“Opting out” is a myth | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

“Opting out” is a myth

Consider a day in the life of a fairly ordinary person in a large city in a stable, democratically governed country. They are not in prison or institutionalized, nor are they a dissident or an enemy of the state, yet they live in a condition of permanent and total surveillance unprecedented in its precision and intimacy.

As soon as they leave their apartment, they are on camera: while in the hallway and the elevator of their building, when using the ATM outside their bank, while passing shops and waiting at crosswalks, while in the subway station and on the train—and all that before lunch. A montage of nearly every move of their life in the city outside their apartment could be assembled, and each step accounted for. But that montage would hardly be necessary: Their mobile phone, in the course of its ordinary operation of seeking base stations and antennas to keep them connected as they walk, provides a constant log of their position and movements.

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