By Chris Schultz – Contributor
Students on the Dunwoody campus lifted the veil to the all-seeing eye at the symposium held in the auditorium. According to speakers Alan Craig, Dr. Barbara Nueby, Robert Helin, and Julia Benson-Slaughter, students are being watched more closely than they think.
The event explained the numerous ways students can be watched without even knowing it. A company called Checkpoint has developed Radio Frequency Identification spy chips which are put into clothing and allow anybody wearing them to be tracked.
“We know where you are, we know where you have been, more or less we know what you are thinking,” Google CEO Eric Schmid, who is no stranger to controversy over privacy, previously said. Such controversial issues include street view cars driving on and photographing private property. The street view cars also gather wi-fi data from the places they drive past.
“Professors have warned me not to use Google,” said student Iris Cochran. “They should have more restrictions.”
Google also uses targeted advertising, which sends you advertisements based on what information they have gathered from keywords in your searches and Gmail messages. In 2007, Privacy International labeled Google the only website that is hostile to privacy.
With so much information available, identities have become more vulnerable. According to a study by Symantec, an identity was stolen online every three seconds in 2009. That’s 10.5 million identities in that year alone.
Some household appliances employ smart meters which store data about their usage. These smart meters are being monitored and the household appliances can be shut off at any time.
“It depends on what they do with this technology, given the benefits of security,” said student David Clegg, when asked if he felt this was a violation of privacy. “I have only seen this kind of thing on TV, but it is amazing how accurate it can be”.
From the software downloaded on a computer–just by clicking on one website to cameras on the road and highways–people are learning personal information about others almost every day.
There are cameras on the highways in the UK which can gather information such as a car’s license plate number, the driver’s car insurance, whether the driver has paid their taxes or not, their seat belt usage and their driving habits. These cameras are being considered for use in the US.