'The rise of the digital era has brought with it many wondrous changes to our daily lives, not least of which the fact that we now carry digital assistants with us everywhere we go in the form of smartphones, tablets, and laptop computers. The rapid proliferation of everyday digital devices and the rise of new smart devices, which are more capable than ever before, carries with it worrying connotations about surveillance just as equally as it does positive ones of progress.
Will our smart devices become a massive surveillance network? You need not look to the future with dystopian fears when it comes to your smart devices – governments are already using them to spy on you today.
Our smart devices track our every move
It’s indisputable that contemporary smart devices are often built with advanced surveillance capabilities that keep track of you wherever you go; after all, if your smart device isn’t aware of where you (and it) are, it can’t offer you a myriad of useful services we’ve all come to rely upon, likely timely weather updates in our nearby area or directions to a local pub. Given that surveillance capabilities are built into these devices from the get-go, it’s thus only a matter of time that our smart devices come together to create a surveillance grid that tracks our every move and digital inquiry.
Around the world today, we can already isolate a number of worrying examples of massive surveillance networks, and they’re not exclusive to totalitarian regimes in lesser developed portions of the world, either. In contemporary Britain there’s one surveillance camera for every 11 people, for instance, illustrating the rapid rise of the surveillance state in industrialized Western democracies. Elsewhere, security services and local law enforcement authorities are also starting to warm up to the idea of using more devices to surveil the general population.
The rise of police body cameras has soothed many concerns surrounding police brutality, for instance, but when facial recognition technology grows so compact and efficient to work through those devices they’ll soon be cataloging the face and identity of everyone who passes a police officer or checkpoint on the street, for instance. Smart devices in our homes, like the virtual smart home assistants Alexa and Google Home, will also begin to pry into our personal lives more and more.'
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