By David Peel
As an injury lawyer, I rely on laws that change relatively slowly over time. After all, injury law itself can be traced all the way back to the Biblical book of Deuteronomy! But the current news stories about emerging technology are far out-pacing the ability of the law to keep up.
Anyone can look up your information, type in your address and get a custom map to your home. Drones are being flown that have the ability to hover outside your window. Satellite images are so sharp and so publicly available that anyone can look into your backyard from anywhere on earth. Facial recognition technology scans your face in bus stations, airports and even some retail areas, potentially accessing a database that reveals your shopping habits, recent travels and product preferences. Every time you turn on a smart phone, you are located. Every time you use your credit card, your location and purchase are stored and in most stores your face is usually recorded on video. Google is flying balloons over remote locations trying to allow greater access to the Internet. Your emails and cellphones can be traced and stored by your government. Eye scanners that identify children by iris scans are being put in school buses, sometimes without parental consent. Services are now being deployed that sense when you walk into a shop or restaurant, scan your Facebook profile and other social media for your likes and dislikes, and text you an instant coupon in about three seconds.
What is legal and what is not? It is getting harder to say. Law cannot keep up with the changes. Think your email is private? Under the federal law, emails 180 days or older are not subject to any warrant requirement.
Frankly, the 535 members of Congress cannot seem to agree on even basic ideas, like a second grade level of budgeting that says you cannot spend more than you make for very long. Maybe we should not be surprised that it takes leaks and scandals to get anything done.
It is not surprising that sales of George Orwell’s book “1984” are climbing. We are, at least in larger U.S. cities, officially living in a surveillance society.
I think the biggest predictor of whether there is a backlash is whether we have all just decided that there is no more real privacy anyway. Apathy seems to be the flavor of the day when it comes to consumer privacy.
Peel seeks justice for those injured in car accidents, work place incidents, medical malpractice, and nursing homes. He often addresses churches, clubs and groups without charge. Peel may be reached through PeelLawFirm.com wherein other articles may be accessed.