Technology Working Against Us

Technology has changed our lives and made many things much easier. However all that accessibility comes at an increasing cost. Are you prepared to pay the price?

Technology Working Against Us

Technology has changed our lives and made many things much easier. We now have more resources and information at our fingertips than ever before. However all that accessibility comes at a cost.

Sometimes that cost is simply an encroachment on our previously free time. For those who answer work emails or take calls after business hours you know exactly what I mean.

Other times the cost is much clearer through the myriad subscription services we utilise. That’s the easiest (and most honest) price tag to see.

However, sometimes the price of technology, particularly free services, is much more than you imagine.

Put simply, if the service you are accessing is free then it is likely that you are the product being sold. Your behaviour and preferences are all being tracked and that treasure trove of data is used by business and government.

Most people understand that and have effectively surrendered their privacy as part of the digital economy in return for helpful (and free) commercial services.

However, this data is now being weaponised and has become the battlefield of the 21st century.

The most egregious data weaponiser is the Chinese government, often operating through their ubiquitous state-influenced technology companies.

Many governments have labelled Huawei as a potential security threat and prevented them from installing their equipment in national communications networks. However, Huawei are also the second largest smart phone manufacturer in the world which gives rise to a number of additional security concerns.

These concerns stem from China’s National Intelligence law which forces Chinese companies to ‘support, co-operate with and collaborate in national intelligence work.”

That means your personal data and any communications that Huawei (and others) may retain on their users can be conscripted by the Chinese government for almost any reason whatsoever.

I am guessing they could also deny a particular service for those same reasons.

Now that might not bother you if you are using some inane service like tik-tok to amuse yourself but it might if you suddenly find yourself cut off from normal communication channels.

The big data people will assure us all that there is nothing to worry about and your details won’t be misused by the Communist Part of China. That begs the question why are they collecting it and why is the Chinese government insisting on having access to it?

Data will be (if it’s not already) the weapon of choice for state actors to influence, destabilise or directly confront their opponents.

With enough data, state based hackers can access almost every network that keeps countries functioning - telecoms, electricity grids, water, road, rail and critical infrastructure. They can also get into your phone, your home internet, email and access the camera on your television or computer.

The more things you have connected to the Internet, and the more data you have floating around the ether, the more potentially vulnerable you are

That’s why countries are rethinking access to some of these ‘platforms’. India recently banned 58 Chinese technology apps on suspicion that they represented a threat to privacy and national security.

You can be pretty sure the move also had something to do with the border skirmishes between Indian and Chinese troops but it does send a strong and salient warning just the same.

I wonder how long before some other countries decide to do the same.

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