That’s the problem with technology, isn’t it? For every potential good use, there are at least several pain-inducing, criminal-pleasing, world-ending uses. Too often, the bad outweighs the good, especially in the public eyes and ears…. You can completely understand why [she] used the AirTag in the way she did. This whole tale makes me wonder, though, what we’ve come to and where we’re going…. If our default is that we can trust no one and fear everyone, how can we ever really get along?Chris Matyszcyk, in She didn’t trust her movers. A single AirTag proved she was right [zdnet.com], published on ZDNet
I disagree that “too often, the bad outweighs the good, especially in the public eyes and ears”. Too often the public buys the benefits without much thought as to the bad until it’s too late to put the genie back in the bottle. We have given up our privacy and anonymity bit by bit to enjoy little pleasures without understanding where we are going. Maybe we don’t trust each other, but we trust big companies and government more than we should.
I don’t agree with the conspiracy theory nut jobs and anti-government types. They are too delusional and fighting the government over privacy while they are in bed with private companies that track their every movement and record their every word. They don’t want to protect everyone’s privacy, they just want the government to leave them to do as they please; that’s not how a society works. All social contracts involve giving up something to have a functioning society. Anarchy is not a social contract.
But, there is something to their concerns, a kernel of truth, —more than a kernel— to their paranoia about their privacy. The cameras on the street see you; you carry a tracker in your pocket all day; at home your smart speakers are listening. Anonymous AI algorithms match your face against shadowy databases gathered from social media or state agencies. Anonymity, from actors both public and private, evaporated long ago. We give up our anonymity online and in the real world to get free content and services, and paid for it with out anonymity and, possibly, our security.
The convenience and efficiency gained by letting the government link you across it’s vast bureaucracy is addictive or, at least, easy to fall for, things just work. It’s easy to see how you benefit. Free services that cost only your identity, your location or your contacts to be hovered up by big corporations to be mined for their profit and benefit. It seems like a good deal when you don’t see what you are giving up for a few cents off that purchase. Until it’s not. No human institution is every far enough to from repression and despotism. We should be mindful of what we are giving up or the value of our data and how it can be used and abused.
Orwell, Dick, Gibson, Stephenson and so many others warned us. It’s a good thing there are people out there who care enough everyone’s privacy to do more then just write a blog post…