BURRISS: People have right to know what data are collected

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With all of the news about the National Security Agency tracking our cell phones and emails, it is easy to forget that it is not just the federal government that is collecting information about us.

Plenty of other groups have access to all sorts of data about our lives, and in many cases we don’t even know it is being collected.

Think about your car. Beginning this year, every new vehicle has a to have a black box that keeps track of such things as speed, direction, braking, steering wheel angle and dozens of other data points.

When that information is combined with data from the GPS systems that are now in most cars, our entire driving history will be available.

What’s the big deal, you say?

Well, California officials are talking about taxing drivers according to how many miles they drive. And where will that driving information come from? Your car’s electronic devices.

And consider this: A couple of years ago, a hacker in Austin, Texas, disabled more than 100 cars by remote control. So, what will a hacker be able to do with these new devices and what they have stored?

 You know that new electric meter the power company quietly installed on your the power company quietly installed on your home?  That device not only tells how much electricity you use, but when you use it.

And last year, a German researcher discovered that because different devices use different amounts of power, it might be possible for someone to tell what equipment you are using and when you are using it.

Even the U.S. Department of Energy has warned that data collected from smart meters could be sold to third parties.

All of us are becoming more and more aware of how much information we deliberately give away every day.

Indeed, data about almost every purchase we make, television channel we watch, and phone call we make is recorded and stored.

Maybe, you don’t really care who is gathering what other kinds of data on you, and that is OK. But, at least we need to be informed about who is collecting that information and what they are doing with it.  

That way, if you are concerned, you can do something about it.

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Homeland Security, Marketing, NSA, Politics, Technology, Voices
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Members Opinions:
January 30, 2014 at 7:46am
To answer your question Larry, simply look at the tag "Share" at the end of your column.
July 24, 2014 at 4:48pm
I find this all very interesting and disturbing at the same time for several reasons. It is almost like citizens have no privacy. These things may not seem very disturbing, but this information for one is not being openly told to us as far as what is being recorded now, and it is also not being openly made known who actually has the access to it. Not only are we being monitored for our every move from houses, to cars internet usage, to many other things, but it is for the purpose of altering our society with changes in taxes, laws, personal bills and some many other things. I personally don’t see how people don’t have an issue with this. I think the real issue is that many people are unaware of the changes being made. Part of that has to do with people not reading things like they should. They say the best way to hide information from people is to put it in things that must be read. But also, many of the changes being made are not openly being discussed, masked by more trivial things in the media, or simply not made readily available to the public. It’s rather sad that so many people are oblivious to the changes. Many will have no say-so in the changes because of their lack of knowledge.
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