Don’t let this headline fool you – I’m very much a technology user. I have an iPhone, a MacBook, an iPad and I use all of them on a daily basis. But, my technology-filled life scares me and I really do believe that it should scare you too.
Earlier in the week I was reading an article about a brand new piece of technology. It is a wrist accessory just like a watch or bangle but it is almost creepy. It monitors your heartbeat and uses your unique pattern to code certain things. It uses it to unlock your car door, pay for things from your bank account, access buildings or turn off a home alarm system. It effectively replaces the need for pin numbers, passwords, bankcards and keys.
Wahoo – that sounds awesome! And when I first read about it, I couldn’t wait to learn more. But then I began to think about what that product really means.
It is incredible technology, there is no doubt about that. The fact that we can now connect our heart beat and use it to do so many things is amazing but the thing is that if this device comes to fruition, the company that manufactures it knows so many intimate things about you.
When we were born, as we walked down the street and smiled at passers by, we didn’t know a thing about them and unless you were a close friend or family, no one really did. We didn’t know their bank balance, we didn’t know the things that interested them, we didn’t know what they had read in the news today, we didn’t know their political opinions, we didn’t know their debt history, we didn’t know how much exercise they do or how much they eat.
But now, every time we buy a new device, download a new app or sign up to something new, we give a piece of our private selves away. Even though we don’t advertise the information as available, there is someone out there who knows those pieces of information about us. And what to me is scarier, is that more devices are becoming more multipurpose so the parent companies of these devices know more and more about us…
Our own privacy is something we’ve been concerned with for years. It is one of the first things we teach our children! You know, don’t tell anyone where you live, don’t tell strangers your name, don’t tell people your information over the phone. It is all pretty standard. We have pin numbers, signatures, personal identification systems and everything else to protect ourselves so do we even realise that with the click of a button or a few taps on our screen we’re giving everything away we’ve always been told not to?
The company that owns the app we use to track our exercise or calories now knows exactly what we eat and how much exercise we do – how long is it before health insurance companies start using this when they quote our premium?
Our GPS or maps app tracks how far we drive and at what speed – when will car insurers do the same?
The third party apps or websites we use to look after transactions and our money know what our spending habits are – when will they start selling this to other organisations to help advertise better straight into their target markets?
A lot of these things are already happening – Facebook is an expert at it. But is it safe to let it happen and remain blissfully unaware that we’re carelessly giving away all of the information we’ve been taught to protect?
I’m not saying we’re all blind to what is happening and I’m not saying it is a bad thing. All I’m saying is that it scares me… Especially because as soon as I’ve finished writing this I’m going to go pick up my iPad and use something that is right in the middle of all of this.
Does the information we give away to other companies through our use of technology scare you? We know the government has access to it already, but are you worried about how the corporate organisations may use it?