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The Top Seven Ways Technology Owns You

by bradiger   July 26, 2009 at 11:00PM  |  Views: 353

3. Credit Cards Monitor What You Buy


Source: Gen Nishino/Photographer's Choice /Getty Images

Simply put, credit card companies are some of the shadiest companies in the world, and go to great lengths to modify their cardholders’ behavior to make sure they get paid.

Did you know that your credit card company can look at what you use your credit card on and then turn around and use that information against you? Well, they can and do, and will make changes to your APR based on what you use your card on. So, if you swipe the plastic at the bar in Vegas or use it to bail your drunk friend out of jail, don’t be surprised when your APR goes up despite your good credit, because your lifestyle is a credit risk. Something to think about next time you buy…anything.

2. Safety Cameras for Your Protection


Source: Cate Gillon/Staff/Getty Images

A recent trend in city planning has been the implementation of citywide CCTV – essentially covering entire metro areas with cameras in the interest of “public safety.” The city that is perhaps the most notorious for this practice is London, where each citizen is filmed more than 300 times a day on average. This technology is also extended a step further in England with “speed cameras” which line the roads and automatically ticket drivers who exceed the speed limit.

You would think that a city where citizens are constantly under the watchful eye of the authorities would be a very safe place to be. However, even though London’s authorities are aided by literally tens of thousands of cameras in the public areas throughout London, the technology has done almost nothing to help solve or deter crime.

Despite this evidence that CCTV blanketing isn’t really effective, it would unwise to be lulled into an “it can’t happen here” mentality. Not only are cities like New York and Chicago already on the bandwagon, but smaller communities are joining in too, and a lot of people are totally into it.

1. RFID Tags: The Way of the Future


Source: Steve Wisbauer/Photodisc/Getty Images

Radio frequency identification chips present a vast array of privacy concerns. In the simplest terms, RFID technology uses radio frequencies to broadcast a unique identifier to devices searching for those signals. The chips do not require batteries. At this point, RFID chips can be built to be smaller than a grain of sand and are cheap enough to be embedded into just about anything you use – cell phones, tennis shoes, sunglasses...whatever.

In products, the main intended purpose of RFID tags is to track inventory and make sure it gets to where it is supposed to be. However, RFID tags do not stop working once the product has been purchased, and therefore raise concerns about the ability to track someone who has purchased an item which contains an RFID tag. The chips are also currently used in passports, and the ability to hack these chips remotely via wireless antenna has been already been proven conclusively. Despite the ease of exploit, its use as a wireless payment system via mobile phones and credit cards is currently under development.

So essentially, whether or not someone takes great strides to remain "off the grid," RFID will ensure that even purchasing a pair of socks, in cash, will make the individual trackable. A brave new world indeed.