Monday, February 9, 2015

Are We Being Watched And Listened To?

I most recently met a colleague who had taped over the camera on her laptop.  She was concerned that the device could be accessed without her knowledge and she could be watched without knowing it.  Her concern may be a valid one; Cameras have become a way of life, whether used for traffic enforcement, shoplifting, security.  And we seem to be ok with it.

The latest concern is that the next generation of smart TVs from Samsung may also be listening to us as well.  With a capability to use verbal commands to instruct the television set what functions to initiate, comes some interesting news.  But buried deep in the privacy policy for their set is a notice that the set will also share all communication that it hears.  Surprising, it shouldn't be.  Business Insider also tells us that "the Siri dictation feature is sent to servers that reside in the US and that Apple, its related companies and agents have access to the contents of what is dictated."

Privacy may simply be a thing of the past.  As more and more devices connect to the internet, our actions and our words get more easily captured.  What others decide to do with it, whether to use for safety and security, advertising, or to uncover private and personal information remains to be seen.  But what should not be a surprise is that someone is watching and listening to us.  And so we become more responsible for our actions.