No hiding place (on page 17)
The protection of privacy will be a huge problem for the internet society
A cookie is a small file that a company can send to your computer when you visit the company's website. It tells them a lot about your browsing habits. Using the web without them is nearly impossible. DoubleClick, an advertising company, has agreements with over 11,000 websites and maintains cookies on 100 million users to get information about them for marketing.
Offline, the story is the same. When you turn on a mobile phone, the phone company can monitor calls and also record the location of the phone. We use more and more electronic systems for tickets, and for access to buildings. It is becoming common for employers to monitor employees' telephone calls, voicemail, email and computer use.
The use of video surveillance cameras is also growing. Britain has about 1.5 million cameras in public places (for example, airports, shopping malls and public buildings). The average Briton is recorded by CCTV cameras 300 times a day. With digital cameras we can collect, store and analyse millions of images. And this is only the beginning. Engineers are now developing cameras that can "see" through clothing, walls or cars. Satellites can recognise objects only one metre across. We can attach tracking chips to products or people.
New technology offers substantial benefits - more security against terrorists and criminals, higher productivity at work, a wider selection of products, more convenience. We are ready to give more personal information because we want the benefits.
But all this monitoring generates a mountain of data about us. Surveillance is everywhere in our society, often without our knowledge. Most people hate the idea but they do not know how to stop it.