Kevin Roose tries living surveillance-free for a day

Kevin Roose wearing "a funny-looking hat with small lightbulbs in it that will protect me from being caught on camera."

Say what you will about Edward Snowden, but the fact of the matter is that we now know a bit more about exactly how much privacy we have. Not as much as we thought a month and a half ago.

But if you don't like that answer and wanted to disappear off the grid -- but not drop out of daily life -- could you? And if so, what would you have to do?

New York Magazine writer Kevin Roose spent a day trying to live completely surveillance-free.

Roose said that if his goal was to avoid all surveillance, he definitely failed.  “I don’t think it’s possible to live a modern life and not be surveilled. Even if you surveillance-proof all your gadgets, some satellite is going to be able to find you,” said Roose.

Roose says the moral of his “surveillance-free” experiment is that every new technological tool that sends and receives data about us comes at a cost.  “With each new thing that we adopt into our lives we’re giving something up,” said Roose. “And that’s real.”

Read Kevin Roose's piece here.

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.
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Have to agree with the first comment - this segment seemed very out of place in terms of typical reporting. What about the business side of things with regards to privacy and security - and perhaps why people don't seem to mind one way or another if Google, Facebook, and other large companies have access to their data. Moreover, what about the small outfits like law firms, doctors offices, and other everyday businesses that hold lots of your data - and even if you -do- trust them, do you trust their IT security practices? Lots of these guys, including well resourced outfits like Google, have had data compromises. What is the impact on the consumer's purchasing habits, vs the cost to the business (to protect data, and also in terms of business, in the event of a loss)?

Services like Microsoft's outlook.com are now emphasizing that they don't data mine your email content to push you ads, vs. Google's strategy to offer cheap phones across the board to encourage adoption of a platform where you offer increasing amounts of personal data to strengthen Google's ability to target advertising. I hear lots about great new Android phones, but very little about outlook.com's strategy. An indicator of sorts? Similarly, companies like Blackberry - who are struggling for a variety of reasons - emphasize security and privacy in the bulk of their offering; yet, this doesn't seem to be a draw for consumers (or more frequently, for businesses). Some of this has already been covered by Marketplace - but again, this particular piece was on the other side of the spectrum. For me, at least.

Oh, come on Mr Ryssdal. You are the numbers guy. You "do the numbers" every day; but you let Mr Roose get away with making statements that he blocked a certain percentage of the surveillance systems which otherwise would have been checking him. To be able to estimate a percentage one has to know the denominator, the number of systems surveilling him. He has no clue how many agencies use how many systems to check on him on any given day. Cell phones wrapped in aluminum foil. Baseball hats with IR LEDs. Was April 1st transferred to July 29th? Well below your standards.

This reminds me of some of the things I have read over the many years. Big Brother is getting more paranoid by the day. They fear the American people more than the enemies they create overseas.

Let's begin with this passage from 1976

"The technotronic era involves the gradual appearance of a more controlled society. Such a society would be dominated by an elite, unrestrained by traditional values. Soon it will be possible to assert almost continuous surveillance over every citizen and maintain up-to-date complete files containing even the most personal information about the citizen. These files will be subject to instantaneous retrieve/review by the authorities." From: Between Two Ages: America's Role In The Technetronic Era.(1976)
Zbigniew Brzezinski, CFR member, founding member of the Trilateral Commission, National Security Advisor to Obama and five U.S. presidents

And then this one from 2002

“There is no war on crime. There is no war on drugs, no war on terrorism. There is only the ongoing effort by the federal government to collect as much information on as many people as possible.” — Jim Redden, author of Snitch Culture: How Citizens Are Turned Into the Eyes and Ears of the State

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