Data Privacy in Technology is a Joke (#118)

This article is supposed to be a joke. Its not a direct accusation to Apple (I love that company), but it points the finger to every technology company that has bad data privacy of its users and it also condemns the user for using technologies where their privacy is essentially a joke. End of disclaimer.


When you say “Hey Siri” or “OK Google” (given your device is near you) your virtual smart device assistant pops up and is essentially there to help you. Or does it sell you?

Siri and I have a great relationship. She’s really nice. When I come across a word that doesn’t seem familiar, and I’m too lazy to open browser and search for it, I say, “Hey Siri, what does cognizance mean?”.
And she swiftly replies, “This is a formal term which means knowledge or awareness.”
At other times, she translates English words for me in Spanish (a language I’m learning), so it makes it easier for me to just say,
“Hey Siri, translate umbrella into Spanish.”
And get the answer, “In Spanish, umbrella is paraguas
than it is to first open the translate app and then type the word I need translated.

So, we have a great relationship. It’s pretty much one-sided, really. I never tell or show Siri that I appreciate her help a lot. And yet she always seems happy to help.
That’s when I thought something was fishy. Since I know human behavior, it works on favors (among other factors). I do good to you, you do likewise to me. I do you bad and you return that deed to where it came from.
But I don’t do anything for Siri, why is she still so nice? (don’t tell me because she’s not a human)

I figured due to a few experiences, Siri was indeed using me! (at least that’s what I think, I don’t have it totally figured out yet)

I realized once as I was having a discussion about the idea of reusable metal straws. And later that day, I went to Starbucks to get a Frappuccino.
Next thing I know, YouTube wants me to buy reusable Starbucks Cold Cups (with metal straws, of course!).
And that isn’t a coincidence!

Another time, in a conversation about gym machines for back exercises Facebook advertised me to buy a “lateral pull down machine” and a “back extension machine”. And that (again) isn’t a coincidence.

Since Siri and I are like close friends, I thought I’d ask her what I had in mind, with there being just a slight chance, I believed, in her ability to even read my mind now, I felt I’d be upfront with her.

I went in to close range of my iPhone and said, “Hey Siri, are you always listening to me?”
And she replied:

My initial reaction was and my belief still is, “Liar! You don’t ‘only listen’ when I’m talking to you. You’re always listening. That’s how you know when I say ‘Hey Siri’.”

I went to the link Siri shared, but there was nothing over there that stated Siri only listens when you talk to her. It’s clear when you keep the Listen for “Hey Siri” feature on, that does mean Siri can and is listening at all times.
But the privacy statement Siri shared did state, “That data … we never share or sell it.”
But I don’t trust that. I don’t trust that proclamation at all.

Tech companies are making billions of dollars selling our data to other advertising agencies in order to recommend products “we may buy” according to the data provided by activities we perform across centralized applications. But, when they can now probably listen to everything that goes on around in our homes, that gets creepy. And finding product recommendations for the exact thing you were talking about with a friend an hour before isn’t a coincidence.

Yet, as much as it is the bad guys’ fault, it’s our responsibility too. This is our privacy issue. We must have a say in this. Since all friends are on Facebook, one feels essential to be on there too. But at what cost? Sure, they may not do anything more with our personal data other than send us advertisements, but how can one be for sure?
I don’t mean to scare anyone, but anything is possible. That’s why terrorists don’t use a regular mobile phone. Every move can be tracked. You’re probably not a terrorist. But, now you know what is possible.

I’m not advising anyone to delete their social media accounts or not use the “Hey Siri” function. But just realize that you don’t need to give all your personal information to big tech companies and get sold on top of that.

I’m excited about Web 3.0. A new era in technology where the Internet will be based on decentralized block chains and ledger platforms. (If you don’t know what that means. It’s OK, I didn’t too, till like a week before, but it’s probably nice to know since it could change the virtual world for good).

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