In his 2006 book No Place to Hide, journalist Robert O’Harrow, Jr. painted a troubling picture of America’s brave new world, where technology would track our every move.
Eight years later, O’Harrow’s writings have proved prophetic. Within the scope of the last month, 110 million Americans have had their personnel data compromised courtesy of security flaws at Target. Sources say that Target customers routinely had their driver’s license scanned after making certain purchases. This data, along with specific credit card information, is now in the hands of Russian hackers.
“I’ll never shop at Target again,” said woman who had contacted SF. “I felt very uncomfortable when they scanned my driver’s license at checkout. I just thought that, being a major corporation, Target would have its act together. Was I ever wrong.”
Today, Sen. Al Franken, chairman of a Senate Committee on Privacy and Technology, demanded that Ford Motor Company discontinue the GPS tracking of persons who have purchased that company’s vehicles.
During recent remarks, Ford’s Vice President of Jim Farley stated, “We know everyone who breaks the law; we know when you’re doing it. We have GPS in your car, so we know what you’re doing.” Farley went on to say that Ford is not supplying its customers’ data to anyone, although Franken claims that evidence exists that Ford is tracking individuals who drive their company’s vehicles and is supplying the data to third parties.
Then there is the NSA showing, yet again, why this Orwellian agency is an acronym for Never Say Anything. The British newspaper, The Guardian, just published a piece indicating that the NSA routinely vacuums over 200 million text messages each day.
Unfortunately, this is just the beginning. Things are bound to get much, much worse. Just wait until hackers get their hands on the medical records of Americans and use them to blackmail individuals. It is not a reach to imagine a scenario where a ransom is demanded in bitcoin. If this ransom goes unpaid, the hackers will disclose a list of psychiatric medications or disclose an individual’s personal medical information online.
And regardless of what our politicians promise, it will only be a matter of time before state and federal government DNA databases are compromised. Imagine what an insurance company might be willing to pay for this information prior to underwriting health and life policies.
So keep playing with all those high-tech gadgets and continue believing that those who’ve warned of the Brave New World’s electronic concentration camp are simply delusional crackpots.
Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. He is set to appear on TNT’s show “Cold Justice,” on February 14. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. I & II, is available at Amazon.com.
If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation. For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.
© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2014