Remember when everyone was waiting in line for the first iPhone?

Being able to easily grab any information you wanted is amazing. Now, however, it’s beginning to feel like the opposite with tech companies pushing surveillance through new gadgets whether we like it or not.

Double-Edged Tech Sword

While we have more and more information in the palm of our hand, our very own personal information is being collected simultaneously. There’s a thin line separating servant and suspect. With a complex non-transparent labyrinth of automation algorithms enshrouding such technologies, their purpose and function can quickly deviate from the rule of law and moral codes.

“Absolutely people should be concerned.”

Do we really want Alexa, Google, or Siri listening to every word we say to in our homes and on almost every smart device? Are the costs of these conveniences acceptable?

Always On

Unlocking your iPhone with only your face may sound cool but this leads to serious security risks.

Electronic Frontier Foundation Senior Staff Attorney Adam Schwartz doesn’t like the sound of this either.

“In general, ‘always on’ products raise special concerns. Once the always-on device gathers information, it may be available to many kinds of people, contrary to the user’s intentions. These include external data thieves, who may break into the device or the data farm where content is stored; or internal employees of the company that makes the device, who improperly misappropriate customer content; or the police, by means of a subpoena or search warrant (depending on what the police are demanding). So, before technology users activate their always-on devices, they should think long and hard about the privacy implications.”

Ease-of-Use (and Hackability)

The problem with a face recognition password is that, well, everyone can see your face. So all those selfies you’ve been posting online for years… yeah, now big tech companies want to make that your master password.

“The more we rely on our face to serve as key to our phones, bank accounts, and digital life at large, the more corporations and government agencies we must permit to scan, categorize, and store one of the few remaining things that make us unique. And the more copies that exist out there, the easier it will be for hackers to exploit the impending wave of FaceID.” —Jack Morse, Mashable

Samsung’s Galaxy S8 face unlock is hackable with nothing more than a photo! And since, unlike a password, you can’t easily change your face, why are tech companies like Apple, Google, Samsung, and Qualcomm pushing for always-on facial recognition and audio surveillance?

One Ring to Rule Them All…

I can’t help but be reminded of J.R.R Tolkien’s prophetic tale The Lord of the Rings with an evil lord giving gifts of power to which he has a kind of backdoor overwrite hack to enslave them.

Could there be another reason for this aggressive reach of technology into our personal lives other than merely providing consumers with convenient access to digital services?

If you value your privacy and security, then beware the new face recognition trend and protect yourself against smart device visual, biometric, and audio scans.