In an article by Gianluca Mezzofiore on Mashable the extent of mass surveillance is exposed. As many as 90,000 festival-goers have their faces scanned by the Police. The police then check each face against a database of wanted criminals. This might be fine if the participants are informed of the surveillance activity and had an opportunity to opt out or at least not attend the event, but there was no such notice. How each photo is used, archived, and shared is unknown but clearly a photo of a persons face is personal information. The U.S. Department of State has a database of 75 million photos and the list is growing.
Why stop there, why not also scan the photos in everyone’s smartphone? Here is an app that festival hosts encourage users to install.
- They will know the identity of the smartphone user including name and email address(s).
- All of the users calendar events are exposed. This will include a complete history of your calendar plus any future events you already have scheduled.
- The location of the phone is known at all times.
- Details about WiFi connections, access point names. Not just the current WiFi but all WiFi the device has ever seen.
- All of the photos and files on the phone can be read and uploaded to the Internet.
This is all very private information. How will this information be protected? There was the breach of 21.5 million social security numbers from the US Office of Personnel Management. There is a long list of other government agencies that have failed to protect private and personal information.
So what can you do? We all have a fundamental right to privacy, encrypt everything. You can always comply and decrypt when required but consider the downside if your private information is misused. We made CrypSafe to protect your contacts and passwords and Media MicroCloud to protect your photos and files.