I grew up in an age of watching the Jetsons on TV and dreaming of watch phones, flying cars and talking robots. Star Trek used a clamshell style smartphone to communicate, and other handheld devices to determine the health or for threat assessments. It all seemed like so much awesomeness that as I began to buy more and more electronics, the awareness of being exploited by them was never on my radar. |
With the recent news that Lenovo produced their laptops with built-in surveillance tools, how do we know that there aren’t more Trojan horses built into our electronic devices? For example, Samsung has admitted that their new smart TV’s can record private conversations, even while turned off. This “hot-mike” approach has upset many, but surely Samsung isn’t the only manufacturer to wield this technology.
This technology all may, or may not, be a good thing. The ability to track and record private conversations is something Samsung claims will allow it’s TV and streaming services make more personalized recommendations for you. It claims that this technology will help market better advertisements and programs that suit your particular tastes.
And this technology is not isolated to just these two manufacturers. LG, Sony, and Panasonic among others, were claimed track user data as well though LG is currently not employing that information. Not to play upon a sense of paranoia here, but George Orwell would be shocked by the power of corporations and governments to access your data. It's everything that Edward Snowden brought to our attention a few years back and then some.
This tracking and security concern is not isolated to one or two devices or technologies. When you get the best smartphone on the market, the iPhone 6, you sign in to your iCloud and iTunes accounts and Apple asks the right to track your data for App developer reports.
Why does this matter?
Well for one, Apple is starting to integrate touch-ID technology into all of their devices. What this means is that you can set a fingerprint as a passcode to unlock your devices, as well as use an electronic wallet feature such as Apple’s new Apple Pay.
What is Apple Pay? It’s the ability to link your phone, Apple Pay, and bank account or PayPal account. By linking your phone to your banking accounts, your iPhone can sync with pay points in participating stores and e-commerce sites.
Using a new form of technology known as NFC technology or Near Field Communication technology uses temporary security cookies with devices within a certain radius, Apple Pay is sure to be a game changer for the shopper. You can point-click with participating merchants whether traditional brick-and-mortar stores or online shops to make a purchase easy.
And coupled with the iPhone fingerprint sensor that unlocks your phone from a fingerprint, it’s as secure as can be. But it’s also a risk because except for actual DNA, you’re storing an awful lot of information on your smartphone and cloud. While you’ll be able to leave your wallet behind, make purchases on the go, and bang-bang you’re finished and out the door. But it also means an increased level of vulnerability.
Look, technology is an awesome resource for us. We live in an age that was once only considered the realm of fiction not too long ago. But like anything, the more personal, the greater the security risk. Whether it’s the best smartphone on the market, a new laptop or even your TV, there are risks that can expose us all. Be aware of the potential risks, make the decision of what information you’re willing to expose to corporations and governments and enjoy your devices.
In the end, just be informed of the potential risks.
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