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Big brother is "listening" you too

Updated: Jun 15, 2021

One of the scariest things happened one day when I was in a lab dinner, and all were talking about "Petra" in Jordan, a few of my lab members visited there. Suddenly I scrolled down my Facebook and got ads like “Visit Petra”. I showed it to my professor and my lab members. Then we deliberately talked of some different topics like "trip to Europe" for a while and ads were changed to airlines and trip advisors. It was a terrifying incident for us.

“Future Crimes” by Marc Goodman—the person who spent his whole life in this profession—is a divination of the future, a glimpse of which we already have started observing. The services we are getting free; “Siri”, “Bixby” or “Google Assistant” does not do things for free. More than half a million Facebook accounts were scammed every single day. This book is excellent to spread awareness of what we are going to face in the future; nonetheless, I wish this awareness were started just in parallel with the birth of the internet age.

The book, frankly speaking, is scary. However, it is very hard to take any precautionary measurements. Nobody can live without apps, phone, or remembering passwords to devices. The book takes us on the journey of understanding the future that is prone to danger. The first section talks about the “gathering storm: it’s simply an inventory where we all are adding up our valuable secretes, without understanding that the data brokers analyzing you are not different than hackers. In the second section, it is mentioned how in the future everything will be hackable, from our phones, cars to homes. In the last section, there is guidance for prevention. There is no way out but to be naked in front of Google, Samsung, Apple, or Facebook, as these big brothers are watching and listening to you. Similar to nuclear energy, the digital energy we are talking about here is equally prone to destruction.

The implication of cyber laws is effective indeed in developed states, and in any totalitarian but developed society, where there are a stronghold and restriction over internet use; nevertheless, this disease is spreading exponentially in developing or underdeveloped states. The rationale behind this unfortunate fate of such a state is that they have the poison but they are not capable to produce an antidote. The need of the day is to start spreading awareness before the implication of cyber laws at every scale. Otherwise, we are waiting for a disaster to come, where people will be extremely insecure and, sadly, suicidal. Similar to the days when few geniuses were working to figure out how matter can be transformed into energy, but it ended up making the world a more insecure place with the invention of the atomic bomb. Marc Goodman warns us of likewise digital bombs, which we will be hit as the size of the internet is growing exponentially.

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