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A stranger might now be watching me

A CCTV camera on the new U.S. Embassy in London
A CCTV camera on the new U.S. Embassy in London. Photo: Richard Baker / In Pictures via Getty Images

"They Are Watching You — and Everything Else on the Planet Technology and our increasing demand for security have put us all under surveillance," by Robert Draper in National Geographic's February issue.

Why it matters: "Our smartphones, our Internet searches, and our social media accounts are giving away our secrets. Gus Hosein, the executive director of Privacy International, notes that 'if the police wanted to know what was in your head in the 1800s, they would have to torture you. Now they can just find it out from your devices.'"

  • "More than 1,700 satellites monitor our planet. From a distance of about 300 miles, some of them can discern a herd of buffalo or the stages of a forest fire. From outer space, a camera clicks and a detailed image of the block where we work can be acquired by a total stranger."
  • "Simultaneously, on that very same block, we may well be photographed at unsettlingly close range perhaps dozens of times daily, from lenses we may never see, our image stored in databases for purposes we may never learn."
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