Our phones, fitbits, home security systems and voice-assisted speakers are gathering data about us and being used against us .
While law enforcement might have good intentions by using this data, who is to say that their interpretation of it is foolproof? Could one be framed by misuse of data interpretation? Are we better of not using these devices? I would argue that it’s unethical for any company or government to spy on us through these devices and the data should not be admissible in court. With the “internet of things” on the horizon where simple, everyday devices without ample data security are all around us (whether an individual voluntarily uses them or not), no one is safe from intrusion. Imagine having a cloud of data points around you at all times. Your movements, words and actions are accessible, tracked and even recorded at all times. Do you really want to live in a world like that where privacy is non-existent?
Comerica Park baseball field in Detroit, MI is featuring a new way for sports fans to get through the lines quicker: fingerprint scanning. You can order a hot dog and a beer without carrying your wallet! Just register your biometric data and you are now in the system. They are promising the ability to use your fingerprint in other venues…
The company contracted out for the biometric data scanning is called Clear. Their biggest contract is with the Transportation Security Administration. This technology has been installed at airports, including Detroit Metro Airport. The company also specializes in eye scanning equipment.
What are the implications of mass use of biometric data? Sure the convenience is attractive, but can the technology be misused? Once you register your fingerprint and eye scan, you are in the system. The NSA and other government organizations will be able to run searches for individuals through this database. The more the system is in use, the more they can keep track of you and monitor what you are buying, who you are visiting and what events you attend. This data can be sold to advertising firms. They know you go to Jazz concerts and you love hockey. They also know that you like to buy expensive mixed drinks and go a chiropractor. Once all these pieces of information are indexed, they have a profile on you. Are you likely to commit a crime, get divorced, buy a new home, become delinquent with credit cards or need car repairs? They can tweak their ads, affect how much you pay for insurance and raise/lower your interest rates. Your value as a consumer or a citizen, not a human being will become a score. There will be no where to run or hide. Are you more likely to cheat on your taxes? The IRS will know. If you are trying to get custody of your children, the court system will access your data to find out if you can pay more and whether or not you are worthy enough to take care of your children. Imagine what it might be like to be on parole. They will be watching every location you visit, everything you buy etc.
Now imagine the implications of having a chip implanted in your hand. Threesquare Market, a technology company that makes devices for break rooms and small markets is in the process of implanting microchips in their employee’s hands. The employees will be able to enter secured areas, pay for food and access computers with the chips. Once this system is studied and the bugs worked out, how long before large companies like GE, IBM and Apple require this of their employees? How long before prisoners, government employees and school children be required to have them? Will newborn babies be implanted for their security? Once the ball is rolling, will it even be possible to live life without a chip implanted? Will the chip allow for universal access or we have multiple chips?
The chips use RFID technology. Your every movement can be tracked. Imagine if your employer had access to this kind of information. The implications of bio-metric data and implanted chips are incredible. Without a push-back from the public, a future where privacy is a myth is inevitable.