Usha
Everyone loves that Hutch advertisement with the Pig-like Pug and pug-like boy and that song"you and I...in this beautiful world." The message being conveyed with that dog purposefully following the kid is "wherever you go, our network follows you".It seems that most working people and young people want to be "in touch" even while having lunch at the restaurant at the end of the universe.

But to me all this network stalking and information gathering is getting a bit too much. Just read this claim by TESCO: "can you buy potatoes in a store and see potato recipes in your inbox when you get home? we are working on it." Now that is scary.
Already there are at least a few hundred computers which know my birthday, my marital status, my telephone numbers, banks where I hold account, my credit card details, the vehicles I own, whether I live in my own house. The service departments of a few companies know all their gadgets I own. The credit card department knows my shopping patterns.Gmail knows the contents of my mails so it can helpfully pop up sites with related subjects.

Oh btw, did you know the site meter on this blog tells me exactly what time you came in, what kind of search brought you here, how much time you spent here and the link you exited to from here? The fact is that you are no longer alone and whatever you do is being tracked by some equipment ready to share the information with any other computer partnering with it!And there are not even laws protecting our privacy in this country and even if we had laws, we know how "easy" it is to get them implemented in this country.

Just see the paradox. On the one hand we complain when our neighbours ask us personal details but we are comfortable allowing some strangers to have access to all our private information. We drive long distances to find a quiet romantic getaway but we leave our mobile phones switched on.I guess we are also fast heading towards the situation when husbands and wives don't tell each other what is wrong with their marriage out of politeness but go on network televison and say how his nose picking bothers her or how her body odour offends him.

I dont know about you, but it certainly irritates me when some strange guy on phone tells me it is time for me to change my car because it is 7 years old and already had so many service requirements this year and what parts had to be replaced or when my chemist lists out the medicines I bought in the past few months. I dont want some guy at some credit card department making my purchases into a pattern and drawing a curve of my buying behaviour. This is my life I say. Just why dont these guys let me lead my own the way I want and go get one of their own!
| edit post
Reactions: 
15 Responses
  1. passerby55 Says:

    Usha,

    DO these topics follow you or you follow them? you amaze me everytime with all that writing skills and the content your topics talk here.

    Your post puts me on high ALert now. Funny world we live in. WE are giving away all the information which we thought was best secured in our safety vaults.


  2. shalini Says:

    This following wherever you go business(!)is a price one has to pay for the choice one makes.It is we who chose to fill in the forms that ask us information. It is we who decided to get a credit card and use it for our convenience. It is a conscious choice of using a cell phone, albeit for our convenience.Those unseeing eyes can track us only if we want to be tracked.
    Can we leave all this and live a life of seclusion?
    Dealing only in cash.
    Not use internet with our own identity.
    OR
    Not use it at all.
    Generally be weary of any phone calls we get.
    OR
    Not have a phone at all.
    Or live in the Himalayas?
    Isn't the choice entirely OURS?
    OR
    We don't mind all this that much, crib about it a little and become a part of the 21st century crowd?
    Is it a price we pay for our lifestyle?
    Like you, I too am confused.
    Help....
    Shalini


  3. Anonymous Says:

    @Usha
    ...Oh btw, did you know the site meter on this blog tells me exactly what time you came in, what kind of search brought you here, how much time you spent here and the link you exited to from here?...I don't want some guy at some credit card department making my purchases into a pattern and drawing a curve of my buying behaviour...

    Well, Usha, why did you install the site-meter on your blog :)


  4. Usha Says:

    Passerby, shalini: Ya, that is the trouble. Their knowing the information helps me get faster customer service without my having to repeat it to them every time. But when it is used to sell me things or for unsolicited business calls, it is a nuisance.

    The RF; Certainly not to make any patterns or make any profit out of it.
    It was out of curiosity to know if I actually had any visitors other than my close friends who read it just out of politeness!
    And there was an occasion when a friend suggested that it would act as a deterrent for certain unpleasant visitors who were leaving comments in abusive language.
    And here I am letting everyone know what info is availaibale to me so they could stop visiting me if they didnt want me to know any of it!


