Tech Talk: Scary Tech
We all can list quite a few positives of our technology-driven world, but there are many innovations that are more scary than exciting. For example, thanks to technology (or the failure of it), many adults have had their personal information stolen. Every time we use a debit or credit card, the information goes into a large database so our buying behavior can be analyzed, potentially opening it up to the wrong people. And scientists now are developing microcomputers small enough to be placed in the body to aid in drug distribution in specific areas—a slightly frightening innovation! Below are a few more tech advances that may not be all fun and games.
Remember when people were concerned about subliminal messages when you played your records backward? Audio technology has advanced to the point where advertisers can use speakers like Audio Spotlight from holosonics (holosonics.com) to target messages as people walk by a specific area. The scary part? No one else is able to hear what you’re hearing—the narrow beam of sound can be controlled as precisely as light.
Many apps and smartphones use GPS to determine your location. When you take pictures, your location can be detected automatically. Snapchat has a My Locations option that allows you to see others on the app around you. Facebook always sends me notifications of friends nearby. While we might not mind our friends knowing where we are, it’s different with people we don’t know or trust. Anyone with some tech knowledge can use software like Creepy (geocreepy.com) to gather GPS locations of users from social networking platforms. Think twice about letting people track your location!
kids keep out
There are countless websites and apps that kids and teens should not use. Parents, be aware of the following:
Yellow App: This works with Snapchat to attract new friends. Stranger danger should be strongly reinforced with this.
omegle.com: An old app that keeps popping up, it randomly picks someone for you to video chat and message. It is rated 18+, which should always be a warning sign.
Houseparty: The app allows group video chatting. I see the allure but can only imagine what teens and preteens might do with it.
Lively: An app that encourages you to explore others also on the app to make friends using live video chat
Whisper.sh: An app that lets you talk with others but doesn’t require you to identify yourself
Sheila Burkett is an information technology expert and CEO of Spry Digital, an interactive design agency delivering smart digital solutions. Follow Spry Digital on Twitter (@sprydigital), Facebook (facebook.com/SpryDigital), Instagram (@sprydigital) or LinkedIn (linkedin.com/company/spry-digital-llc).