How long has it been going on? What are the possible outcomes? And should you be paranoid or not? Those are the main questions that this information provokes.
Unfortunately, current trends dictate that we must have state-of-art tech all the time. connected tech. So, location and browser activity are always tracked for the best product placements.
Well, any device or app installed on your phone, a traffic camera, or an ATM can see you. It can be your smartphone or your laptop. And if you have a smart TV, it can spy on you too. You just need to differentiate that some services investigate your preferences to target ads. In contrast, others can be used in case of an emergency or crime. Unless they are misused, that is.
Control Your Personal Data
The recent Facebook scandals showed that our personal information is far from being safe in the digital world. Allegedly, data of over 1 billion users was sold to hackers. And you can easily become the target of shady advertisers, or worse, cyberattacks. But that’s only a social network where you post whatever you want about yourself. Smart devices learn your data without your consent.
The device learns your habits and interests. It feeds you the content that you prefer. And there’s nothing wrong about that in particular. But every time you search for something on the internet, it gets recorded. And ends up somewhere. Basically, all your connected devices have information about you that can end up in the wrong hands.
Your Home is Under Threat
Smart home platforms make you feel more secure? You should think twice. All of the platforms like Alexa or Google Home have security gaps that hackers can use to their advantage.
Wanna buy a smart lock with fingerprint scanner or a password? Unless you get an advanced one which costs a ton, your home can easily become a target for robberies. Don’t buy a cheap Amazon lock since it’s easily picked.
Check Your GPS tracking
You know that certain devices have tracking apps. GPS can help you find the way if you get lost. A lot of dating apps allow sharing your location to understand which prospective matches are nearby. Although, it’s more like indulging in techno thriller scenarios, but all that can be used for tracking you by people with malicious intentions.
Should You Get Paranoid Yet?
Of course, all that information can easily make you paranoid, but you must keep in mind that a lot depends on the way you use the device. If you give all the permissions to the device by default, you are exposing yourself to possible threats. You need to prioritize your privacy. And there are several things you can do about it.
Be Mindful About Your App Permission
You cannot grant permission to your apps by default. You should carefully monitor what accesses the application is asking for and only allow those items you’re feeling comfortable with. Here’s a short list of permissions that should raise red flags:
- Access something the app doesn’t need;
- Access to your location;
- Access to your contacts;
- Activity recognition;
- Face recognition;
A game or a flashlight app doesn’t need to access your microphone or your bank account. If you’re using a dating app, and it doesn’t work without enabling location tracking, you should only allow access for when you’re using the app.
Access to your contacts may lead to not only your data leaking but also anyone’s from your phone book. Activity and face recognition can lead to hackers knowing who you are, how you look, and what you are doing at any given moment.
Be careful of the apps you trust and think twice before allowing such access.
Use VPN for public Wi-Fi
Whenever you’re using public Wi-Fi, your data is under threat, as hackers often lurk through public networks. And if you want to feel safe when using the public internet, you should use VPN. Thus, you won’t be afraid to become a victim of fraudsters when browsing through things in cafes.
Check Device’s Privacy Settings
Whenever you get a new device, be it a smartphone, a laptop, a smartwatch, etc., you need to check the privacy settings. If something alerts you, you should probably switch to another device.
Do not worry! You can still have control over your life if they are a little bit more cautious about the device they use. You can go into full paranoid mode and tape the camera on your laptop Zuckerberg-style, but that will likely not protect you from all the possible threats.
Using VPN, limiting your social media exposure, and a more watchful attitude to the devices will work way better. Mindful consumption can also help, as you truly don’t need all the smart devices on the market.
Moreover, there are certain benefits to surveillance technologies. Nowadays, it is easier to track criminals thanks to their usage of different devices. That was literally impossible a few decades ago. So, nothing is completely black or white. New technologies can help solve offline crimes but lead to their online counterparts.
While it is tempting to imagine we’re already living in the dystopian future. It’s not here yet. At least, as long as you take a more mindful approach to devices that you use.