We’ve all had the moment a friend asks to see our phone and we begin to have a mini panic attack. We momentarily turn into covert operation commanders who are trying to prevent hostile foreign spies from hacking into the main frame. When realistically, your friend’s phone died and they just need to Google the local Home Depot’s hours — false alarm chief, threat averted.
Why is this? When did we begin trusting corporations and the technology they create with secrets, private information and content we’d be ashamed to have our closest friends or loved ones stumble upon?
Obviously, we’re comfortable with our phones knowing things about us we don’t necessarily want our friends to know because phones are inanimate objects without the capability of judging us and our friends are humans who are capable of telling other humans about our questionable search history.
But such a pattern of thinking fails to acknowledge there are companies who literally have access to our locations, photos, contacts, and our most private information at any given time of day. In fact, we willingly give them permission to access all of it. Just in exchange for using their services.
And whether we acknowledge it or not, there are actual people behind and at these companies. We let them behind the curtain yet we’re reluctant to hand our phones off to people who fed us when we were children when they need to make a phone call.
It’s insane how much blind trust we truly put into the hands of complete strangers. We have faith machines will keep secrets we wouldn’t tell our wives and husbands. In some cases — especially our wives and husbands. If you’ve done dirt in the last half decade, Google is almost certainly hip to it.
The GPS on your phone and every company and app you give access to your location — which for most people is an astounding amount — knows you didn’t work late today, despite the fact your significant other thinks you did.
If you’re an Android user such as myself — Google has got the straight up goods on you, my friend. The whole skinny and then some.
From every disgusting website you ever used it’s Chrome web browser to access, to every asinine question you’ve ever asked it, all the way down to the ridiculous shit you look up on YouTube. Google peeped it. Don’t worry though, it promises to keep your secrets. It pinky promises with a cherry on top.
Alexa would never embarrass you in front of your buddies. Your iPhone is like your closest confidant or consigliere. The co-defendant your confident in. You’d at least think so by the information we trust them to keep private.
We trust these gadgets and the people who make them with tidbits we don’t share with our attorneys or priests. Actually, we ask these devices and companies if they know a good attorney or priest, if and when need be. And they always do, don’t they?
The lawyer Google suggested got your brother in law a way better deal than the pettifogging, ambulance chasing, chiseler his buddy at work told him about. Which is why we turn to these devices to settle trivial disputes about who won the Cy Young Award in 1996 or get a definitive answer on how long All In The Family was on television for. Because it knows. There seems to be nothing they don’t know. This extends to the most personal details about ourselves as well and we think about it less and less — as it obviously becomes more commonplace.
I’m not suggesting we start wearing tin foil hats or that Alex Jones is sensible — I simply found it ironic and interesting how comfortable we’ve gotten with trusting corporations with delicate information. However, I do think it’s something we should try to remain more aware of, as we live in a time where you never know where your information could potentially end up.