Spies are everywhere these days (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to this show) and their new tools–Smartphone cameras connected to social media networks–give them more power than ever. The OLD spies–in places like the Soviet Union and East Germany–would have envied the technology the average person has at his fingertips today.
Soon you may be able to use your Smartphone to take photos of people (without their knowing it) and then be able to find out their names, who their friends are, where they live, what kind of music they like, and even their Social Security number. This technology IS ALREADY DEVELOPED by Google, but they haven’t yet released it because it’s considered too dangerous, since it could lead to identity theft or even kidnapping.
But it may be too late: On the MSNBC website, Bob Sullivan quotes researcher Alessandro Acquisti as saying, "That genie is already out of the bottle." We can’t be anonymous in a world where 2.5 billion photographs are taken and posted on Facebook and other social media sites every month. Sullivan quotes Acquisti as saying, "If we were able to do it, anyone is able to do it. The goal here is not to generate fear, but we are very close to a point where the convergence of technologies will make it possible for online and offline data to blend seamlessly–and for strangers on the street to predict certain information about you from your picture. For most of us, there is already a photo of us online. It is close to impossible to take this data back."
When Acquisti’s team linked the photos to names and personal information, they found they could predict the Social Security number for 28% of the subjects with only 4 guesses. They created a Smartphone app that can achieve the same results while walking through a college campus snapping iphone photos. Sullivan quotes one of the students who was I.D.’d in this way as saying, "(I’m) surprised and shocked with the accuracy."
Another one said, "This is freaky."
When the Visitors entered Whitley’s life for the first time in 1985 (or WAS IT the first time?), they didn’t have to spy on him, they abducted him! Now you can get a copy of Communion (the edition with the famous "face" on the cover) from the Whitley Strieber Collection–and it comes with a bookplate signed by Whitley!