The recent scandal Facebook has been involved in shows us, once again, how far spying on people online has gotten. If you read about this subject and you see the data big corporations have on you, you simply get depressed, or angry.
Unfortunately, not only Facebook and Google are tracking and spying on us online. Governments, thousands of advertising, marketing agencies and companies such as Instagram, Microsoft, WhatsApp or Spotify are doing just the same.
In all fairness, some details are required in order to be constantly provided with better security and personalized services. For example, the Find my iPhone app needs access to your location so you can track your phone if its lost or stolen. Also, not collecting any details makes the Internet insecure because security experts and service providers need some data in order to protect us.
So, what’s left to do ? We give up on the Internet and enjoys our real life where he have privacy ? Well, we can enjoy our real life, but we’re not gonna get away from being spied on. Let’s take a look at other ways Governments and companies are collecting data about people.
- Facebook comes clean: the social networks knows everything you did in the last few years
- Firefox releases extension to block Facebook from spying on you
- How Facebook knows everything about you - The truth behind the conspiracy theory
China is building a super big database with the faces of all its citizens which will be able to recognize anybody in about three seconds. Moreover, railroad police in China have started to be equipped with smart glasses with facial recognition software. Police officers are saying that the smart glasses help them catch criminals and suspects. According to the police, this technology has lead to the apprehension of 7 criminals and discovered 26 people with fake ids.
But not only China is building such databases. The South Wales police made the first arrested on May 31, 2017 with the help of a facial recognition software. Hardware and software solutions were provided by NEC. Such computer systems are mounted on vans such as the one in the photo below.
Thee technologies are considered invasive by many people have it breaches our right to privacy. But in the United Kingdom people have gotten used to knowing they are monitored. The United Kingdom is the country with the most public video surveillance cameras in the world.
In the United States of America, a private company is collecting the license plate numbers of vehicles and the main client is the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement ( ICE ). According to sources, the database is capable of collecting 100 million license plate numbers a month from different sources such as: police cameras, public video surveillance cameras or cameras installed on special vehicles.
There are also companies that collect information about clients of financial services and this happens online but also offline. They are being sold to banks, insurance companies, retailers or telecom operators. In July of 2017 it was discovered that the servers of such a company, Equifax, have been hacked and the private details of 143 million U.S. citizens were compromised.
Many retailers have advanced monitoring systems installed, based on cameras, which can count the number of clients that entered a store in a day or can track the areas where they spent the most time. Moreover, these platforms can provide other data such as the average visit in a store.
In many countries all credit card transactions are being monitored and the information can be accessed in real time by the authorities. Companies also collect data about the way people use loyalty and gift cards each time they are being used.
Not just our faces are collected by databases, but also voices. A few years ago a company called SpeechPro developed a technology capable of identifying someone based on the voice, out of millions of samples. The technology is already being used in Mexico.
The Pentagon admitted that it used army drones to spy on civilians in non-military missions. According to a Pentagon rep, the “flights were rare and have not broken the law”. Yeah right.