Innocent bystanders: selling our freedom for cheap thrills

2년 전

It was funny, at first.

Well, no. It wasn't. Not really, but we laughed anyway, remember? The bewildered sort of laugh that said to the other person – well, this is mad, isn't it? - and they would laugh back, to signify – yes, it sure is.
Was is a mistake we laughed? I don't know, very probably. We didn't take things seriously.

We still don't.

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I remember hearing that some brand of televisions – Sony, I believe, although they're not, by far, the only ones – were recording what went on in your house. You know, sort of like your own private little movie. And you're the star! Brilliant or what?
And I remember thinking 'well, they're surely not the only ones...'. And there you have my confession, I was part of it all. I did not, for one second, think of a way to stop the madness. You could say, I contributed to it.
Chances are, you did too.

I'm afraid our laughter condemned us, my friend.

Only a couple of weeks ago, I was walking home with some friends and somehow the conversation turned to appliances listening in. And one of these friends starts telling us how he was talking to his girlfriend about something. Not googling it, never looked for it online, just taking. He might've just mentioned it to her, in passing. And the next thing he knows, he's seeing ads for it on Facebook.
You're smiling now, 'cause this had probably happened to you, too. Yes, it's happened to most of us.
And we all smile.
We nodded and then shook our heads – mad! – at him, but that was about it. Then, another friend started talking about an article he'd read on surveillance and about how your phones are intruding on your privacy. And we all agreed, because we'd all read some similar article.
Yet, we do nothing. We talk about it, we observe it, but that's about it.

It's a running joke with one of my friends, that our online conversations are probably monitored and we often laugh that the FBI people are probably horrified by the jokes we make. We sometimes even pretend to address them and think it's funny. It's not funny, it's insane.
But there's nothing we can do, or at least, we feel this way – helpless, incapable.
We try to pass it off as funny because it scares us half to death. I often find my phone on the table, with Google turned on, looking like this:
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The first time, I thought it was a coincidence. An accident, maybe I pressed it by mistake and it turned on the Google voice thingy. But by the third time this happened, it was a bit hard to believe that it was an accident.

Just last night, my mom, @ladyrebecca, told me 'Remember how we were talking about band shirts, just a bit earlier?'
She was getting ads for rock band shirts on her phone. It was a damned coincidence, don't ya think?

And we allow it to happen.

This is not a post to tell you what bastards the people at the top are for doing this, for spying on us. Nope. We already know that, I expect most of you are aware that our phones and our computers and our TVs and our tablets...they're all just gathering information on us.
AND WE LET THEM!

That's what this is about, not what they do, but what we do. Or rather, what we don't do. We sit and laugh and talk about it and let it all happen, let them invade our homes and private thoughts and wishes.
I've always been a strong believer that we shouldn't blame them. Sure, they're evil and wrong and bastards, all of them. But we allow them to do this, we sell our freedom for cheap thrills.

We deserve it.

We are to blame.
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Anonymity sells....but who's buying?

This trail of thought coincided with another issue that was weighing on my mind. See, I'm aware that I'm being spied on, I know Facebook is an evil, blood-sucking machine that's gathering everything it can on us and very probably knows us better than our best friends do.

Same goes for Google. And for many others, but these are the two outlets that I regularly use. And I'm ashamed to say I've taken to regularly posting on Facebook. Stupid things, mostly.
Memes. Often music. I sometimes feel the need to share the songs that are dear to my heart with other people.
And when I get these urges, the following conversation goes on in my head:

'Why do you need to post this?'

'I want to share it with others.'

'Yeah, but don't you know Facebook stores this stuff about you? You're actually, willingly feeding the beast.'

'Yeah...but Facebook is collecting information about me already, without my help, I mean there's nothing I can do about that and posting this one song will hardly make a difference, won't it?'

But that's not an excuse. Seems like an excuse, but it's not.
They're listening to me anyway, so I might as well speak.


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Well no, if you do that, you're just aiding and abetting. Sure, the grand surveillance scheme is very well in place, very powerful and you – little, insignificant you – probably wouldn't be able to stop it.
But it's not just you, or in this case, me, thinking like this. It's millions. Maybe even billions. And that's a bit of a different scenario.

