The Surveillance State: Have Americans Unwittingly Opted In?

Saturday, September 14, 2019
By Paul Martin

By Julio Rivera
September 14, 2019

Let’s be honest. When was the last time you sat down and read through the entirety of an app or hardware devices terms of use? The usually thousands of words long legalese omelet is easily bypassed by scrolling to the bottom of the page and clicking on the “I agree” box and unfortunately, that’s what most Americans in the modern world of instant gratification tend to do.

I mean, all of these apps that we use on a regular basis to order food, listen to music, and even find a mate, require that we “opt in,” and whether we have a conscious understanding or what that truly means or not, doing so has allowed for everything from the contents of your inbox and contact list to control of your phones camera and microphone to be manipulated by the application.

A society once so afraid of first the possibility and later the reality of NSA spying has seemingly allowed it’s guard down to the point that most Americans are running around with apps on their phones that are designed by foreign companies, many of whom work under governments which can legally force the app maker to turn over the personal information of their user base.

Americans aren’t walking around with an attorney on their shoulders to help guide then through the ever-expanding app stores and the growing market of new “smart speaker” or “smart home” devices, so here are four important points to consider when choosing what apps or devices are right for you:

1.Assume your “Smart Speaker” is always listening.

According to a report published by Consumer Watchdog, patents filed by makers of the leading smart speaker devices reveal the devices’ potential use as surveillance equipment for massive information collection that can be leveraged for the purpose of intrusive digital advertising. The study also found that although the digital assistants are supposed to react only when they hear a so-called “wakeword,” the devices can be ‘awake’ even when users think they aren’t listening.

2. Windows 10 is spying on you.

Microsoft’s popular operating system’s Privacy Statement contains some pretty scary language regarding the scope of its data collection and the rationale behind its potential dissemination. If you had the patience to first read though the 12,000-word service agreement, you will find that the Privacy Statement clearly says, ‘we will access, disclose and preserve personal data, including your content (such as the content of your emails, other private communications or files in private folders), when we have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary,’

It goes on the explain that the information can be used to ensure compliance with the law, or to prevent the loss of life or serious physical injury to Microsoft customers, among other things, but the arbitrary nature of what can be considered Microsoft’s interpretation of what “Good Faith” is should be enough to concern any “woke” consumer.

The Rest…HERE

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