Users Aren’t Concerned Enough About Privacy, NYT Says

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Home surveillance cameras appear to have a darker edge to them, and may be utilized to collect and distribute data in a way that consumers aren’t taking seriously, an April 11, 2019, New York Times report details.

Exploited Data

The topic of privacy is one that has found its way into crypto-related discussions over the last few years, mostly as an after-effect of privacy being more prominent as a subject on the world stage.

Following the Cambridge Analytica scandal of 2018, users became much more sensitive about the way their data was being used, especially when it came to light just how rampant the selling of user data by large companies had become. As a result, many firms are quick to reassure their customers that no shady business is going on.

Now, an April 11, 2019, New York Times report suggests that users are actually not being angry enough when it comes to their privacy.

Not Enough

The report points out that individuals react strongly when their data is sold by large companies or leaked over the internet. At the same time, the fact that these same people willingly throw away their privacy is confronted, as is the fact that online privacy, to a degree, doesn’t exist.

An example of this is home security cameras which are designed to detect potential intruders into a home. While the idea is good on paper, problems arise when the cameras begin to profile people and the images of the person are then shared by the rest of the neighborhood. Then there is the issue of law enforcement who can then start searching every face against various databases.

So far, it seems that companies are capitalizing off this as Ring, a doorbell-cam company has a neighborhood watch group platform where images of alleged intruders are shared by users of the camera. They have even filed for a patent for a ‘database of suspicious activity’

While most people obviously don’t purchase these home security systems to spy on people, they are nonetheless collectors of data and it has been shown that the companies with access to data have little qualms about selling them. But this doesn’t eliminate the risk entirely as the New York Times piece speculates that stalkers and domestic abusers can still use such data to harm others.

Also, in 2017, U.S. Congress passed a law that allows broadband service providers to track digital information of users. Even those who did not sign up for home security cameras can be tracked simply by appearing on someone else’s feed.

The report concludes by stating that a surveillance state is unwittingly being created and is being aided by the American public through the use of programs such as these and it will not stop until consumers truly get serious about their privacy and that of others.

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