The Future of Privacy – for the Rich only?

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According to the UHRD (Universal Human Rights Declaration) everyone has a right to privacy. Now correct me if I’m wrong, or maybe it changed while I was busy on Facebook, but the last time I checked this right was free. I didn’t get a notice or email requiring subscription fees in order to keep this right. However, it would seem those who control all the technological advances are under the impression that they deserve to know everything about the people who use their innovative little gadgets. This begs the question, are the poor people the only ones who will suffer?

privacy for the richTo some extent the answer is yes. Considering the internet and smartphones, people with means are able to protect themselves to a degree. There is a nice little article in the New York Times where Julia Angwin, the journalist, testifies to spending more than $2 200 on privacy software. I won’t presume to know what she makes in a month, but she is obviously in the position to make use of privacy protection software. Unfortunately not everyone is in the same position. So yes, privacy is becoming a luxury good. However, there are situations where even the rich and powerful fall victim to invasion.

Before we burst the bubble for the rich people who are ambivalent towards this invasion, let’s look at how badly the situation has become. According to security researchers the IPhone keeps track of everything the users do. Apparently it even keeps track of where you were and where you are at the moment. All this information is stored on a secret file that is copied to a computer when synced with the phone; in other words, if you have something to hide stay away from the IPhone.

Another little something I’ve noticed is the huge market for spyware. I never thought there would come a point when equipment to intentionally spy on someone would be so readily available. You can track positions, messages, phone calls and it’s only a matter of time before you can get x-ray goggles to see through walls. I kid you not; the ads read something like this, “Is your wife cheating on you? Now you can always know what and who she is doing”. It has to be said that spyware isn’t all bad. Keeping track of your kids when they go out at night might just save their lives, especially in modern times, but temptation is a nasty thing.

Even Google has taken part in revealing information to companies for the sole purpose of targeting specific consumers. Shame on you Google. Facebook is kindly being forced to raise security standards although for most people security is redundant on the site. Hackers are constantly probing new ways to break protection codes, enterprises stop at nothing to get customer information and Homeland Security is no doubt busy with searching for terrorists on your emails.

Now for the part where the term “privacy for the rich only” doesn’t really mean anything. Citizens of good old Canada is busy with a class action lawsuit against CSEC (Communications Security Establishment Canada) for keeping tabs on phone calls, emails and text messages to people outside of the country. After 9/11 Canada took a good look at their defense laws and the change isn’t fitting well with just about everyone who owns a computer or phone.

Security cameras are popping up everywhere in all major cities. All the government needs to do is scream “national security” and boom, there’s a camera in your toilet. Not even the rich and famous are safe from invasion of privacy no matter how much money they spend. All those crazy people who warned the world about conspiracies concerning federal agents listening to how you chew your dinner don’t seem so crazy now.

Regarding the future of privacy it doesn’t look good. It would be naive to think that things could go back to the way they were. The burden of technological advancements comes at the cost of privacy and although the rich can spend loads of money for standard protection, it will increase steeply. When the former assistant secretary of Homeland Security, Stewart Baker, is preaching to the media that privacy will become a luxury then get ready to unhinge your front door; you won’t need it anymore because everyone will know what’s going on in your home without having to step inside it.