Security Expert: We Are In The 'Golden Age Of Surveillance'

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Security expert and author Bruce Schneier had sobering words for the audience at a recent data privacy talk at Harvard University: We are ’fundamentally under surveillance at all times.’

’We are very much living in the golden age of surveillance,’ said Schneier, the author of "Data and Goliath."

Schneier pointed out that data monitoring is a side effect of daily activity through use of cellphones, Google, Facebook and credit cards.

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’If there were 30 people standing behind you as you were browsing the Internet you would say, ’Get away,’ ’ Schneier said. But because users can’t ’see’ Internet trackers, it’s less salient.

’Someone from Google once said that worrying about a computer seeing your data is like worry about your dog seeing you naked. It’s not the same because the dog can never say anything. A computer can, and a computer is a proxy for a person,’ he said.

Corporations like Google and Facebook depend on that personalized data collection to make huge sums of money.

’Surveillance is the business model of the Internet,’ Scheier said. ’We build systems that spy on people in exchange for services.’

And for Internet users who may be confused, he said:

’You do remember that you are not the customer on the Internet, you are the product.’