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  Opinion   Edit  13 Apr 2024  AA Edit | Big Brother watches us all

AA Edit | Big Brother watches us all

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Apr 13, 2024, 1:00 am IST
Updated : Apr 13, 2024, 1:00 am IST

Apple's cautionary message underscores the pervasive threat of spyware in today's digital landscape.

Apple's warning prompts reflection on the extent of surveillance in the modern digital era. (Photo by AFP)
 Apple's warning prompts reflection on the extent of surveillance in the modern digital era. (Photo by AFP)

Apple’s warning to iPhone users in at least 92 countries that a Pegasus-style mercenary spyware that can infiltrate the devices from afar, perhaps with just a missed call, serves as a reminder how vulnerable people are to being spied upon. 

In the modern age, the ubiquitous cell phone is in such universal use as to have become the handiest device to track conversations as well as movement of users. While some may feel important enough to believe that they are being tracked anyway, the lay person who loves his privacy and dreads being “followed” might feel strangled by the very possibility of a spy he carries on his person.

Apple believes that the hardware and programs supporting such a mainframe to let loose spying capability may target only the most vulnerable like leaders, politicians, media-persons and the like. That is because they are so expensive to buy and set up and some of the best equipment in the “tapping” business like the NSO Group’s Pegasus might not be available to anyone but State representatives.

No one in the modern age is invulnerable to being “followed” for whatever reasons. However, those in leadership positions in industry and in politics have long been aware of the possibility of their being spied upon and may have acted already to try and defend themselves.

The Telangana spying scandal that is just unravelling helped put the spotlight on how thorough a State player can be in this matter of keeping tabs on people with their well-staffed intelligence units.

Tapping the old landline was a laborious process, governed by judicial oversight, but today’s spying is so sophisticated that no prominent person can assume that he is not a target of someone who has a need, most of all Big Brother, to watch him.

Add all other devices like TV and other smart devices in everyday use and each person is probably a victim already of being a target of surveillance. It is a price of modernity that privacy has become secondary with devices invading people at will in the digital age.

Tags: aa edit, pegasus, surveillance