Anyone who has tried to download an app on their smartphone has seen the fine print pop up first. To use the app, the settings have to be approved by the user.
But who really reads all that legal junk anyway?
The problem is, if you don’t, you could be granting permissions that infringe on your privacy.
The Call for Stricter Privacy Rights
It’s become a running joke that Google, Facebook, and other major companies start sending you personalized ads as soon as you talk about something.
Is it really funny, though? The fact is, if you have a tech device around you, it’s probably listening in on your life.
Apps don’t activate the microphone in your phone. It’s worse.
Many apps can randomly take screenshots or videos of your activity and send them to third parties. And the kicker is that you’ve given them permission to do so without realizing it.
Now that society has caught on to this violation of personal lives, millions of people are calling for more secure privacy rights. The impact of stricter laws will affect new technology and what it’s capable of doing.
1. How You’re Tracked
Your phone is tracking your every movement and everything you do while you’re on it. Big data is a goldmine as corporate researchers use it to plan the company’s next major services or products. Businesses pay for the data in order to target their preferred market.
The photos you take, your online shopping, your check-ins on Facebook, and your banking are all monitored. It would be a blatant violation of your privacy—if it were a human monitoring your info.
Because the data is collected through virtual intelligence, companies have been able to get away with it in the legal system thus far. As the access to data increases, so does the frustration level of people using smart tools.
And now, legislatures are stepping in to increase privacy rights security.
2. Smart Technology and You
Since the inception of the world wide web and home computers, daily life has gotten easier. People will Google a question instead of looking it up. Two-day delivery is too long of a wait.
Smart devices change our channels with verbal commands, shut off lights at programmed times, and change the thermostat when we’re not home.
Life is simpler, but it’s also not private.
Handing Someone Else the Keys to Your Privacy
Every time you install smart technology, you’re agreeing to the manufacturer’s permissions. Some of these are normal and clearly stated. Others use verbose language and hidden clauses to gain access to everything you do.
But new technology manufacturers are going to have to face stricter retaliation in the form of increased privacy rights.
Before they can get away with these sneaky permissions, they’ll have to face the Supreme Court and state governments.
3. The Supreme Court Ruling on Digital Privacy Rights
When the Constitution and Bill of Rights were penned, no one could foresee the level of technology we have today. As innovation expands, the federal courts can’t keep up with legislation fast enough to protect our privacy from everything.
It’s one thing for companies to have access to our private information. They’re using it to target us as consumers. However, the government has its own agendas.
There’s Always a Loophole
The Supreme Court ruling in Carpenter v. the United States proclaimed that government entities must have a warrant to obtain data from companies. However, some agencies have found a loophole to get around this protection.
Instead of forcing a company to give information on an individual via a warrant, government agencies can buy their personal data from a cellphone app that tracks it.
Companies sell their tracked data to brokers. These entities then resell it to vested parties, like government agencies or corporations.
In short, although the Constitution tried to protect us, it wasn’t enough. So now, state governments are stepping in to finish the job.
4. The States Are Fighting Back
Currently, individual states are enacting their own privacy rights laws. Colorado, for instance, is attempting to pass a broad privacy law that gives consumers more rights. They can opt out of allowing companies to obtain their personal data through first-hand or copies of the info.
Each state that enacts a stricter privacy law is another step forward in the fight for individual rights.
What that means for new technology, though, is that manufacturers have to stay up-to-date on federal and state laws. They can still use Big Data to target their future goals and markets, but it’s going to be trickier.
The reality is that we’re living in a different time than anything that has existed before. Smart devices aren’t going to go away, and neither are the companies that purchase Big Data.
What is necessary isn’t the elimination of rapidly evolving technology. We need an increase in how manufacturers use their abilities and more control for users as to how their information is accessed. And that’s currently a work in progress.