Are your apps spying on you? Apps and your privacy

Discussion in 'Technology' started by SaMaNtHa, Jan 7, 2017.

  1. SaMaNtHa

    SaMaNtHa Active Member

    BROADCAST DATE : JAN 6, 2017
    Are your apps spying on you? Apps and your privacy

    Are you obsessed with your phone? Well, knowing what companies can access about your private life may make your relationship status with your device #complicated.

    When you download popular apps, you could be giving companies permission to a lot more than you think: tracking your location, reading all your texts, accessing all your photos, even your microphone and camera. With help from data developers, we create a horoscope app to investigate how much we unknowingly reveal about ourselves.
    Stanthropical and sharn like this.
  2. TacoTimmy

    TacoTimmy not Belle Staff Member

    As someone involved in technology that knows about this sort of thing first-hand, this is something I think everyone needs to know and think about. It's just the tip of the iceberg even.

    Here's something creepy for you.. Did you know that some retail stores use facial recognition to track their customers in the store? If you pay by card the system will associate your identity with your face, check what you've looked at the longest in the store, and send you ads/offers based on that. Loyalty card agreements grant them explicit permission to do such things.

    There are companies that specialize in tracking your phone's physical location via wifi and bluetooth beacons. If you live in a large city and leave your wifi or bt on when leaving the house, you're being tracked and the data is being sold. You can opt out here: .. Your mobile provider likely does this also:

    Also, if you have an Android phone, Google does this by default. It "asks your permission" in a very deceptive way when you first use any location services. Once you've agreed the only way to opt out again is to factory reset and say no next time. Every time you use location, you have to say no. It will keep asking. Fun.. Also, this:

    Now you might be thinking "if I have nothing to hide then why do I care?" .. As Snowden put it: "Arguing that you don't care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don't care about free speech because you have nothing to say.".

    I will add to that by pointing out that the governments of the world are doing their best to link all these databases together and make them easily accessible to law enforcement. As an example, the UK is allowing everyone's web history to be viewable by just about any government employee. Would you be comfortable with the police knowing what you are doing all the time, absolutely everywhere you go? Is it okay for them to know who you're talking to, what you're saying, what kind of porn you like, and that you just bought a new toaster yesterday? What if an officer doesn't like your skin colour or hair style so digs into the database to find something to arrest you on? What if a family member commits a small crime and the police pressure you to help put them in jail by threatening you with charges on something they found in the database?

    I encourage everyone to read the fine print and opt out of this sort of tracking wherever and whenever they can. Your phone is the most spied upon device you own, so that's a good place to start..
    SaMaNtHa, Annabella and Stanthropical like this.
  3. Annabella

    Annabella Active Member

    Im sure everyone here are on 'lists' for alot of things we have no idea about. Answering some question without fully understanding it, i know we have all done it......
    One good thing we have on our side, with all this data collecting, is there will be sooooo much data to sift through it will be almost impossible to find anything. Having said that, a bad apple in the police dept is not a new thing and im sure if they put theirs mind to it they could do all the things Timmy has said.

    SaMaNtHa likes this.
  4. vitriolicv

    vitriolicv Socialist Administrator Staff Member

    I wouldn't bet on the volume of data being a problem. We have computers to do all that sifting. A human doesn't have to do as much work as you might think. They just have to be pretty good at phrasing their database queries.

    We're at a pretty bleak point in history for this sort of thing. There is so much legal precedent now for warrantless search and fishing expeditions by law enforcement, and restrictions on them have just decreased over time. Thank You Patriot Act. Also, trying cases is what attorneys generally get paid for. Winning prosecution cases is what gets prosecutors promoted. More laws that you can break means more things you can be tried for. Making arrests earns cops prestige and promotion. Arming police departments gives arms manufacturers a huge tax write-off, if not the opportunity to grab a big chunk of government cash. Private prison companies lobby for more prosecution, more criminalization of things, because that's how they get money -- through that and through the slave labor of their wards. Nobody who is in this complex of criminalization, enforcement, prosecution, and incarceration, swearing that having full access to all this information makes us all safer, actually cares about making us all safer or whether anything criminalized is actually harmful. It is all about power and money, and these people are HIGHLY motivated. To say that there is too much data to sift through is incredibly naive.

    We "yeah sure okay"-ed our way collectively into this situation out of fear. We didn't collectively learn our lesson from the Red Scare. We didn't collectively learn anything from 9/11.
  5. Huntress

    Huntress Active Member

    I learned from one of Timmy's links that The People's Operator is a real operator that exists in reality. So there's that, at least. Also, there's still a non-zero number of adorable kittens in the world. And unicorns! Might not be a non-zero number of those, but you can at least imagine them being ridden by naked ladies. All these things (TPO, kittens and unicorns with naked ladies on them) are worth smiling about for a combined period of at least four hours a day.

    Data amount is definitely not a problem though, as stated. Deep learning and quantum processing put together could probably have some quite shocking results.

    (And for the record, my phone phone has wifi turned off whenever I'm not at home, bluetooth and location are turned off whenever I'm not actively using them (which is somewhere between "never" and "almost never"). Also, I live in one of the most sparsely populated areas in Europe, so there's not all that much incentive to domesticate us up here. Yet.)

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