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“You are being watched. Right now, cookies are tracking which websites you visit and what you click on while you’re there. Your smartphone is logging your location. And if you’re anywhere outside your home, there’s a good chance a camera is recording you, and might even be attempting to identify your face.
As technology and machine learning continue to advance, we’re integrating surveillance into our daily lives at an increasing rate, and the level of surveillance is becoming more sophisticated. It’s easy to overlook all the ways we’re being tracked, but as soon as you start to quantify it, it quickly becomes unsettling. And it may make you wonder: what effect does being watched all the time have on your behavior—and your brain? Turns out, it can be just as mentally taxing as mental disorders like depression, and can even cause symptoms similar to post-traumatic stress disorder.
Let’s begin by trying to quantify just how much the average American is being tracked, because it’s not always apparent. When news of a massive breach breaks, we become more vigilant momentarily, but experts say that the surveillance we’re aware of is only the tip of the iceberg.
“When we think of surveillance, people traditionally think of the standard forms of embodiment like CCTVs or spies tapping a phone line,” Christopher Burr, a researcher at the Digital Ethics Lab at the University of Oxford, told me in a Skype interview. “But that doesn’t really capture the general character of what’s becoming increasingly more possible, and more and more effective.””
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"Apple, Google, Starbucks, and companies like them all claim to be socially responsible, but the first element of social responsibility should be paying your fair share of tax."
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"The Democratic Party has problems with Israel. But Reps. Ilhan Omar (Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), the new members of Congress who have attracted attention with toxic tweets and support for boycott, are not the main protagonists."
"Chicago Police sources now suggest he staged what he says was a racist and homophobic attack on him. Smollett vigorously denies it. Whatever the truth, it's a moment to reflect."
"In talmudic tort law.. the responsible party must transfer to the plaintiff an area of his best land of equivalent value- rather than a larger area of low-quality land. From the standpoint of classical economics, such a requirement is nonsensical."
"“Alexa, can I use you on Shabbat?” The journalist spoke into a small glass-and-metal device he held in his hand, which connected him to a distant supercomputer in a place known only as “the Cloud.”"
"Racial capitalism is the process of getting some sort of social or economic benefit from someone else’s racial identity. In the United States, this usually, though not always, involves white people benefiting from nonwhite racial identity."
"A gay French writer has lifted the lid on what he calls one of the world’s largest gay communities, the Vatican, estimating that most of its prelates are homosexually inclined..."
"I’ll state the obvious and say that much if not all of the reason my life hasn’t changed is that I’m not a parent. Children are life’s great timekeepers, and when you don’t live with any, you’re at the mercy of your own internal clock..."
"...cooking without recipes is a kitchen skill same as cutting vegetables into dice. It’s a way to improve your confidence in the kitchen and to make the act of cooking fun when sometimes it seems like a chore."
"Psychedelics have frequently been maligned in both the scientific community and mainstream culture. But new medical research and a more capacious understanding of the drugs have started to shift opinions."
"The story of angels stretches all the way back to the opening sections of the Book of Genesis. There, God posts cherubs as sentries at the gates of the Garden of Eden, following Adam and Eve’s expulsion. "