Big Brother is Watching You

Lake Boat and Superior Sunset

Lake Boat and Superior Sunset

The new Google Maps App for the iPhone has just been released. I’ve already downloaded and installed it. I have been putting off upgrading my phone to the new iOS, because of all of the horror stories about the replacement Apple Maps App. Numerous coworkers have gotten lost thanks to this flawed application. Apple’s CEO eventually offered a mea culpa and fired the executive who was formerly in charge of this fiasco.

Three months ago Apple booted Google from their phone. This is all part of a greater turf war that these two behemoths of the Tech industry have been waging. Their rivalry erupted into open warfare, when Google rolled out its Android phone. This turf war is sure to continue. I’m just glad that minor battle has been resolved and I can now upgrade my phone’s OS, without reservations.

Speaking of Tech, I regularly receive informational security warnings. Generally, these warnings deal with the dangers of foreign travel, or the latest tricks that thieves are employing. This week’s missive warned that the phone company Verizon has filed a patent on TV sets that will watch the people watching it. “1984”, George Orwell’s novel of a totalitarian future society only foreshadowed this Verizon initiative. Verizon is not alone in pursuing this technology; it is only the latest guest to arrive at this party. Both Comcast and Google were already there.

Some of the details of Verizon’s patent disclosure are worth examining. Verizon discloses examples of this proposed device’s anticipated sensitivity to customer living spaces. Detected argument sounds would elicit advertisements for marriage counseling. “Cuddling” sounds would spawn condom ads. Spoken words would trigger pair matched commercials, much like Google searches generate today.

Who would permit this sort of home invasion? The same people who permit it today, albeit in other forms. Those Google searches are just this horse by a different color. These TV sets will invade your home, because you allow it and because the television sponsors demand it. On air broadcasts that are free, are already losing out to pay cable TV. The choice will be eventually given to you to make, accept this privacy invasion or see your rates climb. Pay your money, or take your chances.