Will the Apple Watch Become a Tracking Device?

In the 1988 film Enemy of the State a group of rogue NSA agents kill a US Congressman and try to cover up the murder. What the NSA agents don’t know is that a video camera had been set up by wildlife researcher Daniel Zavitz who captured the entire incident. When Zavitz views the recording, he sees the murder and contacts an underground journalist while at the same time transferring the video to a computer disk that he hides in a video game console. The NSA finds out about the recording and sends a team to recover the video.

In an attempt to get away, Zavitz runs into an old college friend, labor lawyer Robert Clayton Dean (Will Smith). Unbeknownst to Dean, Zavitz secretly places the game console into Dean’s shopping bag. Zavitz flees and is killed when hit by a fire truck and later the underground journalist is also killed.

In time, the NSA learns that Dean has the video so they plant surveillance devices in his home and on him. They can track him anywhere because of the tracking devices.

While we are not to the place in America where the fictional story line of Enemy of the State is reality, nevertheless, the very idea that we can be tracked voluntarily should make us take notice. Here’s a clip from the film (Warning: some language):

Take a look at Google’s location history map of where you’ve been. It’s scary. You can deactivate your location finder history, but that doesn’t mean that you are not signaling where you’re going every second of the day.

Here’s a map of my movements from September 9th:

Location finder

Now we are being enticed to wear signal-generating watches that will broadcast not only where we’re going but vital life indicators and so much more.

The following is from Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis (1856–1941) in the first wiretapping case that came before the nation’s highest court. In his dissenting opinion in Olmstead v. United States (1928), Brandeis wrote:

“Ways may some day be developed by which the government, without removing papers from secret drawers, can reproduce them in court, and by which it will be enabled to expose to a jury the most intimate occurrences of the home.”1

Neither our constitutional framers nor Brandeis could have imagined that individuals would voluntarily wear devices that transmit detailed information to anybody with the ability to capture and store that information.

Consider the electronic watch introduced by companies like Samsung and Apple. The following is from Dr. Gary North:

“Every year, Apple comes up with a new tracking device. This year, it came up with two: the new, improved iPhone 6 and Apple Watch.

“Think of the product line as NSA Watch.

“What will the NSA watch? Everyone who wears an Apple Watch.

“This technology is revolutionary. Anyway, that’s what the media think. That’s also what the NSA thinks.

“Americans can’t wait.

“We have all seen those law-and-order shows where criminals are required to wear tracking devices strapped permanently to their legs. Now, the devices are far more stylish. They also offer neat, free apps.

“Snowden? Who’s Snowden?

  1. Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 438, 474 (1928) (J. Brandeis, dissenting). []
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