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JLeslie's avatar

I’m afraid it might be. I hate that there is always the possibility of someone snapping a picture or listening in. It’s scary.

Jeruba's avatar

It has been for 40 years or more.

Zaku's avatar

You might have to do some things to (or get far enough away from) all nearby smartphones, laptops smart TVs, and other “smart” (ass) devices, but then you may have a chance at some privacy.

flutherother's avatar

We have no privacy online as government snoopers can find out where we are going what we are doing there how we are spending our money and even what we are thinking. When we step outside our mobile phones leave a trace of where we are and in the larger cities CCTV cameras follow us as we walk down the street and enter buildings. It’s all there but our privacy is protected in as much as there are millions of people like us and unless we do something to draw attention to ourselves we remain anonymous in the crowd.

The situation is a bit different here in the more remote communities where you might expect to have more privacy but in fact you have less. From those quiet cottages on the hillside your every move is observed. Every light you switch on or switch off is noted. Each visitor is watched carefully. An unusual delivery to your home gives rise to speculation and the postman will be quizzed in the pub at night. Gossip is rife and every scrap of information is used to help flesh out a picture of who you are and what you are up to. It makes the efforts of the NSA appear amateurish.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

It doesn’t have to be, Careful what you do on the internet, stay off face book, and have an unlisted phone number.
I can’t find myself on the internet other than Squeeky2 but again don’t bank on line, don’t do face book and have an unlisted phone number , and refuse to have a smart phone,I’m like the shadow

Tropical_Willie's avatar

It has been for more than fifty years. I worked in aerospace & defense starting in the 1960’s and we use to half kid about be careful about you said on the company phone, we always assumed the phones could be tapped.

jca's avatar

Your cable company can see what you’re watching on TV. Your internet provider can see what you’re doing online. Your cell phone, whether it’s a dumb phone or a smart phone, pings off towers and can tell law enforcement where you are. Drones can take photos and videos of you without your being aware. Your utility companies can see your wattage usage, your water usage, other stuff. I don’t necessarily think my neighbors are very curious about my life and “the postman is being quizzed in a pub at night” as someone stated above, but all of these things are available to someone who may want to know, should a real need ever arise (like you commit a crime and they need to trace your actions).

canidmajor's avatar

Traffic cams, security cams at businesses, other people’s smart devices, tracking for packages, etc etc etc. you might have a little more privacy by not using the Internet or having a smart phone, but unless you live absolutely off grid, your business can be easily known. It doesn’t matter if you don’t bank or shop online, if you bank or shop at all your information is hackable, as the banks and merchants are not off grid.
The idea of being a “shadow”, as @SQUEEKY2 suggests, is sadly, no longer feasible.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Read this webpage link

And read his book:

David Brin has been saying for years – like 20 years – that privacy doesn’t really exist. He was ahead of the game on this realization.

By the way, he’s a fine science-fiction author as well.

canidmajor's avatar

Now I want to reread the Uplift War! Thanks fir reminding me of him.

Sneki95's avatar

Rob Halford has been watching you through his electric eye since 1982.

LostInParadise's avatar

This is one of the creepier stories about online snooping. It makes you wonder how much about us that companies can figure out, not just the obvious information about shopping and browsing history, but what inferences can be drawn about our personalities and behavior.

Jeruba's avatar

It wasn’t the Internet that cost us our privacy. Long before that, it was credit cards and marketing. Marketing first.

Personal information became a commodity when it was understood that you could get more for your advertising dollars if you could target your audience—or even just narrow it a little bit. That happened a long time ago. TV ads, for instance, have long been targeted to the viewers most likely to be interested in their products. It didn’t even require a computer, but computers made it vastly easier to record, aggregate, correlate, and analyze data. How often do you see diaper commercials and skin care ads on shows with lots of shooting and car chases? What used to be advertised during Saturday morning cartoons all the way back in the 1950s? Not beer and shaving products.

Credit cards, survey data (“Fill out this simple questionnaire on your buying preferences and get three free coupons worth $1.50”) ( “And by the way, what’s your age, educational level, and household income? Give us your address so we can send you your coupons”), and other voluntarily and involuntarily surrendered information compromised our privacy long before people started posting their lives online and then complaining about feeling violated when people looked. It doesn’t even require hacking. The amount of information that people freely give away about themselves is and has long been simply amazing.

As long ago as 1977, I started trying to figure out how a child born into American society under what we considered normal conditions could be kept off the grid, and my research yielded no way.

Zaku's avatar

I just heard a 2nd hand report that someone was browsing cars on the Costco web site, when they suddenly received a phone call from a Costco car salesman asking if they could help them shop for cars…


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