Question of the day: Will technology end up being our ultimate downfall? In the not-so-distant past, I wrote a series of blog posts on the expectation of privacy with user device tracking. If you are interested, you can check them out here. Lately, there have been a few things in the news that make it worth writing another post in that series.
Before I begin, I want to mention that I am a big fan of automation and cloud technology; it is pretty much what I spend most days doing. Things that make life easier tend to be taken advantage of the most. The express pass transponder is one example of that. Being able to whiz through the tolls makes life a lot easier. However, have you noticed the transponder receivers placed in different areas around your town? Although your device will not beep, there are receivers logging data as cars go by.
Have you heard about the technology that Apple has released so that you can pay for things with your iPhone using the iPay application? Recently, I’ve read that certain companies that originally signed on to use the system have now backed out from the iPay service. Have you noticed that technology is pushing us toward a completely cashless society, one in which all transactions will be charged to something, whether it be credit cards or another application? Do any of you get any warm fuzzies with that concept? We, as a society, have already signed up for reward points with our favorite stores to get that discount, all while each and every transaction is tracked and logged into a database in the cloud somewhere.
Further, just recently, Home Depot had its systems compromised and, just like Target, had an extreme amount of data stolen. Yet, we keep putting an increasing amount of personal data into these large data warehouses.
Speaking of personal data warehouses, have you noticed that Facebook has started to become one of the primary single-sign-on options for an ever-growing list of applications and services? Not only are we storing more and more data online, but now it appears that a great variety of information is becoming consolidated into different and larger clouds.
In my humble opinion, we are working toward a “perfect storm” in which something really important is going to get compromised. Imagine if the cloud computing system on which the Affordable Care Act systems are running were to become compromised, along with another major retailer’s, to the point that just about every bit of information about each of us personally is sucked up and stolen. What would be the real breaking point at which the population would lose faith in technology and attempt in droves to “get off the grid”? Has it come to the point yet at which there isn’t, in fact, a way to “get off the grid” at all?
Considering that the type of person who would read this post is almost certainly involved in technology in one way or another, you might have had thoughts about this. However, for the “general population,” these sorts of ideas are unheard of. Let’s consider the reported compromising of Apple’s iCloud or of one of the edge devices to the cloud that allowed unauthorized users to download content that was not theirs. I believe that many of us would say that it is just a matter of time. However, some of the people who had data compromised released statements that show just how truly naïve the general public is regarding the concept of privacy.
Technology continues to march forward and continues to make our lives easier. But what will be the price? Will we get to a point at which, in one way or another, this technology truly becomes our downfall?