To figure out the spread of COIV-19, or other diseases, the technique of contact tracing gets used by researchers to decipher who is likely to have been exposed. When too many people are infected then contact tracing takes too much labour and subsequently becomes less useful, which has led tech companies and government to propose the ability to track you everywhere you go. You might think “what’s the big deal?”, the big deal is that this tracking will continue past the pandemic and it doesn’t need to happen in the first place. There are ways to build technical contact tracing without the government or an undemocratic mega-corporation spying or profiteering off of your personal location.
The wonderful Nicky Case put together a comic explaining how we can have technologically-driven contact tracing without spying on your everyday actions.
Read the comic.
Decentralized Privacy-Preserving Proximity Tracing
Temporary Contact Numbers, a decentralized, privacy-first contact tracing protocol
Quantifying SARS-CoV-2 transmission suggests epidemic control with digital contact tracing
Last year Canadians witnessed too many data breaches of their data and the federal government is reacting. Large Canadian corporations didn’t do enough to protect their databases against attackers and as a result personal data of Canadians is now in the hands of criminals. Canada will now follow the lead of Europe and other jurisdictions by holding corporations financially responsible for any future breaches. This should help force companies to respect their customers.
“It will be significant and meaningful to make it very clear that privacy is important. Compensation, of course, is one aspect of it,” said Bains, adding that the government also wants “to demonstrate to businesses very clearly that there are going to be significant penalties for non-compliance with the law. That’s really my primary goal.”
Statistics Canada says that about 57 per cent of Canadians online reported experiencing a cyber security incident in 2018.
Ryan Berger, a privacy lawyer with Lawson Lundell in Vancouver, said legislating compensation could get private companies to start taking privacy more seriously.
“It will incentivize organizations … to take steps to protect that information and ensure that, for instance, health information is encrypted,” he said.
“So right now, there aren’t the sorts of financial implications for them if they fail to do that.”
Surveillance capitalism benefits companies who have large datasets about what people do and where they are – without the consent of those being monitored. The pervasive modern surveillance which is around us everyday from our phones to private cameras can be connected to large corporations or governments for nefarious purposes. Sometimes it can seem innocuous (but not positive) like ads or utterly terrifying like what’s happening in China.
So what to do if you don’t want to be monitored? Step one is to constantly pester politicians about it. You can use privacy enhancing browser extensions or go a little further and get glasses that prevents cameras from seeing your face.
Today, artificial intelligence (AI) technology, such as facial recognition, has become more widespread in public and private spaces — including schools, retail stores, airports, concert venues and even to unlock the newest iPhones. Civil-liberty groups concerned about the potential for misuse have urged politicians to regulate the systems. A recent Washington Post investigation, for instance, revealed FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents used facial recognition to scan millions of Americans’ driver’s licenses without their knowledge to identify suspects and undocumented immigrants.
The motivation to seek out antidotes to an over-powerful force has political and symbolic significance for Doctorow, an L.A.-based science-fiction author and privacy advocate. His father’s family fled the Soviet Union, which used surveillance to control the masses.
“We are entirely too sanguine about the idea that surveillance technologies will be built by people we agree with for goals we are happy to support,” he said. “For this technology to be developed and for there to be no countermeasures is a road map to tyranny.”
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has launched on the dark web to help those in authoritarian regimes access international news. To access the the site one only need the Tor browser and don’t need to use a VPN to get around national censorship firewalls. The TOR browser works anonymously by connecting to other TOR computers to generate a connection that cannot be traced to its source, so if you’re accessing a banned site from your country it’s nearly impossible to trace the connection back to your computer. As companies like Google track everything we do online we may all need to familiarize ourselves with privacy-focussed solutions. Check out the TOR browser and practice good digital protections.
The Tor browser is privacy-focused software used to access the dark web.
The browser can obscure who is using it and what data is being accessed, which can help people avoid government surveillance and censorship.
Countries including China, Iran and Vietnam are among those who have tried to block access to the BBC News website or programmes
Instead of visiting bbc.co.uk/news or bbc.com/news, users of the Tor browser can visit the new bbcnewsv2vjtpsuy.onion web address. Clicking this web address will not work in a regular web browser.
User Molire at Reddit created the following list:
Tor Browser: https://www.torproject.org/
The BBC onion service is available in at least the following languages:
Arabic — https://www.s5rhoqqosmcispfb.onion/arabic
Bengali (Bangladesh) — https://www.s5rhoqqosmcispfb.onion/bengali
Chinese (simplified) — https://www.s5rhoqqosmcispfb.onion/zhongwen/simp
French — https://www.s5rhoqqosmcispfb.onion/afrique
Gujarati (India) — https://www.s5rhoqqosmcispfb.onion/gujarati
Hindi (India) — https://www.s5rhoqqosmcispfb.onion/hindi
Marathi (India) — https://www.s5rhoqqosmcispfb.onion/marathi
Tamil (India) — https://www.s5rhoqqosmcispfb.onion/tamil
Indonesian — https://www.s5rhoqqosmcispfb.onion/indonesia
Japanese — https://www.s5rhoqqosmcispfb.onion/japanese
Korean — https://www.s5rhoqqosmcispfb.onion/korean
Portuguese — https://www.s5rhoqqosmcispfb.onion/portuguese
Punjabi (Pakistan) — https://www.s5rhoqqosmcispfb.onion/punjabi
Urdu (Pakistan) — https://www.s5rhoqqosmcispfb.onion/urdu
Russian — https://www.s5rhoqqosmcispfb.onion/russian
Spanish — https://www.s5rhoqqosmcispfb.onion/mundo
Thai — https://www.s5rhoqqosmcispfb.onion/thai
Turkish — https://www.s5rhoqqosmcispfb.onion/turkce
Vietnamese — https://www.s5rhoqqosmcispfb.onion/vietnamese
Surveillance capitalism is a truly 21st century innovation which is having a major impact on society. Policies around data protection and privacy aren’t strong enough yet and trade deals don’t rightly aim to protect data privacy either. How our data is used and exploited isn’t up to us and it should be. Large corporations know more about you than you might realize and exploit that knowledge for their own gain- it doesn’t have to be that way.
How to resist collection of your behavioral data?
Solutions for consumers
Educating consumers and helping them make radical choices to influence the systems designed to harvest their data is one of the two important ways that can help us fight this crisis. We know that consumers stated privacy preferences are not reflected by the actions and choices they make, failing to act on recommendations they know would likely benefit them — this is commonly referred to as privacy paradox. I strongly believe this is something we can change together and that process starts with you and me. With the risk of being called a naive idealist, I believe we can lead by example in getting through the pains of giving up some of the convenience and ruthless pursuit of growth, ultimately affecting the course of history that is otherwise headed towards more surveillance, concentration of knowledge and power, and unethical exploitation of the human experience.
Privacy means having the agency to choose what you share, when you share it and who you share it with. The following recommendations can guide you, as an individual towards taking back that control and helping others do the same.