The dark side of technology

May 11, 2016

Isn't it nice how you can quickly discredit a liar these days by simply 'Googling' something they said? Information is now very easy to access, compared to a few decades ago when you had to go to a library to do some research. "Ok, Google ..." and you have what you need. However, there is always a dark side, the other side of the coin, and this improvement in technology suffers from it.

The privacy issue

On the other hand, we're quickly losing our privacy, every click you make on the internet, every piece of information you store online is sold to marketers. It doesn't matter how much you trust that company, whether it's Facebook, Google or Twitter; your information is quickly auctioned to marketers around the world.

Think about it, have you ever researched something on Google or visited a certain website, and for a month or so you were hounded by ads about that particular subject. I was once researching about the Forex market: got into Wikipedia, of course, as well as a few other websites. For the next few weeks, I couldn't watch a YouTube video before being shown an ad about the Forex market from various brokers. This means my research was quickly auctioned and a few brokers paid to have their ad targeted at me!

This goes farther to location data, which is collected from your smartphone over time, and with the right algorithm, they can determine your movements and predict where you will be at a specific time. Now imagine some crook somehow gets this information: they know what you like to eat because you fed the data into your S Health app, they know where you go on Friday night and even your friends. Do you now see how this can be a little frightening?

Is it possible to prevent this?

Needless to say, you can't stop this from happening, after all, you are watching YouTube videos, sending emails and searching the web for free. Maybe that's the price you pay. The worry, however, is that this could be taken farther and be used by less-than-ethical parties, or even the authorities. For example, if I research on how to make a bomb today, and a week from now there is an explosion in my city, I would probably be questioned. Believe me, this has happened before, although not to me.

I reiterate, though, that there's nothing to do about it. You will still need to do research on Google and send emails. In fact, the only safe place is the dark web, where you will get a chance to rub shoulders with other security-conscious individuals, albeit for different reasons.

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