Friday, 22 April 2011

the secret-sharer or johnny apple-seed

The developing news that certain telecommunications giants have implanted a simple and vulnerable routine in their mobile devices that records a user's whereabouts, tagged like some nomadic animal for naturalists to study and present with targeted advertisements, struck me at first as significant and dishonest but maybe also a bit naïve.

After all, besides Big Brother and the Snitch Mob and warrantless wiretaps, internet companies kowtowing to repressive regimes, phone companies hoarding one's foot-print, as well as what's freely given out, indelibly over social network sites, but it is nonetheless eye-opening. The technology and information is there in the aether, and there are no unambiguous laws for the deportment of such data, only ethics and the tolerance of people to have their private lives exploited for marketing-purposes or worse.  This are very tenuous measures of protection, especially if users do not understand what kind of traces they leave behind and how it is collected.  Vice-squads may be a thing of the past since many of us are carrying around our own chastity belts that keep no secrets. Electronic privacy is no longer confined to the internet, though where one goes in subspace can be incriminating too, and not something intended for public display.