Bonum Certa Men Certa

Sleeping With the Enemy: 'Bed Bugs' Or How Surveillance is Creeping Into Our Bedrooms (and Beds)

Man in sleeping pose

Summary: We need to tackle the fashionable consumption of "goods" which basically help spy on citizens, based on false assumptions of benefit to oneself

THE highly infectious (and potentially lethal) virus that circulates through every nation at the moment compelled many people to carry around spying devices and report lots of things to the government, either directly or through corporations that amass data and share it with the government (either periodically, in its totality, or selectively upon demand).

"The perceived benefits are minuscule compared to the real and long-term dangers."This post is not about the virus and it's not about the nature of the passage of data (this is well documented and moreover backed by high-quality evidence such as leaked policy documents). This post is about the silly gimmicks which promise to enhance "safety", "health", and "fitness". Those things aren't new, but they were popularised about 3 years ago and piggybacked COVID-19 for a sense of urgency. Those things not only track people inside gyms but also in their private homes, sometimes in their beds (no kidding! I saw some people who had fallen for it and didn't mind trading their privacy for silly and mostly meaningless figures/graphs, even 4-5 years ago). These devices are small, but the harm they can do is enormous; they ship lots of data (surveillance with consent) over cell towers, Wi-Fi, and reportedly radar too (there are some reports about Amazon's ambitions with the latter [1, 2] -- remember that Bezos sought to spy on Amazon staff with bracelets that are like ankle cuffs).

Woman in sleeping poseAre people trying to impress anyone other than themselves? Surrendering one's life to those small monsters (which send gigabytes of data for no practical benefit to the carriers/wearers) isn't a sign of "smartness" but of gullibility. Such "sleep radars" do nothing to improve sleep, just monitor and report (e.g. to insurance companies). Do we want to live in a dystopian society like whatever Bill Gates envisaged and promoted a decade ago? Whether it's Jeff Bezos or Gates or the soul of Steve Jobs, all those malicious things ought to be rejected. They're a form of espionage for people dumb enough to say, "THIS IS COOL! I WANT THIS!"

Suffice to say, this view is relevant or applicable not only to things that spy on people in their sleep. Any of these devices that broadcast data about a person to third parties are very bad trade-offs. The perceived benefits are minuscule compared to the real and long-term dangers. For entertainment's sake, below are two clips from Enemy of The State (1998).

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