Being tracked in daily life

  • Date:
  • Posted by kindle

I love frustrating people sometimes…

In this day and age of social media, tracking aps, data tracking, phishing emails and text messages, search engine tracking, targeted advertising, mailing list sales, location tracking and not to mention cameras absolutely everywhere, I do my best to stay off everyone’s radar.

I have to tell you it’s not an easy task.

I understand my cell phone tracks me. I only have enough access turned on to operate the phone. I don’t use wi-fi, I don’t use the internet on my phone, I don’t install or use apps and I don’t use the map feature. It frustrates my friends who send me links in a text message. However it does cut down on the amount of data that is glommed from the device.

I bought a new vehicle recently. You have to pay $150 to turn on the GPS. I didn’t bother because I have a $65 Garmin that works fine and is only on when I need it about 4 times a year. The vehicle also tracks my location via their safety software to alert responders in case the vehicle is involved in a motor vehicle accident or is stolen. It took four months fighting with the auto maker, but I finally got it turned off. To me it’s a creepy feature.

I am not on social media at all. No facebook, no twitter, no tik-tok, no reddit, no Instagram – nothing. ( I had basic accounts for the store, but nothing personal ). I have to tell you how much that not being on social media turns the volume down on all the inanity going on in the universe. No fighting for likes, no drama from family, not having to watch endless videos of people doing stupid things like licking blue bottle jelly fish in order to be viral. No fake news, no opinions I don’t need. It’s nice.

When I get a phishing text, I always report it as spam and block the number. I never answer calls that come from numbers I don’t recognize. My voice mail says that and it also says that if you do need to do business with me, leave a message and if you don’t your number will be blocked. I stick to that firmly. If you answer the call and it’s spam, again, they add your number to a list of known working numbers and sell those lists.

When we get catalogs that we didn’t ask for, I always call and tell them to remove our name from their mailing lists, and to not share our information with their marketing partners. It irritates them for sure because it’s extra effort that takes a representative’s time and means that the rep is not taking an order selling something someone doesn’t need, making money for the offshore company.

Companies all sell their mailing lists. This includes all types from mail order businesses to funeral homes. Yes, some funeral homes sell their client lists. It’s all about revenue streams.

I don’t use Google. Not at all. When I do an internet search, I use a search engine called Duck Duck Go. They don’t track you or sell your search patterns. I also have my browser set to tell websites I don’t want to be tracked and also I only use a private window. It’s not foolproof, but it’s the best I can do. Did you know that when you log into a site like facebook, or ebay with your Google account or facebook ID, (any site that allows it actually )  Google or facebook knows everything you do on that site. Even what you buy or bid on!

When I want to browse the internet, I often use a browser called Tor. It takes your IP address and bounces you across the globe using multiple servers run by volunteers. After several bounces, even though you may be in Florida, it could look like you are logging in from Germany or the Netherlands. I just feel that what I do online, (even though innocuous) should be private and no one needs to know.

Another tidbit about your cell phone is it’s always listening. Talk about parrots and you will get adds for parrot food and photos of parrots on facebook. It takes all these comments it hears, and all the other data it collects about what apps you use, what websites you visit, what calls you make, and texts you send, plus your locations and creates a profile of you that the phone provider then sells to other companies and to major advertising research houses. It’s really quite frightening how much other people can know about you.

Let’s not even get started about Alexa and its ilk. No way I would ever have one of these devices in my home. Again, it’s always listening. I know someone who was watching a Hallmark movie and the character in the film said something like, “I don’t know how I am going to get along without her” and the Alexa chimed up and said “Please call the suicide prevention hotline at xxx-xxx-xxxx”. Uh-huh, no thank you! People were aghast when they heard reports that groups the KGB, the Stasi and FBI would bug people’s homes. Well guess what, people are now paying for the privilege to do that very thing to themselves.

I would really love to be able to buy a “Dumb TV” again. I don’t feel it’s necessary that the maker, be it Google or anyone else, need to know what shows I watch and when. My TV doesn’t need a microphone, or a camera. It doesn’t need to be voice activated, and report everything I do to some data center. I don’t want to stream anything. If you add up all the costs of all these streaming services, you would end up paying more than the largest cable package monthly, but because they are all small amounts it doesn’t seem like a lot until you do the math.

Everything is being connected. Doorbell cameras are being linked together and neighborhoods whose residents have common voice activated devices are having their internet routers and data portals linked together sharing information with companies and law enforcement. I don’t deny it’s important to give police the tools to fight crime, but how does anyone truly know that’s the single purpose?

Look around at any given intersection. You will probably see at least 4 to 6 cameras and sometimes even more! There are thin black poles appearing all over communities that have a camera and a solar panel on them. What are they? License plate readers. There are now sound detectors that activate and triangulate sound to pinpoint an area where gunshots may have gone off. I went into a spectrum Cable store once and while waiting in line counted over 15 cameras in a space of about 600 to 800 square feet. An airport terminal may have thousands of cameras all accessible with a single click of a mouse or voice command. Big brother is definitely watching.

A.I., or Artificial Intelligence is also at work in your daily life and many of us are totally unaware. Many companies in their telephone customer services menus use A.I. to screen and route calls to operators or agents based on your responses. A.I. is also used when you log in to social media on your phones using your facial features and also in other biometric devices. Shopping sites, video sites, music sites or others that “Personalize” your experience are all using A.I. to perform these tasks.

A.I. is like any other tool. It can be good or bad depending on its use. As Harrison Ford’s character Rick Deckard says in Blade Runner, “Replicants are like any other machine. They’re either a benefit or a hazard. If they’re a benefit, it’s not my problem.”

I like to go about my day and tasks with as little drama and interference as possible. I do all these things because they make my day less stressful in the long run by decreasing the unwanted emails, calls and mail I get. I don’t get caught up in media drama by not watching it online or on television. In addition I actually don’t watch the news. It’s mostly opinion and conjecture spewed forth by talking heads who are only interested in money and power to be gained by repeating the agendas of their employers. Not interested. The news media create fear and distrust and stress that people don’t need. There is actually very little true unbiased news reported anywhere so I just do without.

Hopefully some of my strategies can be of use to you. Good luck!