It bugs me that Google knows my birthday, and that if I have just been shopping online for dogfood, then every page I go to after that is advertising dogfood. Corporations are already tracking too much so that they can tailor their advertisements. Is nothing private?
Apparently not, because the UK government is the most notorious for collecting it's citizens data according to Ed Snowden. I know this is nothing new and it was all exposed back in 2013, but I found it very interesting watching the film. It reinforced how powerful it can be to have control over peoples communications and their lives. It reminded me of the Will Smith film 'Enemy of the State', but you really don't think that anybody would bother with collecting data on you, right?
Ed Snowden's evidence is that they collect all the data on everyone. Then if you step out of line by supporting ISIS or even just the occupy movement, they can search the records to find out everything about you.
Now, I am not a terrorist, but I can't guarantee that I wouldn't join a protest against the next war, fracking, or even local house-building. Would that make me a subversive? An enemy of the state? That would put my mother and my youngest daughter in the same category, along with a large section of the population. The important question is, does knowing the government is monitoring you alter your decision whether or not to join a protest march?
If that makes you feel uneasy, then you have to wonder about how MP's, union leaders, activists, military personnel and whistle-blowers must feel, and how their decisions may be affected.
Anyway, I don't like the idea of anyone, government or otherwise tuning in to our lives and spying whilst we are unaware. Facebook or blogs are fair game, where you have volunteered public information, but being able to hack into computers or even landlines to listen in or watch through cameras is worrying.
It made me think about how secure our devices at home may be. As a quick fix I dug out some old stickers from the kids art drawer and created my own 'lens cap' for my ipad and phone. The one above seemed most appropriate :-)
I suggested to my teenage son that he should do the same, but he said no (I wonder if he will change his mind after watching Citizenfour). If you are taking selfies all the time is could be mildly inconvenient I suppose. My youngest daughter on the other hand jumped at the chance to 'decorate' with stickers ;-)
I have also been trying to use cash instead of cards, partly for financial reasons, because you see how much you are spending and tend to spend less, but also because I have been shopping more locally and at markets and carboot sales. Even where cards are accepted I don't like the idea that credit cards allow the banks to take a little fee from every single transaction. I now have an added incentive to use cash, as each card transaction is providing data about my habits and personality.
I love that transitioning to a simpler and more sustainable life has so many other hidden benefits besides :-)