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  • We've published a lot of stories

  • in the last year about privacy.

  • Like, a lot.

  • And almost every time we do, we

  • hear a version of the same thing.

  • "It amazes me how often I hear from people,

  • I have nothing to hide.

  • I have nothing to fear from people spying on me."

  • "I think I'm a law-abiding citizen,

  • so I'm not so worried about it.

  • Send what you've got, Big Brother."

  • In a yearlong series, we've shown you

  • how your privacy is being invaded

  • at an industrial scale.

  • "You are followed 24/7, 365 days a year."

  • "Everything you do is being watched."

  • I mean, even we're doing it to you right now.

  • Despite that, you haven't gone through the settings

  • on your phone, have you?

  • You probably don't use a VPN, and I

  • know you don't read the terms and conditions

  • before clicking Accept.

  • But while you're busy not thinking about it,

  • your private information is being raided, traded

  • and used against you in terrifying ways.

  • "I was shocked.

  • We should be very scared."

  • So ask yourself this:

  • How much of your private information

  • are you really comfortable giving away?

  • "Let me look on the internet.

  • They'll know I'm searching for it."

  • In this video, we're going to test your privacy comfort

  • level.

  • Seriously, where is your red line?

  • "They know a lot more about you

  • than you may even know about yourself."

  • Because there's a lot more at stake

  • than you think, and time is running out

  • to do anything about it.

  • "So you think you have nothing to hide?

  • You ain't seen nothing yet."

  • "Wow, I didn't even think about that."

  • "Open up Budweiser and pour yourself

  • the most inviting glass of beer you've ever tasted."

  • For a long time, advertising was an art of guesswork.

  • The madmen could only hope that you were thirsty.

  • But now, they can tell exactly how you're feeling.

  • To show you what I mean, I want

  • to tell you about a little experiment we did.

  • He's our guinea pig.

  • "Hi."

  • His name is Farhad Manjoo.

  • "I'm an opinion columnist at The New York Times

  • and I write about technology."

  • And at the start of the year, he volunteered.

  • "Well, I was asked to volunteer

  • to have all of my information tracked

  • and then, you know, publish all that in the newspaper."

  • Using a special browser, we were

  • able to see what websites Farhad visited.

  • But more importantly, what those websites

  • could see about him.

  • "So I started the day on Google and did a search.

  • And nine trackers were downloaded onto my computer."

  • Yes, trackers.

  • These are tiny text files or even just a pixel sometimes.

  • And,

  • "Trackers do what it sounds like they do.

  • They track you.

  • They can get my I.P. address or the device I'm using

  • or the screen size.

  • They were able to determine my location very precisely.

  • Next, I went to HuffPo, and I was swarmed.

  • The trackers kind of multiplied.

  • There were dozens and dozens."

  • Every site Farhad visited, the trackers followed him.

  • "Washington Post, Google, Vanity Fair."

  • By the way, you know all of this

  • is happening to you right now, don't you?

  • as you're watching this video?

  • You're just not supposed to know about it.

  • "And they're justthe trackers are

  • just kind of, you know, on my heels

  • as I go around the web."

  • O.K., so different companies know the model of your phone.

  • Big deal.

  • Well, it gets worse.

  • With all of your private data, the trackers send it away to

  • "Mostly advertising companies."

  • So there's this gigantic digital marketplace

  • where your personal information is auctioned off

  • to advertisers.

  • Your data's like one of these tuna,

  • except instead of humans arguing over you,

  • it's algorithms.

  • It all happens in a split second, every time

  • you load a web page.

  • "The fact that parts of me are being bought and sold

  • in this marketplace is very creepy."

  • The companies say this data is all

  • scattered into many little pieces

  • and so it stays anonymous.

  • But in buying and selling to each other,

  • the companies can assemble those pieces

  • and begin to build complete profiles of you.

  • "They can have kind of almost direct access

  • to your subconscious."

  • And that's where this gets kind of dark.

  • Where companies once had to hope you were in the mood

  • to buy, now they can use your data to predict your mood

  • and take advantage of it.

  • Would you be O.K. if a company could

  • tell you were depressed because of the food

  • you just ordered?

  • Or if your health insurance provider

  • could raise your premiums because it knew you skipped

  • too many days at the gym?

  • What about if your ride-share app

  • was monitoring your phone's battery?

  • There's nothing stopping them from using that information

  • to jack up prices when you're low on juice

  • and most desperate for a ride.

  • The companies have all of this information about you,

  • and legally.

  • I mean, you agreed to it in those terms and conditions

  • you didn't read.