  5. Anonymous Says:

    And this Google Earth ,which can track anything on earth. I swear this happened to me. One day, while inside a car, I had my laptop in front of me and logged on to the net and got on to Google Earth. I looked at the Asian land mass, zoomed into India and then into Chennai and then into my locality and.. I spotted the car that I was sitting in. I shifted coordinates slightly and zoomed into the car at an angle and I could clearly see myself inside! I realised it was possible for me to follow myself everywhere.Yes, there is no privacy at all in today's world.

    Usha, sorry if I sounded frivolous there. You are right, though. We are being relentlessly monitored and tracked.


  6. Hip Grandma Says:

    Don't you think it is easier to open one's heart out to an unknown sympathiser/empathiser and get things out of one's system?And isn't it easier to take criticism from an unknown face?Today my computer has decided to let me comment but won't open my mail.I am at its mercy.So the time has come when your comp.will decide things for you and you put up with it with a sheepish grin.


  7. rads Says:

    Usha, do you own a gmail a/c? Gmail actually 'runs' through our mails, and picks up on words to select the ads they place conveniently! My son's basketball coach sends a mail on schedules, and I have ads on basketball, schedulers and time management ads right there! I don't mind it too much coz I don't put in mail what I don't want a 3rd person to know, but look at the enormity of that application?!

    Privacy is huge - esp in US where ID theft is always lurking behind your mind. I lie. I never give out my right birthday [consistently always lessen it by a year ;-)] and never ever give my social security number out and have a separate CC for online purchases. I am hearing consumerism is on the rise in India, and sales calls are huge.
    It's unsettling.


  8. rads Says:

    sorry, missed the line you mentioned on gmail :) I need my coffee!!


  9. Anonymous Says:

    Yes, the machines are here. I guess what you call constant surveillance, at least, at the level of intent to make your experience a richer one. The context-sensitive commercials on gmail, or an appropriate web page suited to your tastes.

    At least, to Rational fools's point, we sometimes voluntarily give this information away. Like installing site-meters. Well, if you think of your blog as a revenue generating site, then those very statistics could be very useful.

    Scientific & technological progress is accelerating. There is a very interesting essay by Bill Joy about how GRIN technologies can indeed go very wrong. G - Genetic, R - robotic, I - InfoTech, N - Nanotechnology. Here it is.

    Why the future does not need us?


  10. Usha Says:

    Raj:Actually what you said is'nt so facetious - it is high philosophy! Getting away from one's own self and all that jazz! hehe..

    Hipgrandma:I agree that sometimes it is easier to confide to total strangers but I would assume ther would need to be anonymity for this - not the way they come nicely dressed up on television so everyone they know can instantly recognise them!

    Rads:Ya, I am going to cook up information henceforth. Feels good to have a birthday one year less every year, heheh...

    S:I do understand the value of information and how smart selling is all about using all the information at your disposal.But it does bother me when it seems to be shared with others beyond the purpose for which I intended when I gave the information. And worse when in the name of giving me information, they call me at all hours and practically harrass me.Well if I did want to change my car and made the call myself, I d be impressed if they knew my problems and needs. But I dont want him calling me every 3 months to ask me if it wasnt time for me to change the car because.....

    Will read the essay recommended. Thank you.


  11. Mahadevan Says:

    Internet and Mobile telephones have wiped out geographical borders and in the process have also robbed us of our privacy. Our life is reduced to a pattern. Credit Card Companies and Financial Institutions decide what we must buy, how and at what frequency.

    I am still loyal to my old 'Hotmail', tantalizing side glances and coquetish movements from 'G Mail' notwithstanding.


  12. GuNs Says:

    Tesco? I thought it exists only here in the UK !


  13. did you know there is a company who is testing its latest innovation here in the US - the invention? Parents can gift their kids a cell phone and can then 'track' where all the cell goes. meaning can track every movement of their child. As a parent, I wud probably give that a thumbs up. But if I were a teenager - dont know whether I wud be happy with this gift


  14. Usha Says:

    Mahadevan:I switched from hotmail because of too much spam and of course lured by the space that only Gmail was giving at that time.

    Tesco:This a BPO operation for IT support - located in Whitefield called Tesco- HSC.

    STS:Ha, a teenager would "forget" to take it along! If you want to ignore a call there are hundred ways and teenagers will invent the 101st too!


  15. Mahadevan Says:

    My apologies for hurting you.

    I also stand corrected. Your Blog has now regained the old grace and the charm in writing, adds to the dignity.