Big Brother Surveillance – It Is Not Just For Governments Anymore

Michael Synder — The American Dream March 12, 2014

Traditionally, when we have thought of “Big Brother technology” we have thought of government oppression.  But these days, it isn’t just governments that are using creepy new technologies to spy on all of us.  As you will see below, “Big Brother surveillance” has become very big business.  In the information age, knowledge is power, and big corporations seem to have an endless thirst for even more of it.  So it isn’t just governments that are completely obsessed with watching, tracking, monitoring and recording virtually everything that we do.  Corporations have discovered that they can use Orwellian technologies to make lots of money, and this is likely only going to get worse in the years ahead.  Below, I have shared a few examples of this phenomenon…

Private Companies Are Using Automated License Plate Readers To Spy On You

Did you know that people that work for private companies are driving around scanning our license plates?

I never knew this until I came across an article about it the other day.  The following is an excerpt from that article

Few notice the “spotter car” from Manny Sousa’s repo company as it scours Massachusetts parking lots, looking for vehicles whose owners have defaulted on their loans. Sousa’s unmarked car is part of a technological revolution that goes well beyond the repossession business, transforming any ­industry that wants to check on the whereabouts of ordinary people.

An automated reader attached to the spotter car takes a picture of every ­license plate it passes and sends it to a company in Texas that already has more than 1.8 billion plate scans from vehicles across the country.

These scans mean big money for Sousa — typically $200 to $400 every time the spotter finds a vehicle that’s stolen or in default — so he runs his spotter around the clock, typically adding 8,000 plate scans to the database in Texas each day.

Your Cell Phone Is Spying On You

If you carry a cell phone around with you, then you are willingly offering up a whole host of information about yourself.  This is something that I have written about previously, but I never realized that some private companies are now setting up sensors in businesses to purposely capture information from the cell phones of anyone that walks in.  Yes, this is actually happening according to the Wall Street Journal

Fan Zhang, the owner of Happy Child, a trendy Asian restaurant in downtown Toronto, knows that 170 of his customers went clubbing in November. He knows that 250 went to the gym that month, and that 216 came in from Yorkville, an upscale neighborhood.

And he gleans this information without his customers’ knowledge, or ever asking them a single question.

Mr. Zhang is a client of Turnstyle Solutions Inc., a year-old local company that has placed sensors in about 200 businesses within a 0.7 mile radius in downtown Toronto to track shoppers as they move in the city.

Entire “Big Brother Housing Developments” Are Now Being Designed

Would you live in a housing development with a sophisticated “video surveillance program” and that uses automated license plate scanners to monitor everyone who comes and goes from the community?

In a country that is becoming increasingly obsessed with “security”, these new kinds of housing developments are surely going to be quite popular.  The following is an excerpt from an article about one of these communities that is being built in California

A new, scenic development surrounded by winding waterways is billed as a safe haven.

Only four bridges lead in and out of the area with security checkpoints and a fiberoptic video surveillance program. Every license plate scanned on those roads will be cross-checked with a DMV database for stolen cars.

The first homes are already going up at River Islands, and the people who move in can expect to be part of a new era in policing.

Disney Implements The “MagicBand” Tracking Device

Would you wear an RFID tracking device that allows you to buy stuff and that monitors you wherever you go?

Well, Disney actually wants their customers to willingly use this technology.

They are calling it the “MagicBand”, and perhaps you have already watched one of the new Disney commercials about it.  You can see what Disney has to say about “MagicBand” right here.

In the video posted below, activist Mark Dice discusses this troubling move by Disney…

Our “Smart Televisions” Are Spying On Us

How would you feel if I told you that your expensive new television is actually spying on you?

You probably would not be too excited to hear that.

Well, depending on the actual brand, this is really happening.  In fact, one brand of television actually sends information about every button that press on your remote back to corporate headquarters

An IT consultant called Jason Huntley, who lives in a village near Hull, uncovered evidence that a flat-screen television, which had been sitting in his living room since the summer, was secretly invading his family’s privacy.

He began investigating the £400 LG device after noticing that its home screen appeared to be showing him ‘targeted’ adverts — for cars, and Knorr stock cubes — based on programmes he’d just been watching.

Huntley decided to monitor information that the so-called smart TV — which connects to the internet — was sending and receiving. He did this by using his laptop effectively as a bridge between his television and the internet receiver, so the laptop was able to show all the data being sucked out of his set.

He soon discovered that details of not just every show he watched but every button he pressed on his remote control were being sent back to LG’s corporate headquarters in South Korea.

Data Mining – Your Personal Information Is Big Business

There are huge companies that most people have never even heard of that do nothing but buy and sell our personal information.  The collection of this personal information is called “data mining”, and it is extremely profitable.

In fact, there is one company called Acxiom that made a profit of more than 77 million dollars in one recent year by collecting and selling info about all of us.

In case you were wondering, yes, Acxiom almost certainly has a profile on you too

The company fits into a category called database marketing. It started in 1969 as an outfit called Demographics Inc., using phone books and other notably low-tech tools, as well as one computer, to amass information on voters and consumers for direct marketing. Almost 40 years later, Acxiom has detailed entries for more than 190 million people and 126 million households in the U.S., and about 500 million active consumers worldwide. More than 23,000 servers in Conway, just north of Little Rock, collect and analyze more than 50 trillion data ‘transactions’ a year.

As long as these technologies are legal and businesses can make money this way, they are going to keep doing it.

So even if we stopped the rapid expansion of “Big Brother surveillance” by the governments of the world, the reality is that private corporations are going to keep pushing the envelope.

We live in a world that is rapidly changing, and unless a miracle happens we soon will not have very much privacy left at all.

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