But we let this happen and we do it for trivial things, for nothings, in the long run. Can I be honest?

I like it. We all do, we like seeing that little notification that goes 'X has liked your photo', 'Z reacted to your link' etc. We like that. There's a simple logic behind why people post – it makes us feel like we're somebodies, it makes us feel like we have friends who admire us, like we're the center of attention. Very briefly.
Admit it, your images are way cuter and more unique than Amy's. The links you share – some about how the system is screwing us over – mark you out as a smart individual. The people who know you (because the term 'friends' is a bit loose, when it comes to social media) will see that you're clever and interesting and that all sorts of exciting ideas go through your head.
Social media makes you feel wanted. Makes you feel loved.
So, you sign over your freedom and privacy, in exchange for a fleeting sense of stardom.

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And yes, they are spying on us. And no, things are probably not going to change if you don't share that selfie or share a link to the latest movie you've enjoyed.
But that's not a reason. That's not logical.
The excuse that 'they're spying on us, anyway' is not an excuse.

Thank you for reading,

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Yet, we do nothing. We talk about it, we observe it, but that's about it.

Really? I chose to ditch smart(stupid) phones. A tracking device that the prisoner pays for. How bizarre.
FB went years ago, and twatter.

No smart devices, no gps, no smart phone, and vpn on ....(oops not now shiiiiiit ! lol)

I'm pretty sure there are lots of us, tbh...and growing numbers everyday.

When fear exceeds lethargy, people change.

good post.

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I am in your boat, I started my privacy journey over a year ago. There is still plenty out there about me, but I am slowly reducing my footprint and I am not making any new tracks.

And a lot of people who laughed at my tin foil hat are now asking if I can get them one too ....

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Sadly, it's a hard journey, or at least, it seems so for most people.

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Why is it hard? - if people perceive this as hard, their decadence deserves a reality check.
Hard is a relative term. Losing your leg and walking is hard

Leaving your phone alone, rather than attaching it to your pocket via a silicon umbilical cord - is not hard.

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I agree, but if you look at the large majority of people, you see quite a different reality than the one you're suggesting. Just today I was looking out the window and watching this girl walk around, without looking, like a robot, because her eyes were glued to her little screen.
I don't mean it's hard as in losing a leg. But it is hard in terms of peer pressure. Events are now advertised on social media, your friends or the new people you meet are on social media. Pretty much everything is. Or so they make it seem.
Logically, no, of course it's not hard. But realistically, looking at the way people are acting now, then I'd say it is.

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I think its generational too .... if you grew up in a time without smart phones, its easier to detach because you can relate and take comfort in the things that you used to do when they didn't exist.

Kids these days (OMG I AM MY PARENTS) grew up with this technological window into the lives of their friends from day one. They don't know what it is like to ride your bike over to a friends house, knock on the door and ask their parents where they are right now so you can meet up. They just open Instagram and see where the GPS pin says they are .....

We need to teach the kids today why privacy is important, they have a chance to retain it before they make any of the mistakes we did.

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That's very true - most of my friends do that. To be honest, I'm always a bit scared when I see them check those little maps. Wouldn't want my location to be pinned on a map for everyone to see.

We need to teach the kids today why privacy is important

But that's the problem - nobody is teaching them that.

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I posted this a couple of weeks ago on my feed ... I think it is applicable here .... I (we) cant give up, we have to keep trying.

I get to raise a generation that is infinitely better off than me, yet is much closer to certain doom.
I have to relish in the fact that everything I pass onto the next generation is infinitely worse than it was when I received it.
My only hope is that I can bestow upon them some knowledge that will help guide them from this fate and break this generational cycle ….

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(OMG I AM MY PARENTS)

😂😂, thankfully I becoming more like my dad every day!
He was the 'biggest' man I ever met. (and I am saying that as objectively as I can, being his son)

He was the stubborn one, the one who followed nobody. He has is own mind.
(now I know where I get it! lol)

If people do understand what privacy is, and don't feel the importance of it - they are just the sheep.
There is nothing you can do, because they just want a non confrontational life, and peaceful death.
It's always been this way.

All changes have come from 5 -10% of society- like the American revolution, for example.

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But it is hard in terms of peer pressure.

