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  • Priyanka Bal

There is No Such Thing as True Privacy in the Digital Age.

Updated: Jan 14

The latest technologies and sophisticated applications are meant to add comfort to our lives. There is no denying the fact that right from transferring money from bank accounts to ordering grocery items—everything is now centered around just a touch of the phone. We thoroughly enjoy this comfort and have become almost dependent on such applications. One of the most popular applications that finds a place in almost every smartphone user’s device is WhatsApp, a highly user-friendly instant chat messaging application, which has become an integral part of our regular life.

Most of us must be thinking about why should it be a concern for us—the common people? If we are clean and not famous, then there’s no way this is going to affect us. So, for all those, it is crucial to understand that most of us who are active on any social media platforms would not only face an intrusion into our personal space but also, this will readily turn the entire country into a ‘Surveillance State’—because spies can deploy the malware on a cellphone by getting the user to click on an “exploit link”, or even through a missed WhatsApp video call. They can even turn on the phone’s camera and microphone to capture activity in its vicinity, according to the report.

WhatsApp claimed that the smartphones were penetrated through missed calls alone. So apparently, this can be implemented on any WhatsApp user instantly, using the Pegasus. As a citizen of the digital era, one can become a soft target easily to such spying, which could reveal their entire personal details. Details like opinions, preferences, personal information such as a home address, bank details, etc.—all can be obtained from just with a click.

If spying has to be done, then why choose those who voice their opinion for the public good? Why not put people who are actually a threat to society under surveillance? Isn’t this a clear indication that those who have the upper hand in criticizing the government have been made vulnerable victims? So besides the right to privacy, the right to dissent in a democracy is also on the verge of complete suppression by the government. And if you think that those who are apolitical would be spared easily, it would be wrong because we are still unaware of whether our own phones have been hacked or not, yet.

According to the leaked documents, the CIA discovered and kept secret 14 methods of exploiting Apple devices. Those vulnerabilities are known as zero-day attacks, meaning they pounce on security defects unknown even to the company itself and, therefore, have no known fix.Apple said in a statement that most of those issues were already fixed in its latest software update; those that weren’t were being quickly addressed, it said.

The spy agency also collected 24 “weaponized” zero-day exploits against Android devices, the documents said. Google, the creator of Android operating systems, did not respond to a request for comment.Of course, some of these same companies have been embroiled in controversies over how they use and collect consumer data.Google, which was sued for its practice of scanning Gmail users’ emails for advertising purposes, agreed to modify its own use of data following a lawsuit in 2010.

Statements like “if we are clean, then why are we afraid?”, has no validity at all. This entire matter raises a critical question: how detrimental can advanced technologies be? It seems the education and skills are more likely to be misused than being implemented adequately for the better! To me, this looks so much like a dead-end, wherein, we are clueless and cannot do anything to stop our important details from getting leaked. This will not come as a surprise if we see money getting robbed from bank accounts someday or maybe our photo identity revealed at inappropriate places! Unfortunately, privacy could be a thing of the past in this country altogether.