  • It's nothing short of mind control.

  • "I often wonder when I'm using a site like Facebook,

  • whether the thoughts I'm having

  • are independent thoughts.

  • Like, was it my idea to go to this place for a vacation,

  • or was it Facebook's idea?"

  • If being tracked by a beer company

  • doesn't cross the line for you,

  • let's see how you feel when we take it up a level.

  • "Police departments use modern science

  • to protect you, such as teletype, photography."

  • The technology the police are using these days,

  • well, it's gotten a bit more sophisticated than this.

  • This next story starts in Bryant Park, Midtown New

  • York, on a Tuesday lunchtime.

  • "That day was a typical late winter day."

  • Well, not that typical.

  • Our New York Times Opinion reporters

  • were busy collecting footage from the public webcams

  • in the park.

  • We ran it through facial recognition software,

  • and that software, it scans nearly 3,000

  • faces in the footage and matched them

  • against a collection of publicly available images.

  • And it didn't take long to find a match.

  • "That is me."

  • For this guy.

  • "I'm Dr. Richard Madonna.

  • I'm a professor at the SUNY College of Optometry.

  • I had an email and a voice mail from The New York Times.

  • What it said was, were you in Bryant Park last Tuesday

  • at 1 o'clock?

  • So I went to my calendar, and sure enough, it

  • said, 1 o'clock, Bryant Park Grill."

  • In case you're wondering, all of this is legal,

  • and the software cost us less than $100 on Amazon.

  • "That was a little spooky."

  • Now anyone can collect the biometric information

  • of members of the public and dig into their lives.

  • "There was a picture of the side

  • of my head taken from above.

  • Clearly, it was enough to identify with my website

  • picture, which was actually taken probably

  • six or seven years ago."

  • Now, maybe this is news to you,

  • but law enforcement agencies figured this out

  • 20 years ago.

  • Today, they've got access to photographs

  • of tens of millions of Americans.

  • Images they run against descriptions of suspects

  • thousands of times a year.

  • Researchers have told us there's

  • a 50-50 chance your face is in that database.

  • So what happens when someone who looks a bit like you

  • commits a crime?

  • Does it bother you that the photo from your driver's

  • license puts you in an infinite police lineup?

  • Do public spaces feel the same

  • when you know you can't escape surveillance?

  • Now, obviously, this technology comes

  • with potential benefits, like catching criminals.

  • But never before have law enforcement agencies

  • had powers like this.

  • And right now, there's no legislation

  • that puts a limit on it.

  • So have we reached your comfort level yet?

  • Maybe you are O.K. with companies manipulating

  • your emotions and your face being in a police database.

  • Fine.

  • But let's try taking this up just one more level.

  • This guy knew what it was like to live

  • under constant surveillance.

  • For more than a decade, F.B.I. agents

  • dug into his private life,

  • wiretapped his home and his hotel rooms.

  • Except, of course, Martin Luther King Jr.

  • was no criminal.

  • He was just advocating for civil rights.

  • The government didn't like that,

  • so they went looking for information to discredit him.

  • "Governments have always been looking at people.

  • That's not something that's new."

  • This is Kara Swisher, by the way.

  • "I'm a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times

  • and I'm a longtime technology journalist.

  • Anytime the government can overreach

  • in terms of surveilling citizenry,

  • they have done in the history of the world."

  • And the last time?

  • It wasn't that long ago.

  • "New details on that whistle-blower who

  • leaked top-secret documents —"

  • "Uncovering a massive government surveillance

  • program of phone records and internet use —"

  • "When you call Grandma in Nebraska, the N.S.A. knows."

  • "You know, a lot of people were

  • surprised that the government was surveilling its citizens

  • so extensively.

  • I wasn't.

  • What I think was surprising about what this stuff that

  • Edward Snowden revealed was how extensive

  • the government's surveillance

  • was."

  • Extensive?

  • The government had spent a whole decade

  • reading the metadata on your emails, your texts

  • and your phone calls.

  • "There's an expression: Why rob a bank?

  • Well, that's where the money is.

  • There's never been a time in history

  • when more information about you

  • was available because of information you willingly

  • give up."

  • And this hasn't stopped, by the way.

  • The Patriot Act, which contains all these powers,

  • was quietly renewed again at the end of 2019.

  • "Can you imagine today, the ability

  • to track Martin Luther King just if he had a

  • cellphone, just if he appeared at a hotel,

  • just if he moved through the world?"

  • Just imagine today's surveillance technology

  • in the hands of J. Edgar Hoover's F.B.I.

  • They could have identified protesters, published