Have you ever noticed that when our Fourth Amendment privacy rights are being trampled upon, we usually don’t find out about it until months or even years later? Back in February, Natural News reported on the fact that Vizio televisions had the ability to spy on their customers without their knowledge or permission. Why didn’t Vizio make this practice clear from the get-go? Why wasn’t there a message that popped up immediately after the television was turned on for the first time, letting users know that information about their viewing habits may be collected?
The same goes for devices like the Amazon Echo, which we learned has the ability to listen in on conversations without us knowing. Why wasn’t Amazon upfront about the fact that their device could intrude on the privacy rights of their customers?
It seems as though all of these technology companies are intentionally failing to disclose privacy issues that could result from the use of their products, which begs the question – is there an intentional, under-the-radar assault on the Fourth Amendment taking place in this country?
Whether it’s purposeful or not is up in the air, but what we do know for sure is that privacy rights are under attack. The most recent example of this comes from Samsung, whose popular smartphones now have the ability to watch what you do online while simultaneously monitoring your emails to target you for specific advertisements.
This is made possible through a function inside the phone that allows it to automatically switch to spy mode after being alerted by a “beacon” that’s often embedded in various places on the Internet.
“Samsung want[s] to get to know you – but they are behaving like a peeping Tom,” said Jim Killock, the Executive Director of Open Rights Group. “Samsung [has] taken spying on their customers to a whole new level,” he added. “What you can’t see, and can’t hear, won’t worry you – or so it hopes. It needs to own up and switch it off before their customers wise up and ditch them.”
Samsung explains that they are using the beacons and collecting information for a “variety of purposes,” including “to provide content and ads that are more relevant to you.”
Indeed, the pressing issue for companies like Samsung, Amazon and others that are routinely putting out new technology is to allow customers to reap the benefits of their products while simultaneously ensuring that the privacy rights of those same customers are not infringed upon.
Technology is a wonderful thing. Over the past few decades, we have seen the development of cars that can drive themselves, drones that can be used to deliver packages to our front doors, and phones that are thinner than we ever thought possible. But if the desire for new technology and innovation outweighs our country’s commitment to personal privacy and the rights outlined in the United States Constitution, then that is inevitably going to put America on a path towards an out of control police state. Some could even argue that we’ve already taken the first few steps in that direction.