An interesting thread

By on July 7th, 2017 in Articles, Privacy & Security

All web sites such as this, that permit feedback, comments, etc., get some amount of “SPAM” (with apologies to Hormel) … Technology and Society is no exception. Some of these comments are clearly promoting specific products, or other things well outside of our range of topics. However a few seem to be seeking, or providing, information on tracking or stalking persons on the web.

“How can I change my girlfriend’s smartphone so I know where she is all of the time?” paraphrases one such query. “This fellow, <name removed>, helped me track my wife on the Internet and confirm she was cheating.” This second example has a foot in both camps — advocating stalking and promoting a particular service.

There is an interesting cultural bias here. “Modern” culture in the U.S. treats women as humans, with the same autonomy and rights as men. (Clearly U.S. history does not reflect this current understanding.) And various events in the U.S. have made many of us, including me, aware of the risks that individuals face from stalking activities — independent of gender (see 2015 related arrest situation). Finally, the Internet, web and many of our apps and tools do track us in painful detail (locations, contacts, purchases, etc.) with mostly legal “corporate stalking” when “individual stalking” is disparaged. Other cultures have different views of privacy, gender roles/equality, etc. So the impact of tracking technology, explicit (reporting GPS to a monitoring system) or implicit (every credit card purchase or other ID use as you move “freely” about) will be judged differently in different jurisdictions.