"These possibilities are not distant or hypothetical - they exist now. Smartphones are effectively surveillance devices, and everyone who uses them is exposed to these risks. What is more, it is impossible to anticipate and detect the full range of ways smartphone data is collected and used, and to demonstrate the full scale of its impact. What we know could be just the beginning."
From the beginning:
"These records aren't just a log of our activities. The digital profiles they create are traded between companies and used to make inferences and decisions that affect the opportunities open to us and our lives. What's more, this typically happens without our knowledge, consent or control.
New and sophisticated methods built into smartphones make it easy to track and monitor our behaviour. A vast amount of information can be collected from our smartphones, both when being actively used and while running in the background. This information can include our location, internet search history, communications, social media activity, finances and biometric data such as fingerprints or facial features. It can also include metadata - information about the data - such as the time and recipient of a text message.
Each type of data can reveal something about our interests and preferences, views, hobbies and social interactions. For example, a study conducted by MIT demonstrated how email metadata can be used to map our lives, showing the changing dynamics of our professional and personal networks. This data can be used to infer personal information including a person's background, religion or beliefs, political views, sexual orientation and gender identity, social connections, or health. For example, it is possible to deduce our specific health conditions simply by connecting the dots between a series of phone calls.
Different types of data can be consolidated and linked to build a comprehensive profile of us. Companies that buy and sell data - data brokers - already do this. They collect and combine billions of data elements about people to make inferences about them. These inferences may seem innocuous but can reveal sensitive information such as ethnicity, income levels, educational attainment, marital status, and family composition.
A recent study found that seven in 10 smartphone apps share data with third-party tracking companies like Google Analytics. Data from numerous apps can be linked within a smartphone to build this more detailed picture of us, even if permissions for individual apps are granted separately. Effectively, smartphones can be converted into surveillance devices.
The result is the creation and amalgamation of digital footprints that provide in-depth knowledge about your life. The most obvious reason for companies collecting information about individuals is for profit, to deliver targeted advertising and personalised services. Some targeted advertisements, while perhaps creepy, are not necessarily a problem, such as an advertisement for the new trainers you have been eyeing up.
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Aldous Huxley wasn't warning us. He told us what was planned. He presented his dystopia as an outsider. He laid out the scheme. He said this was going to happen and we'd enjoy it, though if we had control of our full faculties (in our rights minds) we wouldn't. And he was correct. I won't say he was right as opposed to being wrong.He was correct to state that people will consent to their scientific caste system.How else to explain the obsession with the smart phone that goes way, way, way beyond the often claimed 'convenience'