Everyday that I read the news, I end up scratching my head and wondering what in the world some people are thinking. Specifically, I’m talking about people who objectify governments and government intervention in our lives as if it is the hand of some benevolent god who can only do good things for us.
For anyone reading this who thinks that way: you’re wrong.
Anyone who has done even a minor study of history knows that governments always (and I do mean always) end up power-hungry, out-of-control, wicked parents who do more harm than good. Which is why a new smartphone app is simply baffling.
The app is being designed by a company called CARROT is being funded by the Ontario, Canada government (which means some left-leaning Congress-person will be pushing for it anytime now). The app is designed to “reward” users with points for making “smart” choices in areas such as their health, finances, etc. That, in and of itself, isn’t a bad thing (well, the funding source is a problem, but trying to live healthier and wiser is smart). The bad part is the other stuff that the app does. Josie Wales gives us details:
In order to use the app, users are giving Carrot Insights and the federal government permission to “access and collect information from your mobile device, including but not limited to, geo-location data, accelerometer/gyroscope data, your mobile device’s camera, microphone, contacts, calendar and Bluetooth connectivity in order to operate additional functionalities of the Services.”
Oh, and if you’re a paranoid type of person who still wants to use this app but thinks that you can get around this data gathering by turning the app off, you still don’t want to use this app. The app collects this data for the government even when the user isn’t using the app. And there is a precedent from oppressive governments to use this information in ways that harm their citizens. Wales writes again,
While still voluntary, the Carrot app is eerily similar to social credit systems in China, which not only offer rewards for compliance but also punishments for “trust-breakers,” who may face “penalties on subsidies, career progression, asset ownership and the ability to receive honorary titles from the Chinese government.” Though current applications of the social credit systems are unconnected, there has been a push in the country to combine them into one government-run program. [emphasis in original]
This is scary stuff, and there are certain people in our government who will want to control people this way, too, as soon as they are aware of it. Big Brother will literally be watching you.
What other apps do you find disturbing? Tell us below.