There’s this amazing device sold on Amazon: a two-pack outdoor waterproof surveillance camera, for just $19.50 (with free shipping is you use Prime). Menacing looking. But it has one problem.
Its a deliberate fake –supposedly for people who want to pretend their property is under surveillance.
Don’t you love it? We love to be watched so much we will pay money to pretend we are doing it ourselves. Couple that with the NSA-Snowden scandal, and this story about a Houston, Texas family’s baby monitor being hacked, and it’s enough to make some people long for the pre-digital age.
The Snowden scandal has new embarrassing ramifications, in the UK. The Guardian reporter’s partner was detained in Heathrow, and had his digital devices confiscated. But it got worse. The British government demanded the newspaper smash its hard drives in the basement, under supervision. The Guardian called it “a pointless piece of symbolism.”
Which makes you wonder if people’s social media habits are going to nose-dive when they realize that we do pay a price for a surveillant society. Do we really need this darn euphemism called the Cloud? For every good story we get about being able to track down the bad guys (the Boston bombers were, after all, tracked down within a few hours because of …cameras) you get a surveillance-off-the-wall story. Incredibly worse than the baby monitor hack.
Presence Orb, is a British company that conducts what it calls “presence analytics” happily reported that hundreds of thousands of pedestrians who walked past recycling bins in London had been ‘stalked’ by the bins, which recorded the unique ‘MAC address’ of their smartphones. A bit of a hue and cry, and the government demanded it stop doing this. It did. Surveillance of people bad, bad, bad.
Smashing hard drives, very, very, good.
There’s a good reason (I now discover) I carry a small, scruffy notebook. My useful stuff is in the Cloud. My important stuff is in my pocket.