The Internet’s Power As Ubiquitous Surveillance

The Internet’s Power As Ubiquitous SurveillanceWhether we know it or know, whether we like it or not, and whether we admit it or not, we have now arrived at a time when the Internet is so ubiquitous that it has achieved the status of being a Silent Stalker — a perfectly detailed surveillance tool.

‘Ubiquitous surveillance’

Google and Facebook now tracks us. Apple tracks our iGadgets. And now, even what we do offline is linked with the known online data about us. Everything we do now involves the use of computers. All our information are being saved, stored, analyzed and correlated with our spending habits, lifestyle, personalities, and health.

Yes, we are now being subjected to ubiquitous surveillance. All of us are being monitored by the watchful eye of the Internet. We can take a few measures to prevent or just limit this, we can cover up our tracks by deleting cookies, or we can use bogus names on social networks and emails. But being followed is simply not something we can opt out of. We have no choice regarding this matter.

‘Freedom and privacy’

Online, privacy is scarce. One wrong click and your data is stored forever in the most hidden corners of the Web. And today, the government and business companies are working together to maintain the scarcity of online privacy because both of them benefit from it.

So, we are doomed. No more private conversations — email, text, private messages on social networking sites — forget it; it’s not private anymore. This is a world where everything you do on your computer or cellphone is being saved, used, stored, and passed around with out your consent. This is a world where all of us are held under ubiquitous surveillance without our knowledge. And to begin with, we were awestruck with this treasure trove of knowledge that we once worshiped.  Truly, we are paying a big price for the advancement of technology — a price that involves our freedom and privacy.

Anybody else here misses old-school snail mail and post-it messages?


Image: Psy Blog

How Smartphones Give Us Superpowers

Gone are the days when letters and phone calls are used as the main channel of communication. Nowadays, texts are the staple of modern conversation and mobile Internet searches are the main source of knowledge. It would seem that smartphones have turned us into superhumans.

According to a global survey by Qualcomm and Time, about 68% of the population keep their phones at their bedside when they sleep. We can see that people already depend so much on their phones that about 75% of Americans feel the need to be “constantly connected” through mobile internet. This could lead to some sense of isolation and loneliness; sort of like a phantom limb syndrome. Some people feel empty without a smartphone in hand.

Irregardless of these negative effects, the use of mobile technology seem to go constantly up. In the United States, majority of phone owners use smartphones. These phones are so powerful that they have become indispensible for its owners. They have become ubiquitous in all businesses and even in our personal lives.

There are so many ways that these mobile gadgets could potentially grant us superpowers. One of these was outlined by Google recently. It is similar to a digital X-ray which gives its user a “Terminator” vision. For example, a person wearing Google’s state-of-the-art glasses may be able to see the deals being offered by a restaurant as he passes by. Some may have prompts to opening or closing doors, or would allow one to pay for a meal with one tap on the phone.

In rural parts of Africa, some schools never had textbooks but with the help of Paul Kim, chief technology officer at Stanford University, these schools are now using smartphones as source of information. In addition to that, researchers like George Whitesides at Harvard University are attempting to use phones as a medium of medical care to remote places in the world where medical personnel are hard to reach. Thus, doctors are now granted the superhuman ability to see patients from far, far away.

Of course, as Paul Kim said, all these new innovations for smartphones won’t always work right away. But sooner or later, smartphones will become an integral part of all aspects of our lives, especially when they become more affordable.

How about you — how indispensible is your smartphone for you? Feel free to share your thoughts on this topic!

Image: Evo Canada News