Oh Big Brother, Where Art Thou?

No, not really!Facebook likes to ask us, “What’s on Your Mind?”, “Where Are You?”, “How Are You Feeling?”.  Nosy little platform if I do say so myself.  But it isn’t the only one; all social media platforms and even some operating systems such as iOS, Windows & Android frequently ask their respective users rather impertinent questions.

While all of this may seem benign, I cannot see the benevolence of this practice.  There is no logical reason for my ‘Gallery’ app to require authorization to view my SMS.  But…

All of this is done by the respective manufacturers/vendors in the name of “improving the consumer experience, customizing tailored search results and improving the interaction with that of the end-user”.

For the record, “end-user” is defined as (noun) “the person who actually uses a particular product”.  Be it Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, LinkedIn or Snapchat, or the fundamental operating systems employed to access these social media websites, all mainstream folk (i.e. no one involved in the design, creation, development or testing processes of the respective software) are considered by the respective EULA (End User Licence Agreement; you know the one… you never read it, you just press AGREE 😉 ) agreements to be just that, “end-user”.  It’s a lot of legalese and long-winded mumbo-jumbo but well worth a read — you don’t need to be a lawyer to recognize that the end-user signs off on a lot of different elements that give and secure control by these vendors over your activities.

If you can successfully comprehend my choice of words and peregrinate through my shared perspectives, I can all but guarantee that you will have no problems reading the EULA’s or “Community Standards” — Community Standards is nearly synonymous with an EULA.  And I cannot stress enough the importance of reading these, albeit lengthy, legally binding documents.  Read Facebook’s Community Standards here and Microsoft’s EULA for Windows 10 here.

The pinnacle of this example is the very “app permissions” the end-user must sign-off upon to download and install various programs for utilization on their “smartphone” or other device.  Why the Android app “Gallery” needs access to your phone’s contact list is beyond me — granting permission for this app to access my camera is logical as the pictures taken by this phone’s camera are accessible from the “Gallery” app.  Access to my phone’s stored contact list and SMS history is NOT a reasonable request from my simple Gallery App.

quotation-marks-left2*disclaimer: The “Gallery app” by Android is used for example; it is to be taken within the context of this article.  Each app, program or executable may and/or does contain different permissions to function within specified context of their respective original codes, access permissions and EULA’s.  No infringement nor insult was intended against all respective copyright holders.  (*I bit my tongue saying that last part :/ )

So, you still with me over there?  Because this is where the fecal excrement hits the proverbial fan.

If you ever needed a better example that someone is always watching you; let’s start right here and prove a point: Big Brother Is Watching You.  This insidious method of data collection is legal and most of the time, feedback is provided freely by you, the end-user of these software platforms.  You, the end-user, feed the very beast that literally spies on you.

You do it all the time.  Every time you install a new app, upgrade an operating system — you do it every single time you post to Facebook (or any social media) your location, your mood and even your basic status update.  You do it when you access Google Maps; it likewise needs to know your location to function as advertised.

Oh by the way Canada, I meant to ask… how’s that long-form census working out for ya eh?

We the end-users feed this data collection machine all in the name of enhancing our various ‘creature comforts’.  And hey, I too am a mere mortal that uses many aspects of this technology — I’ve hit that “Accept” button for an EULA more times than I’d care to count.

When one is connected to the internet, one has NO reasonable expectation of privacy — the lawyers may argue otherwise, but the fundamental fact of the matter is that once something or someone goes online, everything that is shared can, and often does, become part of the “public domain”.  Regardless of your privacy settings!  Because the internet is largely unregulated and spanning an entire globe, this technological marvel becomes next to impossible to legislate, regulate or control.

But lawmakers, politicians and lobbyists do try…

… and this probably explains why even Mark Zuckerberg himself sports a short band of shiny electrical tape covering his laptop’s integrated camera (webcam).

In many jurisdictions, law enforcement must first seek a search warrant or other noted court orders before lawful seizure of your online activities may proceed.  But if you keep utilizing the “Location Services” in any and all apps, you are already traceable; any kinder-kid can track you on their tablet — ergo, no warrant or court order is necessary.

Some may argue that the Internet is the best friend to those who believe that true freedom of speech trumps all.  This is a half truth.  Every medium has its “Community Standards” which precludes any and all statements or shares over said medium.  Yours truly had to sign off on the WordPress Community Standards to make this Blog possible; while WordPress tends to be more open and supportive of varying perspectives, the concept remains the same.

Interesting thought eh folks?  The infrastructure to spy on all of us already exists.  Time to break out the tin-foil hats.

Technological innovation will undoubtedly be the savoir of our species BUT the problem lies now squarely in HOW best to utilize the marvels of our own creations.

The progressive mantra has always been a new world order; one government to bind us, one government to rule us all; for un-elected ruling elites know better than us mere mortals.  Read this, that & the other thing if you’re new to the blog and don’t know what I mean by that.

The evolution of technology towards the betterment of Humankind can only be best utilized when one truly fathoms that actual growth in technology, spirituality and critically; the evolution of our species is achieved by individuals that participate in the process — the ones that understand the five pillars of individuality or conservatism.

Unelected and by extension, unaccountable groups seek to categorize and catalog all of this raw data in some vain attempt to fashion a path that they perceive to be the best way forward for you and our species — individual rights and freedoms be damned!

The epitome of globalization directly depends on unelected bodies such as the United Nations or the European Union; the infrastructure already exists.  Global elitists and the rest of the progressive crowd hope to capitalize upon this technology before you have a chance to notice the subtle attempt to usurp your rights and freedoms.

Technology is a wonderful thing; don’t leave it in the hands of those who would make George Orwell’s 1984 look tame.

Study this folks.  Big Brother is right there with you.  So, in the meantime, shut your “location services” off.  We really didn’t need to know that you were feeling wonderful at the Beer Store in whatever town; but more importantly, you need to stop surrendering this fact to the very software that records all of this.

In this age of technological marvel, everyone can track anyone, everywhere we go.

Constant vigilance folks!

-Kevin

About Kevin

Kevin is a Canadian citizen, writer & blogger.
This entry was posted in Archived, Journalism, Kevin's Corner, Technology, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Oh Big Brother, Where Art Thou?

  1. I am reading “1984” and if you see me on Goodreads, you will know on which page of the book I am right now. I have been thinking about this for about a week: Should I find a new way to track where I am with my reading goals and which books I have finished this year? Should I go back to the old way of sharing how I feel about the books I read? Should I go back to the old way of recommending books to friends?

    The reason I have been thinking about this is that I am quite aware that having strangers (not just my friends) who can read this data, knowing everything about what I am reading, what I have read and what page I am on, could be a very, very bad thing when they decide to come after people who read books about the political things I read about.

    • Kevin says:

      Personally Ms. “HomeSchoolMom”,

      I’d share what I read with folks in the online atmosphere. This may serve to later bring me down or to pass some judgement against me; but I don’t really care.

      If I read something I like, I talk about it — both online and offline.

      If I’m to be judged or arrested by the powers that be for having the audacity to engage in freedom of speech and sharing of ideas, then so be it.

      There are no personal protections offered by the “internet” en mass. Use your best judgement and take it from there.

      Cheers.

      -Kevin

    • Kevin says:

      Oh and BTW… 1984 was a good read (albeit lengthy and repetitive); I do hope you make your students read it. There are many valuable life lessons contained in that book.

    • Kevin says:

      P.S. I’d love to hear what you thought about “1984” when you’ve finished reading it.

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