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Big Brother Is Watching: 4 Digital Apps That May Be Infringe Privacy

Think back to your high school English class. Remember George Orwell’s 1984? When you were 16, his vision of the future seemed pretty farfetched. Big Brother, the government leader, watching everyone over telescreens? Get real, dude! But several decades later, the idea of someone manipulating media power to gather personal information doesn’t seem quite so outlandish. In fact, Orwell’s vision is beginning to look somewhat prophetic.

Consider an article by the Huffington Post listing some of the creepiest mobile and online apps out there. Some of them, like the Butt Analyzer, are really too funny to be threatening. This app allows you to analyze the hotness rating of any butt on a scale of 1 to 10. All you have to do is take a picture and trace the contour of the butt with your finger.

Moronic? Yes. (Though admit it – you’re wondering about your own rear-end hotness.) But it’s not exactly scary.

There are plenty of apps that truly are frightening, though. Consider the Girls Around Me iphone app, which allows both men and women to check out pictures of people in their vicinity using Facebook information and location check-ins from Foursquare. Needless to say, these people didn’t know their pictures were being viewed in this way. After objectors raised concerns about stalking, the app was removed. Not every app has been pulled, however. What about Spy Guide, an app for Android and iphone available from Bustedbooks.com? The app gives users detailed instructions about how to spy on someone else’s text messages, emails, computers, phone calls, etc. And then there’s the aptly named computer app Creepy, which pulls all available information and pictures about a person and puts them on a map. The app was designed to raise public awareness about Internet safety and being cautious about how much personal information you put online. However good its intentions, the fact is, it is a public app that allows anyone to use that information. The potential for privacy infringement is alarming.

It seems that the makers of these apps are just waiting for a lawsuit. A person could certainly open a legitimate personal injury claim for emotional duress and privacy infringement caused by these applications. In addition, sex offenders could certainly take advantage of these programs, leading not only to personal injury suits but to sex crime cases, as well. So it seems that George Orwell was right: Big Brother may not be watching you, but someone – whether it’s your neighbor, your ex, your colleague, your professional rival, or even your mother-in-law – very well could be. The future is here.

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