Bruce Schneier is an internationally renowned security technologist, called a “security guru” by The Economist. He is the author of 13 books–including Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World–as well as hundreds of articles, essays, and academic papers. His influential newsletter “Crypto-Gram” and his blog “Schneier on Security” are read by over 250,000 people. He has testified before Congress, is a frequent guest on television and radio, has served on several government committees, and is regularly quoted in the press. Schneier is a fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University; a Lecturer in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School; a board member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, AccessNow, and the Tor Project; an Advisory Board Member of the Electronic Privacy Information Center and VerifiedVoting.org; and a special advisor to IBM Security and the Chief Technology Officer at IBM Resilient.
Schneier says “Thousands of companies are spying on you” in his CNN Opinion. Some excerpts:
… while Facebook is one of the biggest players in this space, there are thousands of other companies that spy on and manipulate us for profit…It has existed in secret far too long, and it’s up to lawmakers to force these companies into the public spotlight, where we can all decide if this is how we want society to operate and — if not — what to do about it.
There are 2,500 to 4,000 data brokers in the United States whose business is buying and selling our personal data. [and a thousand in India, thousands in Europe and so on???]
…Smart phone is probably the most intimate surveillance device ever invented. It tracks our location continuously, so it knows where we live, where we work, and where we spend our time. It’s the first and last thing we check in a day, so it knows when we wake up and when we go to sleep. We all have one, so it knows who we sleep with. Uber used just some of that information to detect one-night stands; your smartphone provider and any app you allow to collect location data knows a lot more…
…None of this is new…
Surveillance capitalism is deeply embedded in our increasingly computerized society, and if the extent of it came to light there would be broad demands for limits and regulation. But because this industry can largely operate in secret, only occasionally exposed after a data breach or investigative report, we remain mostly ignorant of its reach.
This might change soon