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When Smart Gets Scary: Invasion of the Data Snatchers

Matthew Harwood,
Former Managing Editor,
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October 24, 2014

Smartphones and smart refrigerators and smartwatches, oh my.

I know, I know, it doesn't sound scary, but more and more, the things we own are being hooked up to the Internet and quietly collecting data on us, which is then packaged and sold to Big Business and Big Brother by data aggregators.

It's called the Internet of Things, and it's just the beginning of our surveillance future.

At the start of the next decade, there could be more than 30 million Internet-connected devices. Google's already touting a future where your home is "conscious." But many of them will be outside the home, like street lamps, which will make it harder and harder for people to "log off" and evade tracking.

"Technology in this world is moving faster than government or law can keep up," the CIA's Chief Technology Officer Gus Hunt told a tech conference last year. "It's moving faster I would argue than you can keep up: You should be asking the question of what are your rights and who owns your data."

The spook is right. As we move toward the Internet of Things, it's imperative that we discuss the implications of a world where we spew a digital exhaust that's then vacuumed up by corporations and governments and used to intrude into our lives. If we don't, we might begin to see our world looking more and more like this dystopic nightmare.


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If you'd like to take a deeper dive into how the Internet of Things could mean the surveillance of everything, check out this piece, "Invasion of the Data Snatchers," for, which inspired the video.

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