Is your technology tracking you? Raytheon, the fifth-largest defense contractor in the world, has developed a system that tracks people online through social media sites like Twitter and Facebook.
Their Rapid Information Overlay Technology (RIOT) software uses location data embedded in your photos and other online postings to track your movements and personal activities. The more you check-in or post on social media sites, the more location data you leave for them to follow. Raytheon has not sold RIOT to any clients yet, but it has received permission from the U.S. government to export the software.
While RIOT is not yet spying on you, your iPhone might be. A privacy setting allows it to track the latitude and longitude of your photos, sending the encoded information with the photo when it is uploaded to a social sharing site.
And Homeland Security is paying attention to you as well. According to the Electronic Privacy Information Center, DHS officials are watching for search terms in our social media that may detect terrorism, natural disasters, or public health threats. If you complain on Facebook that you are “sick,” tell your friends to “watch” a certain TV show, or tweet about your recent vacation to “Mexico” or a shopping trip to “Target,” Homeland Security may have noticed.
Technology has made us more and less secure, at the same time. We are better protected from airport terrorists, but at the cost of intrusive body scans. We are more aware of threats, but monitors are more aware of us.
Two conclusions follow. One: the Judge of the universe knows us better than any security firm ever will. Scripture is clear: “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13).
Two: our ultimate security is in God alone. David knew what it was to face threats to his life and security, from his battle with Goliath to his conflicts with King Saul. Here was his response: “Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken” (Psalm 62:5-6).
If you knew God were reading your thoughts right now, how would you change them? If you knew God was the fortress for your fears, how would you face them?