Categorized | OpEd

Identity Theft & Invasion of Privacy in the Age of Apple

The things that we’ve historically categorized as fantasy all too often become fact. Mary Shelley’s 1818 book, Frankenstein, predicted organ transplants while H.G. Wells’ 1914 novel, The World Set Free, foresaw the creation of the atomic bomb. In 1931, Aldous Huxley conjured a vision of a drug-dependent society that valued sexual freedom and drug use over monogamy and lucidity.

It is clear when we crack almost any vintage tome of science fiction that we are peering into a future that is our current reality. Perhaps none are more relevant today than George Orwell’s 1949 masterwork, 1984.

Like a latter-day Nostradamus, Orwell was a seer, one who foretold a time when a totalitarian state would implement a new language called Newspeak whose sole purpose would be to confuse and persuade its citizens. If that doesn’t sound familiar to the average American, one need only look so far as a CNN broadcast to get an earful of it.

The “proles” of Orwell’s novel, a group of blissfully ignorant, mindless workers are people we’ve all met at one point or another. Today, they are the denizens of methadone clinics and telemarketing firms.

All of this is terrifyingly on point enough, but Orwell’s greatest prediction is one that we are grappling with now more than ever. The telescreens used for entertainment in the book are also watching the characters’ every move.

These screens pick up both audio and video, rendering privacy impossible and scrutiny inevitable. If that doesn’t sound like an iPad or iPhone, I don’t know what does.

Americans are facing a total assault of their Fifth Amendment right to privacy and it’s costing us more than our sense of personal security. Identity theft hit a record high in 2017 and shows no signs of slowing down.

Recent data on ID crimes shows that thieves are gaining toeholds into poorly secured accounts to gain purchase to more important segments of our financial lives. A survey by Javelin Strategy found that 16.7 million people have been affected by identity theft last year alone.

Countless Americans have to deal with credit bureau disputes when erroneous information appears on their their credit reports. All too often, the problem owes to fraudulent activity by an identity thief.

We have become a target not just by your typical cybercriminal but by our own Internet service providers who collect our personal information and sell it off to third parties. Data collection brokers are also regularly mining our personal information for details that will assist companies in targeting consumers.

The information these companies collect about us is more than a little disturbing. Gender, religion and ethnicity are among the data that is shared with brands. Billions of details are sold annually that pertain to our online, offline and mobile activities. But it doesn’t stop there; retail giants have even found a way to determine if a consumer is pregnant.

Approximately 95 percent of Americans do some, if not all, of their shopping online. Four in 10 Americans manage their bank accounts online. We are all vulnerable to attack or invasion of privacy.

Although cyberattacks are punishable under federal law, nothing has been done to properly restrict data collection companies. Social media mainstay Facebook has even put out analytics apps like Onavo Project that they shrewdly market to users as an application for protecting one’s privacy. In reality, the app is being used by Onavo to collect user activity which is then shared with Facebook itself.

One would think that the line would be drawn at that, but even those in a supposedly ethical profession are getting in on the action. Doctors have begun mining data on their patients.

Their goal is said to be benevolent in nature with providers claiming that they want to use the data to predict health problems, but given the shoddy relationship many health care facilities have with pharmaceutical reps, it’s not hard to imagine that this data will be used by shills to earn commissions while charging our insurance companies obscene rates for new medications.

All of these Fifth Amendment violations are somehow allowed to occur without penalty and the problem appears to be growing. All across the Internet, morally bankrupt bloggers have posted articles glorifying data mining as the competitive edge that companies need to make long-term growth.

With threats coming at us from all angles, now is the time for the people to arm themselves with the proper defense against the online assault. VPNs (Virtual private networks) are a privacy tool that can keep users’ online activity secure and anonymous.

By using one of the fastest and most secure VPN providers on the market (ie, one that does not log your IP address), users can hide their location, unblock censored content and maintain total privacy. No longer will anyone be able to see who you’re emailing, what’s in your bank account or what you’re looking at.

If that doesn’t sound good then, maybe, you’re a prole.

About Samuel Bocetta

Sam Bocetta is a retired engineer who worked for over 35 years as a defense contractor for the U.S. Navy, specializing in electronic warfare and advanced computer systems. He teaches in Ottawa, Canada as a part time engineering professor and is the ASEAN affairs correspondent for Gun News Daily.

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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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