End of the American Dream
Nothing that you do on your phone is private. In this day and age, most of us have become extremely dependent on our phones, and most Americans never even realize that these extremely sophisticated little devices are gathering mountains of information on each one of us. Your phone knows what you look like, it knows the sound of your voice, it knows where you have been, it knows where you have shopped, it knows your Internet searches and it knows what you like to do in your free time. In fact, your phone literally knows thousands of things about you, and all of that information is bought and sold every single day without you knowing. And as you will see below, there are lots of companies out there that use information collected from our phones to create secret “surveillance scores” that are used for a whole host of alarming purposes.
It is really important to understand that your phone is a surveillance device. The reason why the advertisements on your phone seem so perfectly tailored for you is because of all the information that your phone has gathered on you previously.
To this day, many people are still amazed when they see an ad pop up for something that they were just talking with a friend about, but that doesn’t happen by accident. The following comes from Fox News…
Perhaps you’ve been talking to a friend about an island vacation, when suddenly deals for the Maldives or Hawaii pop up on your Facebook feed. Or you are talking to your co-worker about yard renovations when advertisements for lawnmowers litter your Twitter, or maybe you were talking about why you stopped drinking and a random sponsored article about the growing trend of “elective sobriety” is suddenly in front of your eyes.
Industry experts insist that our phones are not actively “eavesdropping” on us, but they do admit that our phones are “actually spying on us” in other ways…
“It’s easy to feel like our phone is spying on us. It is actually spying on us, but it is not eavesdropping,” Alex Hamerstone, Government, Risk and Compliance practice lead at information technology security firm, TrustedSec, told Fox News via email. “The reason why we see ads pop up that seem to be correlated to the exact thing we were just talking about is because technology and marketing companies gather extensive amounts of personal and behavioral data on us, but it’s not from eavesdropping — it’s from surfing the web, shopping, posting on social media, and other things people do online.”
Most Americans have come to accept targeted ads as a part of life, but what most people don’t realize is that the information our phones gather is being used for far more intrusive purposes.
“Surveillance scores” are being created, and these “surveillance scores” seem quite similar to the “social credit scores” that China has been compiling since 2014.
In China, if you do good things like paying your taxes or taking a parent to the doctor, your social credit score will go up.
But there are also lots of things that will cause your social credit score to go down…
It aims to punish for transgressions that can include membership in or support for the Falun Gong or Tibetan Buddhism, failure to pay debts, excessive video gaming, criticizing the government, late payments, failing to sweep the sidewalk in front of your store or house, smoking or playing loud music on trains, jaywalking, and other actions deemed illegal or unacceptable by the Chinese government.
And if your social credit score gets too low, the consequences can be quite dramatic…
Punishments can be harsh, including bans on leaving the country, using public transportation, checking into hotels, hiring for high-visibility jobs, or acceptance of children to private schools. It can also result in slower internet connections and social stigmatization in the form of registration on a public blacklist.
Here in the United States, private companies are doing something very similar. Information collected from our phones is being used to create secret “surveillance scores”, and selling those scores has become very big business. The following comes from the Houston Chronicle…
Operating in the shadows of the online marketplace, specialized tech companies you’ve likely never heard of are tapping vast troves of our personal data to generate secret “surveillance scores” – digital mug shots of millions of Americans – that supposedly predict our future behavior. The firms sell their scoring services to major businesses across the U.S. economy.
And just like China’s system, high scores come with rewards and low scores come with punishments.
For example, your scores can determine whether or not someone will rent a property to you, whether or not you will be hired for a job, and even how long you will have to wait for customer service…
CoreLogic and TransUnion say that scores they peddle to landlords can predict whether a potential tenant will pay the rent on time, be able to “absorb rent increases,” or break a lease. Large employers use HireVue, a firm that generates an “employability” score about candidates by analyzing “tens of thousands of factors,” including a person’s facial expressions and voice intonations. Other employers use Cornerstone’s score, which considers where a job prospect lives and which web browser they use to judge how successful they will be at a job.
Brand-name retailers purchase “risk scores” from Retail Equation to help make judgments about whether consumers commit fraud when they return goods for refunds. Players in the gig economy use outside firms such as Sift to score consumers’ “overall trustworthiness.” Wireless customers predicted to be less profitable are sometimes forced to endure longer customer service hold times.
To me, all of this is extremely creepy.
Eventually, it may get to a point where you are basically a societal outcast if you are not willing to conform to a particular set of politically-correct standards, values and behaviors.
You may not get thrown in jail the moment you do something “unacceptable”, but your phone will be watching you every step of the way.
Each mistake that you make will be recorded by your phone, and that information will be stored and used against you for the rest of your life.
I know that all of this sounds very strange, but without a doubt we are living in very strange times.
My advice would be to only use your phone when necessary, but of course the vast majority of the population will never listen to such advice.