Sunday, July 13, 2014

Big brother is watching and he’s listening, too

February 25. 2013 1:42AM
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Big Brother is definitely watching, and it’s got a lot of you worried.

That’s one of the lessons from Sun Media’s exclusive Leger survey that looks into the privacy concerns of Canadians.

When it comes to what issue is most important to us, 47 percent of survey respondents put threats to personal and family privacy first. That’s far ahead of the environment (15 percent) and the world economy (14 percent).

Our information is being taken from all over the place.

Sometimes this can all be rather benign.

Casinos in Canada take pictures of everyone entering, but the information isn’t kept on file unless you’ve signed up for their self-exclusion programs.

While our Internet browsing is tracked, it’s usually just used for marketing.

But it can be downright worrisome.

People’s lives have been impacted by identity theft. This is aided by all the information we toss out there — not just online, but through our purchases.

Australian police are planning a facial recognition databank. Thankfully Canadian police aren’t that far ahead.

Sure, people like Ontario’s privacy commissioner Ann Cavoukian are looking out for the regular guy. But it was government employees who lost data-keys containing personal information. Thousands of Canadians received letters saying their confidentiality had been breached.

As one survey question showed, a vast increase in security cameras is the least of your worries. Canadians would sooner see that happen than let the government keep their DNA on file or put a GPS device on their car.

The bottom line is that street smarts — or online smarts — matter.

Some people have gone online to scrub up their social media accounts. Others went as far as completely ditching the online world.

Keep that in mind the next time you tweet out your deepest secrets and personal information.

Calgary (Alberta) Sun

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