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Are we all being watched?

11 January 2011, by — admin ()

Because of our incessant striving to automate as much as possible in our lives, elements of total control more and more often become their attributes. And as the technologies continue to evolve, the number of these elements grows as well.

 

Surveillance cameras

Modern video cameras are equipped with wireless modules for maximum mobility and instant transmission of captured footage to processing centers. Police authorities implement new automatic face recognition systems, systems capable of determining the number of passengers in a vehicle, alcohol level measurement systems and other automated solutions for face recognition and detection of non-standard behavior.
In European cities, video surveillance coverage is so extensive that every person is caught on 300 cameras every day.

RFID tags

RFID (Radio Frequency IDentification) is a method of automatic object identification that uses radio signals to read or write data to so-called transponders or RFID tags.

RFID tags were first used at military facilities and in the arsenals of secret services. Although initially intended for improved inventory management in stores (e.g Wal-Mart), they demonstrated great potential in human control and monitoring. They facilitate the task of tracking movement within controlled buildings and detecting behavioral deviations. Such technologies are successfully used in prisons, business centers and educational institutions.

Mobile phones

Due to the technical peculiarities of GSM phones, they are a convenient means of personal monitoring. A GSM carrier can always determine the location of a specific handset with acceptable accuracy and provide this information to the police or secret services, if necessary.

Besides, it’s hard to imagine a more acceptable place for a radio bug than a cell phone.

Starting from around 2006, when cell phones became sufficiently powerful and could finally access the Internet using broadband connections, the “spy” part of their functionality could be used by everyone, not just special services. A large number of monitoring, eavesdropping and spyware tools for mobile phones are now available on the market.

Computers

These days, virtually anyone can use computers for monitoring other people’s actions. A huge number of keyloggers and sniffers for intercepting Internet traffic (including wireless), viruses and other malware applications of this kind make the private life of PC users not so private at all.

On the global scale, we are all being watched by large Internet companies. For instance, search systems save all users’ queries to show better-targeted ads in their networks. However, it does not seem to be their only purpose.


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