Big Brother Big Business takes a disturbing look at how the growth of the information society may be deteriorating the freedoms many people take for granted. More than ever before, technology is being used to monitor Americans. Driving habits are being documented, personnel are monitored, shoppers and patrons are observed and analyzed, and Internet queries are saved and utilized as evidence in the courtroom. It is Big Business which gathers the majority of the data about us. Yet, it is the government that is using it.
Summarizing the speaker’s main points
In the documentary Big Brother Big Business, David Faber takes viewers inside the FBI, the Border Patrol, police departments and schools to determine how they are using biometric technologies to ascertain identity. We also get a look inside a little-known division of AOL that works solely with law enforcement requests for information about AOL’s members.
Faber furthermore looks at a few of the disadvantages of the new surveillance society: a man whose cell phone data had been stolen by a former employer, a woman who lost her job due to mistaken identity, and a man who learned his rental car company was monitoring his every move.
Reactions to the ideas presented
This is the loss of freedom we face when our privacy is taken from us. This is life in former East Germany, or life in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. And it’s our future as we allow an ever-intrusive eye into our personal, private lives.
Too many wrongly characterize the debate as “security versus privacy.” The real choice is liberty versus control. Tyranny, whether it arises under threat of foreign physical attack or under constant domestic authoritative scrutiny, is still tyranny. Liberty requires security without intrusion, security plus privacy. Widespread police surveillance is the very definition of a police state. And that’s why we should champion privacy even when we have nothing to hide.
10 nuggets of information
- Internet searches are being recorded, everything from religion, sexual concerns, political leadings, and your medical concerns.
- 49-Year-old Thomas Wellinger, the driver of the Yukon was charged with three counts of second-degree murder. Crucial evidence used against him was obtained from a device in his own car, a device that was tracking his driving without his knowledge. If you’ve bought a car in the last few years, chances are, you have one, too. It is known an event data recorder or EDR, also referred to as black box. It captures what happens in an automobile in the seconds before and afr its air bag is released.
- Bank of America, Paymaxx, DSW, Lexis Nexis, MCI, Ralph Lauren, Time Warner, The Department of Justice, Citigroup, Boeing, Ford Motor, The Marines, universities, railroads and The Department of Veteran Affairs, just a few of the hundreds of entities that have reported a significant loss of data from hackers, lost laptops, lost backup tapes or theft.
- The federal privacy act of 1974 limits the government’s ability to compile dossiers on individual Americans, but there are fewer limits on private industry.
- Acxiom collects and manages more than 3 billion records a day.
- Acxiom’s acre of computers gathers private information about us, information that is gathered by the bankers, insurers, carmakers and telecom companies.
- Acxiom brings information to companies that want to market to consumers.
- In 2003, some of that data was hacked from one of Acxiom’s servers. The company now says it has one of the most secure networks in the world.
- Google search technology doesn’t differentiate between what is private and what’s not, so if it’s on the Internet, Google is going to find it, keep it and make it available to everybody else.
- Google keeps a record of every search that has ever been conducted by anyone who has used it.