Tech: privacy… who needs it?


I’m a man of a certain age.

Therefore it logically follows that I am signed up to a number of fitness apps on my iPhone which tell me how far I have run/ cycled or walked in the past year.

Not only that, if I sufficiently interested, it could also tell me in excruciating detail how much altitude I have gained during my walk to the cornershop, the number of steps I took and what my heart rate was when I asked the guy behind the counter if he had any semi-skimmed milk left.

I’m also being dictated to by another app that interrupts me when I’m trying to watch Bondi Beach Rescue and tells me that I should be going to bed instead – based on my estimated sleep requirement. It’s something that is becoming an increasing part of our daily lives.

Have you ever decided, on a whim, that you need to suddenly search the information superhighway for a wetsuit? or perhaps a statue of Elvis or a complete set of Olympic curling stones?

Creepily, at some point in the week following your moment of weakness, you are guaranteed to have unprompted adverts for facemasks, scrubbing brushes and white, flared-leg jumpsuits popping up as you attempt to navigate the Daily Mail sidebar of shame.

It’s difficult to shake off the feeling that the internet knows everything about me…

But apparently, the internet knows everything about everyone else as well. Recently the Strava fitness app has been criticised for doing a better job of broadcasting sensitive military information about military personnel than the most sensitive spy satelites.

Australian student Nathan Ruser noticed that clusters of fitness mad soldiers were sharing their data on the app – which generates a ‘heat map’ beautifully exposing the exact locations of military bases around the globe.

It’s now fair to assume that any information you wanted to keep secret – is out there – permanently.

This is underlined by the fact that Obama-era regulations, the 2016 “Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunication Services” rule designed to protect internet users’ private data was thrown out by that witless cretin Donald Trump last year.

This opens the floodgates for internet service providers to harvest personal data and sell it to advertisers or literally anyone else.

Which begs the question – should we really care? Isn’t it all a bit ‘tin-foil hat’ brigade to worry about what people know about us?

Well – it begins to matter if the government of the day is opposed to a plurality of views and is determined to clamp down on those who might be opposed to that. But that couldn’t happen here… Could it…?

You are not powerless however.

There is very little we can do to restrict this torrent of information about ourselves, but what we can do is to dilute it with untruths.

My advice is to actively engage with online surveys and blow smoke up their asses. Take the time to fill out questionaires and pretend that you have 11 children, have a Phd and are an enthusiastic pipe smoker. If we all did it, it wouldn’t take long before such dodgy data attributed to you becomes worthless.