Thursday June 23, 2022

Technology, social media a big problem

Technology, social media a big problem

Illustrative image.

Most people don’t think about anything. Critical thinking is so imperative to not accepting everything you’re being told because, let’s face it, not everything we’re told throughout our lives is true or in our best interests.  But instead of analysing and questioning things most people just accept and even embrace it all.  I don’t know if anyone noticed this but the biggest problem we have in our lives is technology and social media. We’ve literally allowed these devices to infiltrate our lives and homes because without them, we are told, we will not be able to function nor be part of normal society.

Those who have not done so are considered to be divergents, freaks or conspiracy theorists. Surely, though, these people are the very ones who are doing what the vast majority of the world’s population isn’t doing — thinking. Maybe it’s because the latter don’t know how to or maybe it’s because they just don’t care. But the glaring fact is that, in recent years, many such freaks have been proven right on many points.

Most people love their devices and couldn’t live without them. They love their TVs, they spend hours on social media and whenever they need to know something about a topic they go to their favourite search engine. Google, for example, is the new Encyclopaedia Britannica and Social media is the new community centre or café. However, ask yourself this: is anyone watching you? Tracking your whereabouts? Keeping tabs on you? On what you did? Where you went? What you like and dislike? Who your friends are and who are not? What school you went to? Whether you’re well or ill and what medication you are taking? If you’re depressed or angry? Do you think only you and perhaps close family friends have this information?

Apart from the times you are required to enter your DOB, address, name, etc. when you create a new account, you’d think all other information about yourself was still private to you and no one else. But you’d be wrong.  Did you know that there are virtual markets out there attempting to sell your data to anyone looking to buy? The data is not just yours but that of your family, your neighbours, your work colleagues, your friends and everyone else on the planet who has ever used a smartphone or smart technology. And where does that data come from and how does it end up in the ‘virtual hands’ of a seller?

It’s become increasingly obvious when you think critically about everything around you. Essentially, none of the electronics around you is 100% safe. Not your TV, not your car, not your laptop/tablet/computer and not your smartphone. Nor is your email account, any other accounts you may have created online and certainly not your social media posts or feed. It’s not safe to post or share anything intimate or important on social media about yourself or your family. It’s not safe to use a search engine. It’s not safe to create numerous accounts. It’s not safe to buy anything online with your credit or debit card. Even driving your car is not safe. And by ‘not safe’ I mean it’s not private.

You are being watched. You are under constant surveillance by Big Tech. Your car knows where you’ve been and stores that information in its GPS system. Your TV knows what you are watching. It knows your preferences with regard to which programmes you like and which you dislike and for how long and how often you watch it. It knows what adverts you watch and which ones you do not watch by knowing when you switch channels. It also knows what you buy if ever you are taken in by one of those infomercials.

And we all know how dangerous our smartphones and laptops are. From keyloggers that log every key you press to sneaky malware to track and monitor your online activities, perhaps even in the hope of stealing personal and banking data for later use. That’s why I feel that online banking is often fraught with difficulties involving accounts being compromised and fraudulent card activities.

Social media can be the worst. They not only control what you see but make false assumptions about you and then inundate your feed with irrelevant advertising and then wait for you to click thus starting a chain reaction. Often even accidentally clicking for a fraction of a second is enough for your email and social media feed to be inundated with this stuff. Social media algorithms are designed to pick up on your inadvertent clicks but not you incessantly hiding or marking them spam neither of which work.

Googling for information might give you the results you need but it also gives the search engine what it needs — your browsing history which also results in a barrage of emails from entities you’ve never heard of. They explain their email with ‘in response to your enquiry’ which is almost always a complete lie.

This is where all those virtual market sellers get your data from. Your car, your TV, your social media feed, your phone over whose operating system you have no control, the camera on all your devices, including your laptop, the engines you visit and the websites where you create accounts to buy something. The whole thing is reminiscent of 1984 but in this case it’s not just about controlling you but about making money. Not you making the money but them. Who are ‘them’? Every big tech across the world.

← Back>