When the Brits invented the telephone in 1876 it was a far cry from the then commonly used telegraph that transmitted tones, clicks and texts to a highly skilled listener with special equipment. By the middle of the 20th century there were sum 5000 customers verbally chatting away with one another over the wires, though I’m confident that 2017 would have confounded even for them: Today, the number of active mobile devices and human beings crossed over somewhere around the 7.19 billion mark.
The launch of Apple’s iPhone 8 has been characteristically anticipated and clandestine. While the 8 is expected to arrive in stores by September, speculation about its new features have been carefully leaked by its Japanese manufactures. Like its predecessors, the 8 will monitor how much you walk, your daily caffeine intake, and how many calories you expend. Indeed, technology companies are carefully monitoring (and marketing) our personal habits.
But as much as we enjoy having information at our fingertips, there is growing concern that governments are using smartphones as human tracking devices, and intruding on the human being’s right to privacy. In fact, the iPhone 6 will also be enabling law enforcement via local, state, and federal agencies to access our emails, browsing habits, texts, social media, and even our moment-by-moment location. All activity is stored on servers that are no longer our personal property, and can be subpoenaed by court well into the future. The camera and microphone on your phone or tablet can also be remotely turned on—even when you’ve turned them off—and its becoming common to see tape covering the camera lens on mobile devices. We all know that phone hacking exists. But with revelations from the News of the World’s Phone Hacking Scandal, we now know that everyone from the British Royal family to victims of terrorism, kidnapping and abductions all fell prey to surveillance technology.
I however enjoy having the world at my fingertips, and opt to live in such a way as to have nothing to hide. With all of the wars, disease, and awful things going on in the world today I am fairly sure that neither the US nor UK government will have the slightest interest in my search histories of cleaning supplies and Christian Louboutins. Truth never damages a cause that is just and sunlight, after all, is still the best disinfectant.