Posted on 04-13-2020.
Conspiracy theories are diverse and sometimes rather fascinating, albeit born by enthusiastic imagination and fallacies of the human mind. While there is outright reptile-people material just a couple clicks away at any given time, some arguments may plant one or two tiny concerns even in the soberest and most pragmatic people. As the coronavirus crisis and the recession dominate the headlines and now-remote small talks, conspiracy theories have an abundance of fuel: a global threat, international grumpiness, uncertainty. These aren’t new. But things like ubiquitous web access and ever-increasing digitization are. Lots of people have at least several cameras and microphones around them or in their pockets at all times. In some cases, people have full-on three-dimensional LIDAR scanners sweeping their floors and collecting data. In some cases, such devices may be sharing the information without the owner’s consent. It is hard not to have trust issues when your vacuum spies on you and both the Facebook guy and the FBI chief put tape on their webcams. And this, again, is some years-old news. Today, justified by the drastic situation with the pandemic across the world, governments introduce complex surveillance systems and improve the existing ones to track and control sick people constantly and efficiently. These systems may do great things and save many lives in such a scenario. They may also remain in place after the pandemic ends, helping the authorities with their daily tasks but not necessarily with regard to people’s privacy. This is a big problem that adds up to a list of privacy and security problems with companies and hackers using people’s personal data or devices for their own benefit. These issues are not going away unless there’s something done about it or humanity descends into the pre-industrialization era. It’s already too late to think about avoiding ever-present surveillance. It’s time to think about how to live with it.