As a sheep, I can empathize. I was one once.

I have never been a sheep as an adult , so don't understand the feeling of peer pressure as an adult

These people who will go along with any change - I find it hard to believe they will affect change.

That's your job! (hard luck)

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Yes, but a lot of today's adults are sheep. This is not something that mainly happens to children. On the contrary, the system has to fight to make children sheep, because they're not born that way. It takes many years of hard work in schools and high schools to get them to be sheep.
As for teenagers, they're just baby sheep. But a huge problem are the adults.

That's your job! (hard luck)

That's one of the grimmest things I've heard, albeit true ;/

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I agree- but it's not new- the majority of adults have always been sheep.(possibly worse now, a little).

That's one of the grimmest things I've heard, albeit true ;/

😂😂

🚀 This is a stellar post! 🚀

I will be featuring it in my weekly #technology curation post for the @minnowsupport project and the Creators' Guild! The @creatorsguild is a new group of Steem bloggers and content creators looking to improve the overall quality of the niche.


If you wish not to be featured in the curation post this Saturday, please let me know. Keep up the hard work, and I hope to see you at the Creators' Guild!

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Wow thank you, I really appreciate it! :)

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Epic! Keep up the hard work.

Once again you are right on the spot.
It's humankind inane need for socializing which is at the heart of the problem.
We are social beasts and we must all be wary of the dangers of giving in completely to our human nature.

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This need, I'm afraid, will be at the root of our destruction.

I don't think I am being listened to or read by an actual person when I use FB or Twitter or the phone. That kind of surveillance is a physical impossibility. Rather it is data collection algorithms that mine what we post/say and then feed that info (for money!) to advertisers, data companies etc. I'm with @lucylin and @thinkingishard in trying to reduce my online footprint. For instance, I now use duckduckgo.com instead of Google. It won't track your searches and allows you to install an app in your browser to prevent tracking of the sites you visit.

It can be very informative to find out what FB has on you. Head to Settings and click on 'Download a copy of your data'. You may be surprised at what is listed when the download is complete!

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No, I don't think there's an actual person out there watching or listening to you, but it's just as intrusive if a machine does it, so...

Thank you! I hadn't heard of duckduckgo.com, but I will give it atry. I've been looking for alternatives to Google and I've tried Bing, but I didn't really like it. Which, I guess, just goes to show what a big hold these big machines have on you.

First of all, I have had a similar experience with me talking about something and then it appears as an ad. Yep, we all have agreed on sharing our data. We need to blame ourselves. Noone has time to read about their terms and data policy. We simply click "I agree".

But it's not just you, or in this case, me, thinking like this. It's millions. Maybe even billions.

Totaly agree with you. We are billions, but we think that is only us. We think that is too "crazy" to think about someone spying on us. But in fact, we are the product.

Excellent work on your post. God Bless.

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First of all, I have had a similar experience

That's the point. We all have. The thing is that even if you do read the terms and conditions, you kinda have to agree. If you want the many benefits that Google or Facebook or whoever provides.
And most of us want the benefits.
even if you had read, in the beginning "we're gonna collect data on you" (very polished, of course), chances are you would have agreed. I recently renewed my passport. The lady took my picture, scanned my ID and then asked me to give my fingerprint. Now, I know this is pretty common abroad, but here, it's a relatively new thing. I was shocked, it's something I've always hated, the idea that the state now has my fingerprints.
But I put my finger down, in the end. I wanted the passport.

Thank you :)

I can feel your intensity on this subject, you clearly care passionately about privacy. It is hard to maintain privacy these days.

It seems like you would have no smart phone, avoid computers with microphones /cameras in them, and some other things. That feels like a big switch, but maybe it wouldn't be so bad. As long as people keep walking around with GPS devices on their person, there will be no privacy.

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The problem is it is a big switch, one that most of us (myself included, I'm ashamed to admit) aren't brave enough to take. We live in this society that feeds on all this technology, it seems strange to break from it, although it would most probably be for the best.

Curated for #informationwar (by @truthforce)
Relevance: We Are All Being Surveiled
Our Purpose

Yes its not an execuse we are being spied so far we cant do without watching tv,post on facebook,ask directions or question on google,tweet and many more