Friday, April 24, 2009

Now You Hear Me; Now You Don't

This local news piece from WHTR about "Tapping Your Cell Phone" on how "anonymous stalkers literally took control" of a suburban family's cell phones presents an interesting form of risk communication from the popular media about the dangers of hacking. The story emphasizes the dark side of ubiquitous computing technologies that facilitate omnipresent surveillance and the fact that "your privacy isn't your privacy" with these devices. The narrative combines a horror-movie style harasser in the shadows serving as voyeur with James Bond style gadgetry in which the reporter traces his quarry's whereabouts on a digital map that he eventually coinhabits.

Of course, I am always interested to see how the rhetoric of such shows presents the individual stalker as threat but does not bother with institutional data collection as a concern for privacy advocates. I also am struck by the irony of how this story about how the efficacy of "latest spy technology for cell phones" available on the Internet will likely lead to more downloads of this illegal software from the web.

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