Wired Wednesday: The Many Ways You’re Being Watched

When it comes to technology, how to take back at least some control of your privacy

Chances are, you are keenly aware we are in a surveillance world today. We are being watched, not only in public via security systems for communities, individuals, and businesses, but just about everything we do online anymore leaves a footprint that can be traced.

What started as better ways to advertise has majorly shifted into pretty much all industries, says Will Bushee, a local tech expert and author of “Wired for Coding”.

Bushee reminds us of the ways we’re being tracked:

  • The internet. Assume EVERY link you click on will be used by someone to profile you
  • Every social media platform, search engine, news organizations, email
  • Every video game you play – online or not
  • GPS in lots of devices; many use wifi for location information as well
  • Google Beacons in shops to help tell Google when people are there
  • Insurance company installing a ‘safe driver’ monitoring device
  • Every purchase you make
  • Every ‘loyalty’ card you use
  • Free WIFI, connecting you back to the shop’s website when you connect
  • Licence plate readers – all major toll roads use them today; bounty hunters too
  • All modern vehicles have built-in data-loggers
  • Facial recognization – live cameras and photos
  • Home automation like Nest and Google Home; this data is being used by Google
  • “Smart” appliances, like TVs. These can even be hacked under specific circumstances
  • Power consumption, monitors the signature of EVERY device you have plugged into your house (https://sense.com/product.html)

So, what can be done?

  • Select what search engine you use (I would recommend duckduckgo.com)
  • Don’t fill out surveys or use loyalty cards
  • Disable tracking features on your phone
  • Periodically wipe all of your computer’s cookies
  • Refuse devices by your insurance company, etc.
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