Stop Spying on me!

The roadtrip example

In the old days, your ancestors could spend a weekend by the sea without anyone knowing. Today, if you decide to go, you are monitored, no matter what happens, from the beginning to the end of your journey.

  • You let yourself be guided by your GPS, which records all the routes.
  • Your cell phone indicates all the relays you pass by.
  • You use your credit card to pay tolls.
  • You decide to stop for a coffee break on the road, you connect to the free wifi service, which in terms of safety, is almost perfect!
  • And when you finally arrive at your destination, you decide to publish on the networks a nice picture of you at the beach . At least we know where you are! 😝

Everything we do is recorded and stored. And the truth is: we (sadly) accept to be monitored for every detail.

Watched like a hawk

The chains are gradually wrapped around us without us being aware of it. We have lost this notion of freedom. This freedom to think, to express oneself, to move, to participate in events, to live simply without it generating a whole bunch of metadata - that are not without consequences:

“We kill people based on metadata."Michael Hayden, former head of the CIA and NSA

The sentence pronounced by the former head of the CIA and the NSA. Reference was made to Skynet, a program similar to Big Data, to collect and store millions of metadata. The only difference, instead of targeting and identifying potential consumers, Skynet’s algorithm aims to target future targets of American drones to eliminate terrorists in Pakistan. Only, it turns out his algorithm was:

“Screwed up and ineffective, causing the death of hundreds of innocent people." Patrick Ball, a scientific expert at the Human Rights Data Analysis Group.

Our data reveal a lot of information

Your interests, what you eat, how you travel, places, recurrence, duration, but also your calls and messages. Who contacts you, how long, the recurrence of these calls, who you are with at the moment…

Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye is a Ph.D. student at MIT and works at the Human Dynamics Laboratory of the Lab media. He explains that our metadata is more personal than our fingerprints: “To identify an individual with his or her fingerprints, 12 reference points must be used to be sure. On the other hand, our digital footprints leave us far more footprints than 12 small dots”.

The impact of Big Data can also have a more direct impact on our daily lives. An individual may be denied a job or credit because of his or her metadata. Indeed, banks can track all your spending habits. Check whether or not you are a spendthrift. The same is true for insurance companies that buy your credit card statements to verify your consumption. If you are under medical treatment, if you eat healthily if you smoke. Your buying habits allow them to check whether you are a “reliable” or “at risk” customer and adjust their insurance rates accordingly. It’s time to think about giving priority to cash payment!

A recruiter can find out about your lifestyle even before you audition. What you post on social networks can be analyzed very carefully. Through these networks, we can study your family situation, your interests, your social contacts, your travel, your political opinions, your prejudices, your state of intoxication - all these elements can determine your fate when recruiting.

We can also talk about cybercrime, for which connected devices are a real gold mine. Generally, we are all vigilant about our personal affairs, and we make sure to pay attention to them. We do not walk in the street with his bag open for all to see, for example. That would be recklessness, wouldn’t it?

Connected vs Under Surveillance

On the other hand, when it comes to our connected devices, our vigilance dissipates. And yet the threat is there. Malicious hackers can subtract your banking, personal, and health information and use it for personal or other purposes, the primary purpose of which is, without a doubt, money. The more connected we are, the more vulnerable we are.

You can also be the victim of a burglary. When you are on holiday, you post photos on social networks. This means that you are not at home—essential information for a malicious person. In the past, burglars had to walk the streets to find empty houses. Today, with just a few clicks, this information is at your fingertips! Besides, didn’t you just post a picture of yourself at the beach?

The question arises: are privacy and the Internet-compatible? We will try to answer them in a future article.

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