I have told this story before, but 2 years ago we had British Gas come round to quote us on a new boiler. He asked if I wanted the Hive thermostat which I promptly said no to. He was a bit shocked, asked why I said no when usually everyone wants them. I said if I can turn the heating up in my home from my phone, some other jackass could too.
The other week it came out that the Amazon Door Bell webcam thing could be stopped from working, allowing whoever is around to just happily waltz in your home and steal your TV. The most outrageous thing about that was people have actually bought this device!
A few days ago I'm speaking to the wife's friend about Christmas and she said she's bought her fella an Amazon Alexa thing from Black Friday:
Me: "Why do you want that thing listening in to your conversations?"
Her: "It doesn't, it only comes on when you ask it to."
Me: "But it has to be listening to everything in your conversation in order to know you've called it."
Her: ".... Why are you so paranoid? We don't talk about anything interesting."
That, right there, is the problem. Joe Public thinks their conversations are so boring they're not worth listening to. Their lives are so mundane that no one would possibly want to watch them on a webcam. They're not important enough to have someone spy on their baby cams or baby's toys while their child plays with them. If you raise the issue with them, they think you're paranoid. "What have YOU got to hide? What have YOU done that you don't want anyone to find out about? Are YOU a terrorist or a child molester or both?".
At the risk of losing whatever argument on the internet this might generate, I have to bring in the Nazi's as an example. It's that exact context, that exact line of thought that led to millions losing their livelihoods, homes, their life and ultimately their existence through death camps. All because of the line "If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear", something William Hauge came out with a few years ago when talking about the snoopers charter.
While I am optimistic that the tide will change against all of this privacy erosion, realistically it's far too late to be worrying about it now. The damage is done. The youth of today have been sucked in to it. Blind ignorance is bliss to them, so why would they bother to step outside the room for a moment and wonder whether corporations and governments should be doing what they're doing.
Me? Well I'll continue to use my laptop with the webcam taped over and the front facing camera on my phone covered until I can upgrade to something more prehistoric.