Skip to content

Invasion of Privacy

Tom Tomorrow
© Tom Tomorrow

Years ago I started writing a short story called “The Invasion of Privacy”. The plot was that a scientist had figured out how to focus “gravity waves” over a distance, so you could see a (black-and-white) image of anything going on anywhere in the world. Sound worked too, by measuring the vibrations of air molecules. These ultimate spying devices were about the size and cost of a television and became just as popular, which effectively put an end to privacy for everyone.

Want to see what your enemy is plotting behind closed doors? No problem! See what your spouse is doing when you’re not home? Easy! Like porn? You can watch anyone doing anything, anytime, for free! Lying and deceit became very hard to get away with. Secrets became a thing of the past. Honesty finally really did become the best policy, because everything you did was probably being watched by someone.

Little did I know that it was prescient. Well, except only for the NSA. Sigh.



  1. ebdoug wrote:

    Anybody heard of Facebook? Its all right there. NSA isn’t needed. As you said, people in the United States don’t care about their privacy.

    I have wanted an on-line newspaper for years. And finally our local Gannett newspaper put it on-line……………….as long as you tell them your age and your sex. I recently checked and went further to see what home delivery asks. Home delivery now needs…………..your age and sex to deliver a paper.

    Friday, March 28, 2014 at 4:25 am | Permalink
  2. Michael wrote:

    Part of the problem you’re talking about, Ebdoug, is that most people don’t understand just how much they are leaking. There was a paper done one time that showed you can uniquely identify 97-98% of Americans based just on date of birth, zip code of residence, and gender.

    Another part is sheer willful cognitive dissonance. People voluntarily give a LOT of sensitive information over to a private, for-profit corporation, then they are shocked–SHOCKED–to learn that the company is profiting by…selling that information. If you are not paying for the product, then YOU are the product.

    I remember when I first picked up Simson Garfinkel’s book Database Nation in 2000 and I thought he was a bit overzealous and paranoid. Boy, was I wrong…

    Friday, March 28, 2014 at 8:27 am | Permalink
  3. PATRIOTSGT wrote:

    Michael is exactly right. Our information from purchases, online and in store that involve billing address, etc is all bought and sold all over America. If you’ve never read the privacy statements companies put out on their sites or credit applications you should. Unless you specifically opt out, then you are opted in automatically. And it’s big business. Marketing firms pay big money for your information and it’s why you get those targeted offers and peculiar telemarketing “surveys”. The best defense is to go local and small as these types of retailers typically do not share information. Your computer does the same thing, bots and cookies track everywhere you visit. If you get infected voluntarily as in a coupon or ad service or involuntarily as in a hidden program you are giving away all your privacy. I tell people I know the worst offenders I’ve found are the “free” email services like yahoo etal. And those who like remain “signed In” to said services, especially on their mobile device. And that brings me to the final point in that all 3&4g devices typically have little to no protection for the data they send and receive. I made the mistake years ago of remaining “signed in” to a email service (not free) and would get hacked where everyone in my address book would get targeted. After fixing it for the 2nd time by deleting all contacts and opting to have to sign in each use, the abuse stopped.
    I bet IK and others could give us a much more comprehensive overview of the online risks.

    Saturday, March 29, 2014 at 9:42 am | Permalink