Berry: Consider your privacy this shopping season

Kelowna - Big Brother is always watching

You see it everywhere, at the mall, in Best Buy, on sale for the Christmas season.

It’s the Google Mini, available in stores near you. A co-worker proudly said she puts hers to good use with constant trivia questions.

But her Google Mini is capable of far more than trivia. After talking about a particular product in front of it, she later saw an ad for it on Facebook. And while she said she may have nothing to hide, how much is Google actually listening and where is that information going?

As technology continues to advance, so too does the ability for the government to surveil its citizens. Kelowna’s use of surveillance cameras came under fire this year from the B.C. privacy commissioner as council approved $30,000 for someone to keep an eye on lenses that are panned to areas like the parkades, Queensway Transit Exchange, City Hall, as well as the Stuart Park and Kasugai Garden public washrooms during operational hours.

READ MORE: Eyes on Kelowna’s crime hotspots considered in budget

And the internet does not open doors to democracy, as seen in China where it did the exact opposite.

While it was more expensive for the country to censor the internet, instead of banning it entirely, it allows the Community Party of China to have a greater influence over its citizens. Artificial Intelligence developed to recognize faces can be used to track citizens, something that has been widely accepted, according to a New York Times article.

A government official watching a public space is one thing, but think of it in the privacy of your home.

Cambridge Analytical is one example that comes to mind, where 87 million Facebook users unknowingly surrendered their information that was used to influence the U.S. election.

As citizens in a democracy, we should be demanding that these privacy rights are protected. In Europe, a data protection regulation has already been implemented, to ensure consumers know and consent to their data being collected.

We should do this, before our morning routines change from “Hey Google,” to “Big Brother is always watching.”

@carliberry_
carli.berry@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19 exposure alert at Cactus Club in downtown Kelowna

Interior Health also reported another three cases of COVID-19 tied to Kelowna, bringing the total to 161

Kelowna’s Fall Activity Guide now available online

COVID-19 guidelines and safety protocols will be in place at all times to ensure the health and safety of all participants

Wildfire sparked at Stuart Creek near Westside Road

An air tanker has been requested, according to BC Wildfire

UPDATE: House fire spreads to bush off Westside

Small blaze burning near Vernon in Six Mile area

Petition calls on Central Okanagan School District to make masks mandatory

“If masks do not become mandatory in schools, children will get sick” - Sorsha Perry

Canucks ride momentum into NHL playoff series against defending Stanley Cup champs

PREVIEW: Vancouver opens against St. Louis on Wednesday

COVID-19 outbreak at South Okanagan farm declared over

There continues to be other community exposure events in the Interior Health region

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

One dead as fish boat sinks off southern Vancouver Island

Shawnigan Lake-registered Arctic Fox II went down off Cape Flattery, west of Victoria

Landlord takes front door, windows after single B.C. mom late with rent

Maple Ridge mom gets help from community generosity and government

VIDEO: Revelstoke rallies to save snared eagle

Local climber scales tree to save the raptor

42 more people test positive for COVID-19 in B.C.

The province has recorded no new deaths in recent days

Joe Biden selects California Sen. Kamala Harris as running mate

Harris and Biden plan to deliver remarks Wednesday in Wilmington

Most Read