Top 4 Most Dangerous Technologies That Threaten Your Privacy

The advances in technology over the past half a decade are incredible. But, unfortunately, that fast pace of growth means that not all of our technologies are as safe as they could be. From hackable Internet of Things devices to public Wi-Fi, here are the top four most dangerous technologies that threaten your privacy.

1. Unsecured baby monitors

Baby monitors these days allow parents to watch their babies in bed, even when they’re not home. It’s a great convenience for worried parents — but it’s also one that is vulnerable to hacking. There have been multiple reports of criminals gaining control of baby monitors, including one where a man threatened to kidnap the baby and another where a baby monitor was being moved to look at a couple’s bed while they slept.

Hacked baby monitors strike a particularly scary cord because they involve our most vulnerable, but sweeping the internet for unsecured cameras is pretty commonplace at this point. And as Internet of Things (IoT) devices gain in popularity, we’re introducing an increasing number of potentially hackable devices to our homes. Not only can criminals access devices to surveil the home, but they can also use them to gain access to the home Wi-Fi network and therefore to even more sensitive data.

2. Facial recognition

Facial recognition technology is advancing rapidly, in no small part due to the fact that many people voluntarily participate in training it on social media and other online services. But facial recognition can be used for a whole lot more than just identifying your friends on Facebook.

In combination with increased video surveillance in public spaces — from both government and private sources — facial recognition technology can already be used to identify people in the public sphere. In the future, it could potentially be used more thoroughly by law enforcement, border control, or even employers looking to dig up dirt on employees or potential employees.

3. E-payments

Obviously more than cash but even more than credit cards, payment apps like Venmo track your buying and selling activity. They also sell that data to advertisers.

With credit cards, which are more commonly used, there’s the risk of being prosecuted for certain payments. That’s a potential threat faced by Canadians who legally purchase cannabis in their home country and are concerned that credit cards payments could be cause for them to be detained at the border when they cross into the US.

4. Public Wi-Fi

Public Wi-Fi — which is any network that is accessible to a large number of people, even if you need to ask for a password to access it — has made the internet more accessible worldwide. It’s also, however, highly insecure and therefore prone to attacks from cyber criminals. No one should ever access a site that requires inputting and transmitting personal information — like usernames and passwords — on public Wi-Fi, unless they’re using a VPN.

Of course, these four are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to privacy-threatening technologies — and more are being developed every day. That’s why it’s up to each individual to be cautious about the new technologies they introduce into their lives, and for all of us to demand ethical accountability from tech companies.

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