Privacy Is Threatened Today… Just Wait Until Tomorrow!
Nestmann Group, Ltd.
by Mark Nestmann: Growing
Numbers of Tax Refugees Exit USA – Permanently
Only a century
ago, most people were known only by name and occupation. Records
of your great-grandparents existence were likely limited to
birth records, baptismal records, death records, census records,
the purchase of a home, and perhaps the payment of property tax.
Even this information was generally filed and forgotten, because
of the considerable expense involved in paying clerks to organize
could purchase primitive telephones, automobiles, and electric appliances,
if they could afford them. However, no systematic recordkeeping
existed of the phone calls they made or where they drove in their
vehicle. Of course, no cell phones existed, no Internet, and no
biometric tools to identify anyone other than basic fingerprinting.
from 1912 to 2012, and we enter a very different era. Here are a
few examples from my files:
biometric systems. Here in Arizona, police and sheriffs departments
statewide have rolled out a system called the Mobile Offender
Recognition and Information System, or MORIS. This is a device
that slides over an iPhone. An officer simply snaps a photo of your
face and runs the image through software that hunts for a match
in a criminal records database. MORIS can scan your face up to four
feet away, potentially without you being aware of it. Naturally,
the law doesnt consider this a search, and you
need not consent to this intrusion.
You can probably
see where this headed. Eventually, youll be able to point
your cell phone at strangers walking down the street, and MORIS-like
software will eventually identify them and perhaps even call up
Facebook postings and publicly available data.
scanners. Police across the United States have also introduced portable
devices to read the license plates of every vehicle that passes
by. The scanners can read nearly 2,000 license plates each minute.
A transmitter sends your plate number to a database to be instantly
cross-referenced with the plate numbers of known offenders. If youre
wanted in connection with any offense, police are dispatched to
pull over your vehicle and detain you.
The law doesnt
consider this a search, either. The courts have held that operating
a motor vehicle is a privilege and not a right. If you drive on
a public highway, you implicitly consent to this type of surveillance.
sees through walls. New technology makes it possible for someone
to use your wi-fi signal to follow your movements around your own
home. It works by measuring the frequency changes when the wi-fi
signal bounces off a moving object you, in this case. Wi-fi
radar remains experimental, but it can already measure your location,
speed, and direction of movement through a one-foot-thick brick
wall. Eventually this technology will be used for applications ranging
from spotting intruders in a home to identifying combatants in urban
warfare. It could even permit surveillance while you sleep by measuring
movements of your ribcage each time you take a breath.
Is this a search?
Perhaps not, because police could argue that by using a wi-fi signal
to communicate with the outside world via the Internet, you have
a lowered expectation of privacy for how someone else uses that
signal outside your home.
the human brain. Researchers have demonstrated that using off-the-shelf
hardware, they can literally read your mind. In an experiment, researchers
equipped volunteers with a headset that can detect and process brain
waves. Then, they showed the volunteers a series of images, including
photos of banks, card PINs, etc. The researchers found that the
volunteers brains leaked data that was considerably
less random than the data released when the volunteers werent
viewing the images. Eventually, researchers believe the technology
can be refined so that an interrogator can learn where you live,
where you bank, and even obtain the PINs to your financial accounts
simply by showing you a series of suggestive images.
In the future,
you may not need to say anything to incriminate yourself. Police
may simply place a headset on you and then ask you a series of questions.
Does the right to silence apply to mind-reading? Time
All of these
trends point to less and less privacy in the future. My only suggestion
to mitigate their impact is to live as your great-grandparents did,
without vehicles, without the Internet or wi-fi, and course, without
headsets that can monitor your brainwave activity. Even that may
not be enough, once face recognition software becomes widespread
on smartphones. Closing social media accounts and not posting photos
on the Internet will at least minimize the information curious passers-by
can retrieve by surreptitiously taking your photo.
this can lead to another set of problems: some psychologists say
staying away from social media is suspicious. After
all, neither James Holmes (accused of murdering 12 people in a Colorado
theater earlier this month) nor Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik
had a Facebook profile. Is not joining Facebook a sign youre
For most of
us, though, living as our great-grandparents did simply isnt
practical. We consent to greater surveillance of our daily lives
simply by living in the modern world.
How do you
react to modern threats to privacy? Please share your thoughts!
Nestmann [send him mail]
is a journalist with more than 20 years of investigative experience
and is a charter member of The
Sovereign Society’s Council of Experts. He has authored over
a dozen books and many additional reports on wealth preservation,
privacy and offshore investing. Mark serves as president of his
own international consulting firm, The
Nestmann Group, Ltd. The Nestmann Group provides international
wealth preservation services for high-net worth individuals. Mark
is an Associate Member of the American Bar Association (member of
subcommittee on Foreign Activities of U.S. Taxpayers, Committee
on Taxation) and member of the Society of Professional Journalists.
In 2005, he was awarded a Masters of Laws (LL.M) degree in international
tax law at the Vienna (Austria) University of Economics and Business
© 2012 Mark
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