On this Independence Day, Big Brother is no longer fiction. Sophisticated, sensitive recording devices surround you virtually everywhere you go. Enemy spies are everywhere (not really, but they might as well be). They are all carrying sophisticated surveillance devices. These same spies dutifully report the most mundane of events in public and private life. Big Brother is YOU and everyone around you.
“Every step you take, every move you make” is being recorded and can and will be used against you. (The irony of the song being by The Police is profound, incidentally.). Even children can be your downfall because starter phones now record high-quality movies, images and sounds and broadcast them to the entire world in seconds.
Smartphones Can Do It All
That smartphone in your hand is a super-powered multimedia communication device capable of spreading information to the entire planet. It is undeniably a great technological tool, but it can be your enemy.
Exact location, times, and other information is embedded in every photo taken by a smartphone. That data is called metadata, and it can be a treasure trove for law enforcement.
Your mobile phone keeps records of what you do, often when you are least aware. It tracks you as you move from place to place because the towers keep you seamlessly connected. Your carrier keeps these records automatically. Therefore, law enforcement knows exactly where to find it and could obtain warrants to access it all.
You Wish “THEY” Weren’t Watching
Combine these powerful technologies and data with social media, and you have a perfect storm for cops to see who you know, what you like, where you are likely to be, and much, much more. Proliferation of social media means anyone who interacts with you online could be connected to law enforcement.
Law enforcement entities increasingly are using social media and technology. It doesn’t take high-tech “CSI” techniques, either. Cops, prosecutors, and probation departments use information anywhere they can find it. It could be as simple as posted pics of the beach party with you chugging beer before your DWI arrest. Your probation officer could see you were out past curfew at a bar. You could make an erroneous statement innocently to a cop who could consider you a liar after seeing proof you were factually wrong.
Even the specter of Big Brother in George Orwells’ 1984 couldn’t match the pervasiveness of smartphones.
What you may not know is the law is probably not going to be on your side for these kinds of matters.
Play It Smart
Your friends and family can help cops and prosecutors convict you or revoke your bail. Your friends unwittingly can betray you. At the very least, you have to realize they can. You may even betray yourself by disclosing information online.
Now that you know, try to be mindful of possible consequences from going about modern life with your smartphone. Be responsible with all technology.