Case 1: I was responding to a friend’s Facebook post online and said something about Big Brother (you know … 1984, ubiquitous government, newspeak, a grindingly grim world). Instantly, a photo of my own, in-the-flesh brother popped up.
Case 2: I was on the internet and for the first time ever I couldn’t access my bank’s website. Instead, the window of another site popped up and the only option I had was to click on it or close my browser. I chose the latter, then reloaded it. Same experience. Once again … and again. To make a long and stress-filled story short, a hacker had gained access to and taken control of my computer. Being of suspicious nature, I avoided being bilked out of $500, but it was a close call.
Case 3: It was almost time for me to leave the house for a physical therapy appointment. I had wondered (idly, I should add) how long it would take me to get there, traffic being the unpredictable phenomenon it is. My phone chimed, and the text message said (I kid you not), “Under current traffic conditions, it will take 15 minutes for you to arrive at your destination.”
Since my calendar (with appointment locations) and a map app are both on my phone, I suppose they’d been talking to each other and decided I needed help in planning my day.
Case 4: Today I received an email from the bank that processes my credit card account. “Based on your airline ticket purchases on your … card, it appears that you’re traveling soon. To make things easier for you there’s no need to contact us regarding your upcoming trip.” What???
All this is invasive as well as potentially damaging and expensive. Those devices which give us instant access to communication wherever we are, put a world of information at our fingertips, and allow us to put our creations out to the world without an intermediary also threaten our privacy. And much as I appreciate the help offered in Cases 3 and 4, who needs it? Not me. All that is nobody's business but mine. What's next?