Based on an investigation by the New York Times, he shows how it is not a conspiracy but a sad social development accepted without questioning… by us.
Laeticia Avia, a former African lawyer who is a member of President Emmanuel Macron’s La Republique en Marche party and party spokesperson said curbing “hate speech” was the reason why she had proposed the bill.
But every moment, every day, everywhere, uncontrolled companies that often operate outside the usual legal framework, record the movements of tens of millions of people by following those of their mobile phones.
This way of monitoring allows them to record the data stored and to the data in gigantic files and servers.
The New York Times managed to get one of these files: it is made up of 50 billion localization pings [localization software, editor’s note], computer commands allowing to test the accessibility of a digital object and to enter it by using its IP address.
Basically, this allows you to identify a computer tool, locate it, follow its movements and steal its data, internal as well as synchronized. In other words, to take over, in the case of connected or hyper-connected people, all of their data – including family data. Those of spouses, children, actually of the whole house if it works in a connected way.
In the specific case obtained by the New York Times, it is 12 million Americans whose every movement was recorded and every cellphone checked while they were crossing New York, Washington, San Francisco or Los Angeles.
The data recovered dates from 2016 and 2017. The journeys of each owner of each mobile phone, his meetings, his encounters, his moments of intimacy, everything appears. This concerns both anonymous and celebrities, as the New York daily newspaper identified visitors who went to the properties of Tiger Woods or Johnny Deep for example.
Anyone who lives in one of these cities somehow uses location-aware apps, knowing it or not, whether it’s about getting information on the weather, playing online or follow sports results. It is already worrisome in itself.
In reality, it’s worse: in the case of the data analyzed by the New York Times, it is not information collected by a large telephone company, GAFA [Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple] or a government organization, which is already chilling enough, but of location data retrieved by one of the hundreds of companies specializing in this function on a global scale, companies tending more and more to be largely autonomous.
They use software which installs itself on a phone, through some of the applications chosen by a user. Because of these companies that nobody knows anything about, our lives are as exposed as open books: with whom and where you sleep, to which hospital you go, what you eat, where, with whom, for whom you work, officially – secretly, if that is the case. Your political connections too.
While many people in the West maintain that they are afraid of China or the advent of totalitarian systems… are we not already there ourselves?
What would we say, for example, of the democratic reality in a country in which one would force each child to carry around a device of surveillance, as part of a daily routine? Such a device could be kept throughout the child’s existence, for example.
We are already doing so: Our children go to school, college, high school, mostly with mobile phones that allow outsiders to know everything about them and everyone else for that matter, says Baumier.
The power of totalitarianism, according to philosopher Hannah Arendt, comes from the banality of complicity. We have a large amount of spies in our pocket and often we congratulate ourselves on them, by showing off the beauty or the quality of the device that monitors us.
Worse still, it is legal to collect, store, sell the data in question, without real authorization from those to whom it belongs, since we accept with a single click to be dispossessed of it. And often without even clicking or giving any form of consent.
Once the information has been stored in a wealth of data, it is easy to locate a particular smartphone, identify the owner and thus entering into their existence. In the past, there were diaries hidden in the drawers of the dressers or under the mattresses. Today, each individual is under permanent control.
And everyone has fun, enjoying the pleasure of paying for their coffee or closing their blinds with their smartphone. At this level of surveillance, at the country level as well as at the global level, such practices on the part of companies that don’t care about democracy should raise at least some concern, if not accusations of an organized crimal endeavour.
Any personal manifestation of political opposition to anything or anyone, during a demonstration or meeting, is thus identifiable, as are any police officer, his home, his wife, his children, his working hours. This situation stems in the first place from smartphones. So we are only at the beginning of the amount of connected devices intended to invade our lives increasingly every day.
There are dozens of companies, located all over the world, sometimes in the most improbable countries, but also in the main western “democracies”, who are the collectors of what we do with our lives, a little like the mafias of the past, and probably still those of today. They manufacture progressive profiles about our tastes, our desires and our secrets in order to exploit them.
They have plenty of ways to blackmail us, according to Baumier. Especially since none of these companies, none of these systems, none of these spy applications can escape a classic hacking. This mega surveillance system is also perfectly legal.
Never before has there been a period in human history that has monitored so many people, and so many people at the same time. The objective is obviously to earn as much money as possible, a gain which therefore involves the highest degree of individual control possible. A control which the majority of us are delighted to succumb to because it entails leisure and technological pleasures.
Who says magic doesn’t exist?