Our phones are tapped, our phone-numbers are recorded, we are under constant surveillance and every government agency seems to be telling us something different. Am I talking about Watch Dogs, or the United States? You can’t tell and that’s the point.
The video game version of this story is made by Ubisoft, the same company that brought you ‘Assassin’s Creed’ and a list of other popular titles. In the game everyone is being tracked, recorded, traced and investigated. The people gave up their privacy for a safer world and when the tide eventually starts to ebb too far, those protecting us start infiltrating us. That’s when players must turn the very surveillance gadgets and forces against those that created them. Users will hack almost everything in the game, since everything is connected, this includes traffic lights, security cameras, bridges, gas lines, the electricity grid, all while monitoring everyone around them. Watch 20 minutes of CNN today then watch this trailer, and watch your brain explode.
Giving up privacy is something that most of us are ok with to an extent, I live in New York City and if the MTA wants to check my bag every now and then before I get on the subway, I’m ok with it. The subway is optional and I’m choosing to use it, like airports or going into a federal building. I don’t think I’m too different from anyone else, and if you don’t know what PRISM is you should read about it, like today. It’s important to know what is happening and more important to know if it’s been happening in the open, or if it was covered up.
If you need a quick refresher, PRISM was an unknown programme that was running here in the United States under the orders of the National Security Agency (NSA). This order was allowing the NSA to access data that was available online, or on the servers of major internet companies. This included Verizon cell and internet records and also information from Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo, Skype and other companies. This wasn’t publicly available information, this was the information that only you and Facebook should know about, and they weren’t investigating you, they were just collecting it.
The real problem is that there is no telling exactly what was kept, and that no one can trust any answers, since the entire project was a secret until yesterday. This information included your emails and live chats with friends, who you called, where you were and how long you talked. This all started with the Patriot Act in 2007 under the assumed changes to US surveillance laws, at least that is the current situation. These laws changed under President George Bush and hate that or not, the same laws were renewed last year by President Barack Obama so both sides failed here.
In any case the game ‘Watch Dogs’ was made because of the privacy that we were knowingly giving up for a safer America. Now a few days before E3, and the game has almost come to life. It’s the worst, and best Marketing coincidence in the history of games. if we could pick, we would rather Rabbids come to life, but I hope that Ubisoft makes a point of the situation at E3 2013 this year.