“Big Brother is watching you” has become unfortunately literal with news that was recently revealed regarding the BC government.
According to Business In Vancouver, the BC government has been intentionally intercepting bluetooth signals from drivers on Highway 91 and Highway 99. The Ministry of Transportation also admitted that this was happening on HIghway 14 and Highway 1 on Vancouver Island.
The government says that they’re doing this to study traffic patterns, particularly vehicle speeds.
The Ministry of Transportation says data they collect contains no details that can be traced to individuals. They also claim that there is no risk of data breaches.
Bluetooth technology allow devices to wirelessly communicate with one another and exchange data. Your smartphone has bluetooth. If you can wirelessly connect your phone to your car, that means your car has bluetooth, too.
This news comes in the same month where small cameras were found hidden in bus shelters in downtown Vancouver, although the BC government was not involved. Outfront Media, the company that produces the bus shelters, has said that those cameras are non-operational.
However, the problem with technology is that somebody somewhere will always find a way to use it in a way that it wasn’t intended to be used. It may not be the government, but it could be someone else.
BC Privacy Laws
As we mentioned in the hidden camera story, BC’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and Personal Information Protection Act means you have the following rights:
- Collection: There are rules that govern who can collect your personal information, how they can collect it, and when and how you must be informed.
- Use: You have the right to know how and why your personal information is being used, and it must only be used for the same purpose for which it was collected.
- Disclosure: Your personal information can only be released in very particular circumstances that require lawful authority.
- Protection: Organizations and public bodies that have collected your personal information must secure it against unauthorized access. You have the right to know who is responsible for protecting your personal information, and who can answer your questions.
- Correction: You have the right to ensure that your personal information being used by organizations and public bodies is correct. You also have the right to request a correction.
To turn off bluetooth in your smartphone, directly go to your phone’s settings. Oftentimes turning off bluetooth via shortcuts, such as iOS’s Control Center, will not actually turn it off.
Big Brother is watching you. In this case, somewhat literally.
For more local Metro Vancouver news, stay tuned to our 604 Now News section.
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