With part 1 out of the way, everything from here on is intended to be factual and unbiased, but not guaranteed to be inclusive of all things privacy related.
Lets cover some of the ways the average American is, or could be, monitored in a given day:
- How you get seen
- How you get heard
- Mobile phones (which can be remotely activated)
- Cars (GM On-Star, Ford Sync, etc)
- Laptops (removing your laptop webcam often removes the microphone, which is the important part1)
- Gaming consoles (Microsoft Kinect, etc)
- Smart TVs, Blu-Ray/DVD players, and cable boxes often have Skype or something comparable
- Personal assistants and other devices that listen and upload what you say to their service provider (Apple Siri, OK Google, Amazon Echo, Microsoft Cortana, etc)
- Telephone poles (ShotSpotter, etc)
- How you get tracked
- Your phone broadcasts itself constantly (WiFi and Bluetooth pings)
- Financial transactions (bank records, credit card transactions, electronic toll or parking systems)
- Web browsing, primarily through advertisements (Browser fingerprinting, Canvas fingerprinting, session cookies, etc)
- Your own public disclosures on social sites, or what other people post about you (being ‘tagged’ in photos, or ‘checked in’ at restaurants, etc)
- Any system where you have ever been asked for your SSN, mobile number, or assigned a number, like a medical record number or customer number, is so that a database has a unique identifier for the association of data gathered on you
This list is far from complete but is certainly enough to paint a very accurate picture of your life. What’s important is to figure out how any of these you’re susceptible to.
Next we’ll go over ‘The Why’.
1 - It is common to cover or unplug one’s webcam because they are worried about getting caught nude, in a sexual act, or some other compromising position. But it is actually the microphone that is the greatest risk. How many conversations do you have in front of your computer? How often do you read off a credit card number, your social security number, future plans, etc, while on the phone in front of your computer?