The future! Rocket ships, lasers, robots -- it is truly a far-flung, fantastical place. Except, uh ... we have all those things right now, and have for some time. The future isn't some vague, to-be-determined period of existence; it's literally tomorrow. So today, humanity has to address issues that would have been inconceivable a few paltry years ago. And frankly, some of this stuff still kind of sounds like someone got stoned and then tried to pitch a Black Mirror episode.
Fitbits Are Giving Away Military Intelligence
Nowadays it's routine for people to wear a fitness tracker, but by allowing our data to be shared, we're also allowing our habits to be shared. That normally shouldn't be problematic, unless your spouse is learning that your weekly jog takes you straight to the strip club ... or you're exercising on a classified military installation.
Thanks to a map that shows the jogging habits of the 27 million people who use Fitbits and the like, we can see splotches of activity in otherwise dark areas, like Iraq and Syria. Some of those splotches are known American military sites full of exercising soldiers, and some, by extrapolation, are sites that the military would rather keep unknown. One journalist saw a lot of exercise activity on a Somalian beach that was suspected to be home to a CIA base. Someone else spotted a suspected missile site in Yemen, and a web of bases in Afghanistan were also revealed.
StravaYet another example of why we at Cracked continue to condemn exercise in all its forms.
By analyzing the data, you could theoretically figure out patrol and supply convoy routes, and make educated guesses as to where on these bases soldiers eat, sleep, etc. That's a lot of useful information for someone planning an attack. You could also track individuals, potentially important ones. One researcher claimed they tracked a French soldier's entire overseas deployment and subsequent return home.
This wasn't an evil ploy by a terrorist cell in league with Big Fitness; you can turn that data tracking off. It's just that no one even thought about it until someone finally pointed out that it was a huge security issue. American rules for fitness trackers in the military are now being "refined," which we assume is PR speak for "Goddammit, turn that shit off." But it's only a matter of time until another seemingly innocuous technology accidentally gives away state secrets.
Space Commercialization Might Contaminate Planets
Elon Musk set a new precedent when he launched a car into space, and not only for tacky egotism. The rules about what corporations can and can't do in space are essentially nonexistent, because the government's authority ends somewhere around the thermosphere. Governments, however, have legal responsibilities listed in the Outer Space Treaty -- one of the few things America and the Soviet Union agreed on. Most of the world has signed as well, and in addition to promising not to put nukes on the Moon or claim all of Jupiter for the proud people of Denmark, adherents agree not to send Earth germs to other planets like the interplanetary version of coughing on the guy next to you at the movie theater.