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Additionally, the devices that gather information about others that may subsequently be used for covert surveillance today are not relegated to government alone, as presented in the novel 1984. Anyone, including children, who owns a cell phone, tablet, or notebook computer generally has access to still and video cameras, microphones used for recording purposes and other technologies used for to capture images and visual and audio footage included as part of these types of mobile technology platforms. People routinely take pictures and record video of people who are aware or unaware that they are being recorded, uploading the information in order to share it with what is often a large social network. Once online, these images can be re shared indefinitely and thus, are available publicly to practically anyone with a Facebook or other social networking free membership. They can also be edited and re edited to inaccurately represent the individual and the individual’s actions and presence in a variety of locations. This data along with that provided by public records or anything that an individual has listed for any purpose online is also collected by pay for information sites. These
sites then summarize the information obtained and provide reports with the resulting details which may or may not be accurate for use to individuals who may be checking on people they date, potential roommates and to determine is possible sexual offenders may live nearby. While the public is made aware of the use of their personal data for legitimate and abusive purposes, it does not stop people from continuing to enter personal information in online forms and to publicly share information about themselves and others. Although this information may lead to increased convenience such as through
targeted ads and local search results, public sharing has led to such long lasting abuses as identity theft. Identity theft involves the false assumption of another individuals identity through use of the their readily available personal information in order to gain access to bank accounts, credit cards and other financial information usually for financial benefit. Some people whose identity has been stolen have become bankrupt, had criminal charges made against them, and the victim hours spent in repairing the damage from the theft as well as the inability to clear negative records have resulted in additional long term distress and other negative outcomes.