Tyranny – there’s an app for that.
This was the decade we gave our privacy away.
We took silly personality quizzes on Facebook Inc. that made Cambridge Analytica possible. We bought phones that tracked our locations everywhere we went. We plugged in smart speakers that sent recordings of our most intimate moments to humans overseas for transcription. We downloaded apps and plug-ins with reckless abandon. We installed security cameras everywhere. We clicked through terms of services without reading. We agreed to do whatever it took to make those pesky red badges on our phones go away. We are complicit in the corporate surveillance state we inhabit.
That doesn’t mean we weren’t duped. Companies tempted us with their free services. They downplayed the risks. They broke promises to safeguard our data. They presented themselves as silly apps, only to become world-changing communications platforms. They hired psychologists to manipulate us. They used the money they made from our data to buy lobbyists to fight off privacy regulations.
The New York Times explained on Thursday just what it means to hand over the kind of location data collected by our smartphones. The newspaper painted a terrifying portrait of the self-imposed surveillance state: “Within America’s own representative democracy, citizens would surely rise up in outrage if the government attempted to mandate that every person above the age of 12 carry a tracking device that revealed their location 24 hours a day. Yet, in the decade since Apple’s App Store was created, Americans have, app by app, consented to just such a system run by private companies.”
If you’re paying attention, this is not surprising. The Times wrote an article with many of the same revelations almost exactly a year ago. Other publications have been doing similar work for years.
The 2010s should be remembered as the decade tech turned dystopian.
Maybe it’s all best forgotten? Has anyone noticed that them internets are about as slow now as they were nearly twenty years ago? Half of the bogging down is the overkill graphics, ads, and disclaimers. The other half is surveillance. 5G is supposed to cure this. It won’t. Expect, in exchange for your health, perhaps a doubling of speeds – back to where we were in about 2010. The majority of the new capacity will be devoted to more spying. 5G isn’t a tool for transferring information. It’s one for gathering information. And they will love it. It’s not even amazing any more just how incredibly stupid most humans really are. Back to your cat videos.