''ONLY the paranoid survive'' : That was, of course, the motto made famous by INTEL'S legendary founder and former chief executive, Andy Grove, who later turned the line into a book that was actually being hypervigilant as in inevitable ''crisis points'' occur at your company.

Mr. Grove so much trouble in becoming lax, especially after triumph. ''Business success contains the seeds of its own destruction,'' wrote the canny entrepreneur who immigrated from Hungary having escaped Nazi death camps and later Soviet oppression.

''Success breeds complacency, Complacency breeds failure.''

It's still a good piece of advice., but these days it seems as though there is an entirely new way of reading that line when it comes to a different issue in tech : 

The surveillance economy that continues to spread like a virus world-wide, even as consumers are less aware than ever of its implications.

That includes me, who should know better. I have two-factor authentication. I cover my camera lens on my computer.

I redo all my security settings regularly. And, if you read any of my columns this year, you know I am wary of - you might even say mean about - various consumer abuses by giant social-media companies, search behemoths and testosterone jacked e-commerce companies.
INDEED, anyone who wants to spy needs very little, as all of us continue availing ourselves to tech's many wonders while promiscuously shedding our data.

That much was clear in the eye opening investigation of smartphones by Times Opinion in December called ''One Nation Tracked''.

The Opinion report was even more dire than the TikTok story; One dataset of 12 million phones with 50 billion location pings from a basic location data company showed clearly that there is no such thing as privacy. At All. Ever.

Not on the beaches of Southern California, not at the Pentagon, not at the White House.

''Now, as the decade ends, tens of millions of Americans, including many children, find themselves carrying spies in their pockets during the day and leaving them beside their beds at night -

Even though the corporations that control their data are far less accountable than the government would be,'' noted the report, which included a look at how to track President Trump, the citizens of Pasadena and protesters in Hong Kong, as well as how to stop it all.

This is what freaked me out enough to go back and tighten the security on my own phone.

The law will bring some relief, since it will give citizens of the state more control over personal data : we will know what is being collected, where it is sold and even the right to ask for such data to be deleted.

It also adds special protection for minors, prohibiting the sale of personal information of those under 16 years old. [Enforcement starts in July, but it is still vulnerable to changes as it rolls out.]

California law will become the defacto law of the land on privacy and until the federal government acts, which is a long way from happening. Promises that bills will be rolled out in the House and Senate, came and went last year.

Some legislatures say 2020 will be the year it will happen, but the record so far is not encouraging. Which is why I'll opt out of waiting and keep fending of my app stalkers by myself. Only the paranoid survive, for sure, but so do the patient. 

''We need to take back our privacy from tech companies - even if that means sacrificing convenience.''

The World Students Society thanks author, Kara Swisher, editor at large for the technology news website  Recode and producer of the Recode  Decode podcast and Code Conference.


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