Prompted by “Samsung Warns Customers To Think Twice About What They Say Near Smart TVs”: http://tech.slashdot.org/story/16/02/14/1742240/samsung-warns-customers-to-think-twice-about-what-they-say-near-smart-tvs
In a troubling new development in the domestic consumer surveillance debate, an investigation into Samsung Smart TVs has revealed that user voice commands are recorded, stored, and transmitted to a third party. The company even warns customers not to discuss personal or sensitive information within earshot of the device.
There are two invasion armies assaulting our veil of personal privacy.
One is obviously the public sector army trying to ban encryption and increasingly record more of our lives ‘to protect the children’.
No law opposing that army can satisfy yours truly, because there’s never a total guarantee that our government will comply. I’ll always assume they’re doing (perhaps seriously questionable) things under the public radar.
The other is the private sector army leveraging the recording of product/service use for marketing purposes (or worse due to criminal hacking, etc.) Again, no similarly opposing law suffices for my confidence.
Like a deer trapped in headlights, or like mindless drones, way too many people refuse to unite and press back hard to thwart the two-pronged assault.
Useful national security on behalf of the public serves to protect the citizenry from foreign threats.
Useful personal privacy (especially in the horrifying land of recklessly irrational stigmas and consequent mass evil punishments — e.g. war on some drugs, war on some purely voluntary sex practices, war to expose embarrassing health issues, etc.) is equally valid.
Therefore, the veil of national security is nothing without equal respect for the veil of personal privacy. As one veil increases in importance, so too does the other automatically.
It doesn’t stop with “smart” televisions. Your “free” apps, and IoT (Internet of Things) devices have (and will increasingly have) information recording and transfer abilities (microphones and cameras sending data over your Internet connection). Like to angrily vent in (and/or do private things in the backseat of) your new car? Watch out, because they (a large group of people perhaps with abusive leverage) are watching in to take out.
There’s a relatively simple answer to the private sector assault, but it starts with righteous consumer demand (i.e. a caring and smart public at large).
Each device has a data gateway, and you can be the gatekeeper watching what data is leaving your private domain. With the right gateway tools, you can also reject data from leaving your device, and/or record app data to ensure that you want to leave it installed.
That assumes you can trust the maker of your device’s operating system and hardware, but nobody can (basically unless privacy protection is key to the survival of the maker), because those makers may be paid (or otherwise incentivized) to support the private (and even public) sector assault.
We need a privacy focused industry (privacy is the critical selling point), so a privacy violation destroys the credibility (so professional survival) of the corresponding privacy business.
The privacy industry logically expands to cover technologies scanning your home for even the faintest unauthorized transmissions (bugs, etc.) — e.g. a crazy neighbor spying on you for destructive leverage.
If I had to choose between a “free” app (for computing example) and paying a fair price (to sufficiently offset marketing revenue) for a similar app with guaranteed privacy protection, then I would choose the latter on principle. Would you?
More power to the aforementioned surveillance debaters on behalf of securing righteous privacy, so privacy can live (if you will) vibrantly throughout posterity.