• Ben Makuch hosts Cyberwar on SBS VICELAND. (SBS VICELAND)Source: SBS VICELAND
Hey Siri, why do you need my fingerprints, face, location and search history?
Simon Vandore

17 Nov 2017 - 10:26 AM  UPDATED 17 Nov 2017 - 12:03 PM

You love being watched.  

There are cameras and microphones on your laptop, your tablet, your phone and in every public place. You let your devices upload your fingerprints or scan your face.

Maybe you have Siri, Google Home or Amazon Alexa, which record and upload everything they hear (in the name of learning how to serve you). Many apps track where you go and when. Do you really know when they switch the mic and camera on?

You’re chatting in the next room and a device suddenly says “I’m sorry, I didn’t quite catch that”. Did you know it was trying to listen?

Once upon a time, this would have been a dystopian nightmare. Now people buy it for $199 and install it in their bedrooms.

Many still seem more concerned that the state is watching through fixed CCTV. But most of us now leave dense electronic trails that are far more revealing – and the state, especially the United States, may already have yours, even if you’re Australian.

In 2013, former US government contractor Edward Snowden revealed classified information showing that America’s National Security Agency (NSA) had its hands on everyone’s private data.

Intelligence agencies had secretly partnered with companies to spy on users, via backdoors into email, chat services and location data. There was outrage in the US, as the law prevents authorities tracking citizens without a warrant.

But what about non-Americans, especially US allies like Australians? We don’t count. The average person on an Australian street is still a legitimate target for US spooks, with absolutely no protection under the US Constitution.

Now there are hackers trying to fight back, exposing the level of surveillance that’s still going on and trying to block it. Cyberwar on SBS VICELAND demonstrates what they do and reveals the extent to which we may all be under a watchful, waiting eye.


Learn more about threats to your privacy in Cyberwar, Thursdays at 8:30pm on SBS VICELAND.

Watch the latest episode at SBS On Demand:

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