The “Surveillance Economy” is here to stay. Mega-ad agency Omnicom’s Media Pulse suggests you can forget about going off-the-grid:
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As surveillance technologies decline in cost and increase in sophistication, tracking our every day activities—from what we purchase to where we eat to how often we look at pictures of cats online—has become the norm. Recently, a BBC reporter happily disconnected by trying to go off the grid for an entire day, with mixed results; what emerged was a rather unsettling portrait of the ways in which our constant connection is exploited, and whether that mined data helps or hurts consumers in the long run.
As he embarked on his “no data diet,” technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones had a daunting task. Not only did he have to surrender all electronic devices (cell phone, computer, tablet), Jones also was forbidden from using some of the more mundane tools we don’t normally think of as trackable: his BBC identity badge (a microchip inside it monitors his entrances and exits from the office building), his travel card (which again gives away location), even the cash from his wallet (yup, banks track big notes via their serial numbers).