Convenience Is An Opiate

"At some point we need to ask if the increasing convenience of technology is worth the loss of privacy and freedom. Actually, that point arrived a long time ago, but a lot of people seem to be ignoring it."

Opiate: (noun) a drug that acts to block pain, induce sedation or sleep, and produce calmness or euphoria. Opiates are associated with physiological tolerance, physical and psychological dependence, and addiction upon repeated or prolonged use.


I remember the days of not being able to meet up with someone because of miscommunication about where and when to meet. Once you were out of the house, you really had no way of contacting each other, sometimes leading to missed events and frustrations.


The convenience of the smart phone is almost too much to resist. Almost everyone carries one. The world is more interconnected than it’s ever been. You can make calls, search the Web, take pictures, play games, watch movies, send information, email, get directions, and make purchases all through that little device that fits in your pocket. I really have no idea what “the Cloud” is, but all my pictures are stored there. Have you noticed ads pop up for items you’ve searched, or sometimes even just because you talked about something within the vicinity of a device? Google keeps track of where you drive and the buildings you enter, if your location is switched on.


At some point we need to ask if the increasing convenience of technology is worth the loss of privacy and freedom. Actually, that point arrived a long time ago, but a lot of people seem to be ignoring it. Right now we think we have control over which apps we upload and whether or not we want to participate in the digital world. In discussing this issue with an engineer friend, he commented on how current technologies could easily be turned to surveillance and control tools; the structure is already largely in place.


Did you know that in May 2021, a Covid-19 tracking platform was uploaded to all Androids and iPhones? (For Androids go to Settings, click on Google, and the Covid-19 Exposure Notification is the first thing to pop up. For iPhones go to Apps and then Exposure Notifications.) The platform interacts with contact tracing apps being used by different states.


True, you can shut off the notifications, but you can’t delete the platform. When some of my family was traveling from back east, their phones automatically notified them, in two different airports, that their Covid tracking was turned “off” and asked if they wanted to activate it. Some residents in Massachusetts were surprised to find that MassNotify, launched on June 15, 2021, was uploaded and activated on their phones without their permission, leading them to call it “big brother” and “spyware.”


Most of us have heard the statement that personal data is the new gold. There is big money in the collection and selling of people’s personal data. Your data is used for marketing, but governments are interested in you, too. For example, Cate Cadell of the Washington Post wrote in December 2021 that “China is turning a major part of its internal Internet-data surveillance network outward, mining Western social media, including Facebook and Twitter, to equip its government agencies, military and police with information on foreign targets.”


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https://brownstone.org/articles/convenience-is-an-opiate/