Privacy, as we knew it, is dead

The mobile phone has been rightly credited with invading our lives and changing how we work and play. This tiny device has taken up so many roles in our lives, that it is almost unimaginable.

One of the things that that mobile is presently doing is killing the concept of privacy. Of course, mobile is not doing it alone. For example, a huge chunk of this is done in concert with an internet connection. There, now you know the evil twins!

Privacy

Back in the day, I could scribble a secret message on a piece of paper, seal it and send to a friend, who after reading it, burns it, and that’s the end of the matter.

Today, even a simple SMS sent to anyone is not 100% private. A copy of that message is stored and can be retrieved should the law demand it. Or should some evil twisted fella who happens to work in the right department of your network operator decide to play around.

No email is 100% private. Once sent, it can be retrieved or intercepted.

On the mobile scene, we are in the age of the cloud. Cloud technology started years ago with the concept of synchronising contacts and calendars. Of course, this means that details of all your contacts and your schedule are stored on someone’s servers and can be hacked or intercepted by a nutcase.

Now, it is the norm to synchronise our notes, emails, contacts, schedules, pictures, videos. We also publish tons of personal info daily on social networks. A service like Foursquare is based on you actually letting people know where you are. Many months back, an acquaintance then sent me a BBM message but had inadvertently enabled the location feature. Presto, in a moment, I had her exact home address. At that time, we hadn’t met yet, and we had no such intentions. See how things can easilly go wrong?

With Google Now, our phones can track where we live and where we go daily to create a pattern with which to give us directions and daily tips. Do you get the picture? You shall not escape – unless you refuse to use all these new technologies. Google Now and Siri (and others like both of them) are the beginning of artificial intelligence – and its all happening on mobile.

What you like, what you buy, where you go, what you do and who you know will all no longer be private. Big Brother knows.

There are simple measures you can take to attempt to stay safe from prying eyes, but honestly, I am not sure how much good they will do in the greater picture in terms of privacy.

How will it all play out? Who knows? We might some day have to deal with one of those Armageddon-style sci-fi story lines. Whatever. In the meantime, I am off to enjoy as many of these new technologies as I can. What the… anyway!

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Mister Mobility

I started blogging about mobile in 2004 as a fun way to share my passion for gadgets and mobile services. My other interests include digital media, speaking and teaching, photography, travelling, and dancing.

0 thoughts on “Privacy, as we knew it, is dead

  • July 5, 2012 at 9:42 am
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    it wont be long before your phone reminds you how much you hate having coffee in the morning. some of what you mentioned are good, as some are bad, maybe its time the users had more control

  • July 5, 2012 at 10:34 am
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    I usually deactivate any location-based app/option. I see no reason why the ever present Goggle should be able to predict my daily pattern, why a tweet should be geotagged, why the latitude n longtitude of my location should on my bbm profile. Its just absurd. I miss those days of communicating with my great grand dad via fire and blanket.

    Sure Google would have found a way to intercept that though

  • July 5, 2012 at 12:42 pm
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    I’m not even sure if there’s a satellite cam watching me wherever I’m bathing. They just want every damn data of you.

  • July 5, 2012 at 2:15 pm
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    I know we’re already approaching the Dooms Day. But…

    What’s the use saying our information is secure when our day-to-day activities is being copied somewhere or can be intercepted during transist?

    I don’t even know if I am being watched by one spacetower floating over my head in outerspace.

  • July 5, 2012 at 8:29 pm
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    It may not be the case in Nigeria, but you can be tracked by your mobile phone signal, you don’t need mobile data to lose your privacy. Google Now is not for me thanks, it offers nothing that I want. Unless things have changed, these location-based apps tend to suck your battery dry and next to synching, it’s one of the first things I turn off on my device. Sometimes it can find me (but not my exact location), sometimes I’m streets away. And I like it like that.

    Nigeria is still a cash based society. I would love to know how “Big Brother” will know exactly what you’re doing in Nigeria if there’s no NEPA to power it 😀 They will only be able to do so much via your mobile network (if there are no outages). Unless people are involved in a lot of electronic transactions, the all seeing eye of “Big Brother” can only see so far.

  • July 6, 2012 at 11:22 am
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    Well the idea seems cool and feaking out at the same time.

    Cool b’cos it makes it easier to access data and get info without stress but freaking out coz u dont know who might get their hands on that data.
    About the dooms day thing, why do you think they make it mandatory to get ur finger prints for jamb, opera tells u it needs some”random data” to increase ur browsin security? Am even afraid of touch screen phones coz only,God knows if it does (or doesnt) send your data somewhere else! The good and bad sides of technology.

    Only God can helps us Oh!

  • July 6, 2012 at 2:03 pm
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    I don’t think there is much to be scared of here for now. Other than for marketing purposes, who out there will want to devote so much resource to harming (financially and otherwise) our minute unit of smartphone users whose daily activities and records are largely manually processed? I may be wrong though.

  • July 9, 2012 at 10:33 am
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    “You can hide but we will always find you, the System knows all… [you tell it].”
    1. Learn as much as you can about the System.
    2. Have a “public face[s]” everyone knows.
    3. Have a “private face” nobody knows except the “Finders”.
    4. Have a “face” that only you know.
    5. Use the system against itself.
    Don’t be a pawn, promote yourself, learn the System.
    No System will ever be omniscience.

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