For many people it has become a reality: life is completely monitored. Hence it is no longer a question of whether life is, can or should be observed by strangers. It’s all about how, according to which rules, and by whom, with what consequences.
Anyone who wears a smartwatch at night transmits their data to Apple, Google, Huawei or other service providers before they wake up, who record the movements and at least also the pulse. Once you wake up, even without an Apple Watch on your arm, reaching for your smartphone shows when the day began. Regardless of which app is used, the data streams reach strangers.
Anyone who communicates with Alexa while preparing breakfast in the kitchen not only reveals his presence in the kitchen. The fact that emails can at least be read by the provider does not require any further explanation. Only encryption protects a little from the content on WhatsApp and other platforms, such as postcards, from being disclosed to any (virtual) postman.
However, less attention is paid to the fact that practically all telephone calls are made over the Internet, i.e. are digitized. This also allows strangers to access the conversations. In the interests of the security of the Federal Republic of Germany and the European Union, phone conversations going outside of Europe are carefully analyzed.
For offline purchases, the receipts list all products and assign them to credit cards or other payment instruments so that the identity and transaction can be traced here too. When making purchases and services online, the identity of the buyer and seller is inevitably determined.
Restaurant visits are to be documented and addresses given. Anyone who meets with business partners in the café had to disclose the exact consumption, the reason for the meeting and the people involved to the tax office even before the Corona crisis.
Employees have to document their daily routine to their employers and face the performance appraisal. The self-employed must explain their activities in detail in their tax returns.
Anyone who does not leave their house or apartment due to the pandemic, i.e. who works from the home office, has food been delivered by delivery services and meets their friends online, gives their life completely to the observation of strangers – with the smartwatch on their arm. When walking through the fresh air, the steps are counted, the route is recorded and the pulse is evaluated.
How little this bothers most people shows that misuse of the data disclosed in this way is apparently the exception rather than the rule. Passing on the data has no noticeably negative consequences for most people.
The political, societal, economic and social manipulation and abuse potential need not be explained in view of the many relevant media reports. However, the question that needs to be discussed is what role social credit systems will play in the future. The book “Social Credit Rating” seeks answers.