Is your boyfriend on Tinder? Is your best friend really at home sick with a cold? These questions no longer haunt our generation. Simply because we have the technology to check, double check and stalk.
The technology web has probably never been as real as it is right now. Right from checking the phone first thing in the morning, to walking an entire block with our faces buried in the phone. Always connected is quite normal. And no one can really be blamed. In today’s day and age, if you are not on the Internet you might as well not exist.
The question is while all that technology is really making life easier and fun, where do you draw the line? Especially when it comes to online stalking (or let’s call it tracking).
A recent news report states that with a few extra bucks you can now figure out if that hot guy you met over the weekend is on Tinder or not. While some people might heave a sigh of relief to be free of the ‘he likes me; he likes me not’ worry, we for one can’t help but question – isn’t this one step short of stalking?
The worst thing here is that websites like Swipebuster – your Tinder detective – isn’t really breaking any privacy rules either. And it’s not just dating apps who are willing to risk your privacy.
Social media websites like Facebook have apps that make your location public. Take for example Facebook’s Nearby Friends feature that claims to help you meet up with friends who are in the same area. But in reality, this means that you can no longer get out of meeting that boring college group by faking a fever. If they check in and you are around there’s going to be trouble.
And then follows Google. The big, black web page on the Internet that doesn’t let anyone forget anything. Just a simple search of your own name in inverted commas is enough to shock you. Right from that paper you wrote in college, to that political argument you had on Quora, everything is out there. And yes those drunken college party pictures that you thought no one would see if you untag yourself are there too.
And that’s not even counting the countless apps in your Google Play and App store that not only lets you track your boyfriend’s location, but also lets you copy his phonebook, SMSes and sometimes his entire phone call log.
What makes it all the worse is the fact that getting this information isn’t really all that hard either. If you don’t wish to use an app, all you need to do is get your hands on their phone and you are good to go. A friend of mine recently filed for divorce because she managed to download her husband’s Whatsapp messages on her phone and read his conversations with his ‘supposed’ ex. Getting those conversations on her phone wasn’t tough either. He was backing up his data on iCloud and all she had to do was get her hands on his phone, enter the password (she was using the same Apple id) and transfer it all.
Privacy 0: Stalking 10
If you thought that wasn’t crossing a certain stalkerish line, wait till you hear about the mattress that tells you when someone is having sex on it. Yup, you heard that right, it uses ultrasonic sensors to detect when people are “getting it on” on the bed. It then sends you a ping on your phone informing you about it. Pretty creepy, huh?
The point here is why phone apps and social media websites, where you share most of your private info, lack so far behind when it comes to holding on to your privacy? There have been countless discussions on morals vs technologically advanced options but ultimately, if you are online you do risk privacy encroachment. And honestly, there isn’t much you can do about it because all these ‘pro-tracking’ apps aren’t really breaking any laws.
At the end of the day, it all boils down to this. From camera surveillance to shared phone ids helping track locations, technology invading privacy is a possibility and the tools are out there for the nosy and suspicious among us. Hiding under a rock with no devices powered on isn’t really an option so it’s up to you to stay safe and smart. They may be watching.
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