What would you think if you could know at all times where are you, how and where do you travel, where do you stop, if you are in a demonstration, if you frequent more places than others? Would you like it? Or would you ask that this information be removed immediately? How do they get it? The truth is that we have no idea how much information they have and what they can know about us. All (or almost all) we carry a mobile phone and, therefore, we access through a telephone company that connects us with the digital world.
Malte Spitz, a member of the German Green Party in 2009 asked his telephone company, Deutsche Telekom, all data I had of him. He had to sue them to send him a CD with a spreadsheet that had nothing less than 30,830 lines of information. This information included the last 6 months of the information they had.
Of the data a lot of information could be extracted: when he went by train or plane, when and where he stopped, when he is eating or sleeping, the messages he was sent, who was calling him, how long he talked to the caller, etc. And all this is because I carried a mobile phone all day, which goes emitting a signal from time to time where it is, among other things.
But if we collect the data, not only from Malte Spitz, but from many people, we can draw a communications network and we can also see which are the main centers or most important points of that network. In fact, this information would allow us control society: You can know who talks to who, from where, how, etc.
What can we do with the data of many people
For example, imagine a manifestation of people, all with your mobile in your pocket. Everyone is automatically identified. Moreover, if we map communications we can even see the leaders or more influential people or with more contacts of it.
Only by deactivating them we could intervene in it and, at least, put them in trouble. Even identify them, as did the Ukrainian government, identifying the protesters and sending them an SMS where they were warned who had participated in an illegal demonstration.
Can the telephone company or Internet provider have that information? In summer 2006 the European Union presented the data retention directive that says that all companies with more than 10,000 customers they must save the data of its clients with a minimum depth of 6 months up to a maximum of 2 years.
The question is, Do we want this Do we want it to be like that? Do we think that our data is used for the purposes that those in power want?
We usually accept that institutions have control over us by, as they claim, our security; for thus they are able to detect evildoers; But with that said, then where is our privacy? Where is the limit in sacrificing our privacy for our security? What would happen if that data fall into the hands with not so good intentions?
During World War II, the Dutch they carried a census of the people who contained, among other data, their different religious beliefs: Catholics, Protestants, Jews, etc; to see how they should distribute the money among the congregations. When the Nazis arrived, that information helped them a lot: only 25% of the Dutch Jews survived.
According to Marta Peirano, the mere existence of that information marks a background and makes us vulnerable in ways we can't even imagine.
Source | Marta Peirano at TEDx
Source | Melte Spitz in TEDx
Image | Pixabay
Image | Michael Kreil