Big Brother is watching us, and he's mostly doing it with our permission. Oxford Professor Carissa Veliz is sounding the alarm about the amount of data that's collected on us by our smart phones, TVs, cars, speakers, watches, and even doorbells. Veliz warns it is a constant process from the time we wake up in the morning. "On and on it goes, as your day unfolds – the computerized surveillance that turns your everyday life into data," she writes.
Concerns about privacy in the era of smart technology are nothing new, but the sheer amount of devices, apps, websites and other technology we interact with on a daily basis is greater than it has ever been. "Every time you turn on your phone, in the morning your cell service knows what time you wake up, it knows what websites you hit...we've got smart doorbells, they know when we come and when we go," says High Tech Texan Michael Garfield. "All of that data goes back to these large companies, and these companies use it for a number of different things, and number one is marketing, because that's how they make money."
The key to all of this data collection is our concession to it. "Every time you download an app or turn on a registered device, you have to check off on this end user agreement," says Garfield. "You've got two choices, you can check it and use the product or device, or if you do not check it the product is worthless."
The other big source of data tracking is cookies. "They're a little piece of code that runs in the background that tells websites where you're at," says Garfield. "If you don't accept those cookies, you're generally surfing anonymously."
"I don't have any problem clicking no on that," he continues. "Because you're still going to be able to use that website, just not exactly as they want you to."