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The Death of Privacy in the Digital Age

I love to hear people debating about whether or not one of the various COVID-19 vaccinations available today will inject you with a microchip that will steal your thoughts and send all your information to Bill Gates. Mostly, it’s just the sheer futility of such a thought: the iPhone has been around since 2007, and ever since, it’s been (not so) secretly keeping tabs on all of the things you do, the sites you visit, the places you go.

From where I sit right now (my desk), the concept of “privacy” as it once was is simply gone. Sure, I’m alone in my house so no one can physically see whatever I’m getting up to (oh no, blogging!), but digitally, I’m constantly leaving a trail of breadcrumbs that just about anyone with a computer and moderate technical know-how can follow.

After all, social media can be used to easily identify where and when a post happens, allowing virtually anyone to locate you physically. Targeted ad “experiences” scan your search history to tailor your “personalized” results, peddling some schlock that you probably already purchased. Heck, even Snapchat uses astrology information to pinpoint your birthday, which is terrifying in its own right.

Unfortunately, however, by simply existing in this day and age, we’ve all signed an unwritten social contract that opens every one of us up to this level of presence, and on a global scale. We may not have asked for it, but like it or not, keeping your life under wraps on the Internet is next to impossible.

Pegasus Pisses Me Off

This brings us to Pegasus. Created for “counterterrorism” purposes by the Israeli NSO group, the tool acts like malware that is loaded onto a mobile device to skim just about every activity that happens on the device. Unlike the tracking that happens when we use the Internet, we did NOT sign anything unwritten to be a part of Pegasus.

In fact, Pegasus is not only out there, ready and able to skim your phone, but it’s going to the highest bidder. Literally anyone can purchase Pegasus and use it to peep on people’s most personal digital communications with ease. This, understandably, frustrates the hell out of most anyone, and especially frustrates my good friend, Tom Hollingsworth.

After calling Pegasus out in an episode of the Gestalt IT News Rundown, Hollingsworth, understandably filled with rage, took to his personal blog, Networking Nerd, to further expound on the dastardly tool. He writes:

The escalation of digital espionage is only going to increase. In the US we already have political leaders calling on manufacturers and developers to create special backdoors for law enforcement to use to detect criminals and arrest them as needed. This is along the same lines as Pegasus, just formalized and legislated. It’s a terrible idea. If the backdoor is created it will be misused. Count on that. Even if the people that developed it never intended to use it improperly someone without the same moral fortitude will eventually

Unfortunately, folks, Pegasus isn’t going away anytime soon, and although we already practically signed away our privacy just by merely existing in today’s digital world, there are ways to combat the tool on your personal device. You can find more information on it here, and be sure to read all of Pegasus Pisses Me Off by Tom Hollingsworth to fully understand what a terrible thing Pegasus is.

About the author

Zach DeMeyer

Zach is the Technical/Content Writer at Gestalt IT with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines. A storyteller at heart, he loves being on the cutting edge of new technology and telling the world about it. When he's not working, he enjoys all things outdoors, music, and soccer.