Time was when the phrase “Big Brother is watching you”, struck terror into us with its promise of a day to come when everything we said and did would be observed by the authorities and stored for future use against us.
But secretly and silently that day is already here.
Our public behavior is monitored by CCTV cameras installed on streets to prevent crime and safeguard against terrorism. The cameras are there to render our society safer, as a deterrent to the world be criminal or terrorist.
Anyone, with the right equipment, can monitor our telephone calls whether we use landlines or mobile phones. Our every keystroke and page view can be monitored on our computers.
But what of you, the usual Joe Soap?
Yes, you are being picked up by those cameras too. You sneeze on the street; it is there to be viewed. You park that expensive motor by the curb and dine at an expensive restaurant, that too is there to be viewed. And viewed it will be, and can be used as admissible evidence.
Think of how often crimes are solved through the use of these surveillance cameras. The culprit in a street brawl or even a murder can be traced through those shots. So too can the person who is apparently living beyond his means have his asset protection shattered by being careless to the camera.
Physical appearances and movements are not the only things that can be detected.
Voices and conversations on buses and trains can be picked up by the monitors installed after the 9/11 attacks.
Remember that Chicago spent in excess of $3 million installing listening devices on its public transport system as fears of terror attacks increased.
All designed to trap potential terrorists but equally useful in tracking the civilian who wants to hide something.
Technology, the great asset of our times. The science that allows you to complete tasks quickly and efficiently. Your computer and printer, the magic of the internet, your cell phone, where would you be without them?
But also a Pandora’s Box that once opened continues to spill its contents, feeding us ever more improved means of working and communicating.
Yes, and fewer means of keeping our privacy intact, or to put it in common terms, of keeping our business to ourselves.
Your cell phone rings or you make a call on it. You think you are sharing a private conversation with an acquaintance or a loved one. But no.
Be aware that your mobile device can be used to pinpoint your location, to determine who you are calling. The locations of criminals are often ascertained through their cell phone use.
You may not have committed any crime that could be described as “grievous bodily harm” but that does not render you immune to those spying eyes in the sky.
Safe in your own home away from Big Brother’s spying eyes you engage in a little web-surfing. There are no cameras here, you feel secure, protected, free to do as you want. Wrong again.
That innocuous little machine on your desk or counter top can secretly be casting beady eyes on you. You have kept your passwords safe, installed security software. Yet that doesn’t do.
We are all aware of computer scams and of the risk in opening potentially corrupted files. That we can handle.
Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg have undoubtedly made life easier and more interesting and more transparent.
Gone are the days of fictional policemen rummaging through our garbage bins (although it does still happen on a smaller scale) or of people having to scramble over rooftops to install bugging devices in private homes. Our dependence on communication technology does that for them, making their work less hazardous and our commitment to keeping our information safe an even bigger priority.
Time was when you could tear up an incriminating piece of writing and consign it to the garbage bin. A very simple case of “out of sight, out of mind”.
But oh, no. Not today. Today we print everything. Our bills and bank statements are printed and the original document kept safe on the computer for future viewing. Only school children hand write material and they are becoming even more adept than us adults at using a keyboard.
And we download material, printing it out in our workplaces or kitchens. But the printer that gives you a hand held document for easy reading may also be the device that betrays you.
Printers and paper carry hidden codes that can lead to the actual printer and maybe even the location of its use being identified by people who specialize in such matters. The prospect of throwing those printed documents in the garbage bin becomes less attractive when those codes raise their ugly heads. So, the next tip on how to protect assets is to not let your documents get into the wrong hands. What to do? Frappe them in a shredder, or ensure that they are utterly destroyed in some way. Consign them to the fire, maybe. These stunning technological advances may well be demanding that we return to more old fashioned ways of dealing with their results.
It’s a New Day, a New World, of Watching and Being Watched
Yes, it’s a new day, a new world of monitoring and being monitored, of no longer having the luxury of anonymity. Be aware of how your life is being monitored and by whom. And, even more so the results of the monitoring, where the quote “Knowledge is power” holds true.
The neighborhood and coffee shop gossips will always be there. They have been since time immemorial, and have no good reason to disappear now.
Except now their ranks are swelled by technological products and coffee shop chatter is becoming online, full blown conversations between our technological devices.
The old chatter is still there, and will continue to be and good, old fashioned common sense is needed to counteract it.
The new continues to grow and develop from the days when an entire room was required to house a computer.
Constant learning and awareness, and a good asset protection plan may be our only arsenal in dealing with this.
To quote from Hill Street Blues, the much loved T.V. series
“Be careful out there”.
[Home] [1 What Is] [2 Why] [3 Bulletproof] [4 Peace] [5 Strategy] [6 Choose]
[7 Considerations] [8 Tools] [9 Shield] [10 Position] [11 Maximize]
[12 Privacy] [13 Optimize] [14 Separate] [15 Prevention] [16 Scams]
[17 Monitoring] [18 Pitfalls] [19 Private] [20 Tips P2 P3]
Liz McMahon, CEO, professional author