The Spy In Our Technology: When Online Activity Tracking Becomes Invasive (cont.)

Cell phone tracking

More recently, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in June that the government generally needs a warrant if it wants to track an individual’s location through cell phone records over an extended period of time. Exceptions include pursuit of a suspect or protecting individual(s) threatened with imminent harm. The ruling was cheered by privacy advocates and blasted by the Justice Department.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Electronic Frontier Foundation actively work to ensure that privacy is protected. “We have seen that surveillance – whether by governments or corporations – chills free speech and free association, undermines a free media, and threatens the free association of religion,” the ACLU writes about internet privacy. The ACLU notes that corporations collect our information to sell to the highest bidder, while expanding surveillance and outdated privacy laws allow government to monitor its citizens like never before. The non-profit posts information, including case law on location tracking, surveillance technology, consumer privacy, and genetic/medical privacy.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has a “Surveillance Self-Defense” section https://ssd.eff.org/that includes tips, tools, and how-tos for safer online communications. They include details on deleting data, avoiding phishing attacks, using apps, security scenarios, encrypting data, protecting your social media accounts, and more.

Less is more in order to protect our privacy and manage digital footprints. Resist the temptation to reveal every aspect of your online profiles, take silly quizzes, or use location tracking regularly. A bit of mystery in a world saturated with personal information is refreshing.