It’s no secret we’re being watched. In the virtual world, websites keep millions of terabytes of personal click and page-visit history. On the street, you can find ATMs and supermarket cameras quietly videotaping passersby. An estimated one trillion photos will be taken this year, many not even by humans, and there’s a good chance you’ll pop up in thousands of them. Even if you’re relaxing on top of a 200 foot tall wind turbine, privacy can be compromised.
Nobody is safe.
None of this really phased me. So what if I appear as some random dude in the background of thousands of photos this year? I have nothing to hide. Hell, I even kind of like my personal shopping suggestions on Amazon. This was until I registered for NEUR1030: Neural Systems.
My change of heart had nothing to do with the class itself. The transformation from happy nonchalance to paranoia occurred in the computer lab, where we were asked to take a pre-test on our personal computers.
The first direction was to download an anti-cheating Chrome extension called “Proctorio.” Continue Reading
While taking a quick study break this afternoon, I stumbled upon a subtle new feature on Facebook called “See Friendship,” which now sits next to the “Comment” and “Like” tabs on certain Newsfeed items.
"See Friendship" / Facebook
Considering the name alone, one can only imagine the sketchy possibilites surrounding this little tab — and of course curiosity led me to click it. The result was something reminiscent of the most horrifying aspects of an Orwellian future: an individual page organizing the entirety of the two friends’ interactions on the social network – sort of like a beefed up Wall-to-Wall.
The implications of this button are even more terrifying. Now Brunos can closely examine fellow students’ entire friendships on Facebook. Now their personal chronicle, from chance encounter at FishCo to a trip to the mall (this is all, of course, hypothetical), can appear as a neatly laid out biographical page. Thus, Facebook continues its longstanding tradition of wholly unnecessary features that further broadcast each and every move a person makes on the network.