Is Technology An Invasion Of Privacy?

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I’ve heard it said: “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.” When it comes to technology, I am out of my league. Monday morning I had a telephone conference call scheduled with a board committee. There weren’t any action items, so the call primarily related to my making a report. I didn’t anticipate a lot of discussion.

 

I was away from my office and the meeting I was attending in another city didn’t lend itself to the privacy I needed for the call. What to do? It was an easy answer. I simply went to my car. Since I wanted to funnel the sound of my phone through the radio speakers in my car, I opted to start the car. In addition, that provided me the added benefit of air conditioning at the same time.  See, I’m really smarter than some of you think.  Well, maybe not?

 

I was about two minutes into my presentation when my car filled with the sound of music. It was really loud. Where was it coming from? Did someone on the conference call have music playing in the background? If so, why didn’t someone say something about it? I was momentarily disoriented and confused. It took me a few seconds to process the sound and discern that the music was obviously coming from the radio speakers in my car. It was my radio that was playing, but how could that be? It isn’t possible to funnel the phone system through the radio, be talking on the telephone and at the same time hear the radio. That’s impossible. The system doesn’t work that way. Hello Houston we’ve got a problem!

 

You’re probably going to think that I’m a mental health case, but I repeatedly pressed on the radio button to turn the music off and nothing happened. Was it on? I couldn’t tell.  You’d think I need someone to hit me upside the head to get my attention. Of course it was on! After all, the music was really loud. Finally in a sense of panic and embarrassment, I pressed the button and turned off the motor in my car. At least that button worked. Instantly there was total silence. Of course, turning the motor off negated the sound of my voice channeling through the radio. I pressed the button on my phone to active the speaker on it.

 

Apologizing profusely, I asked if folks could still hear me. They affirmed that they could. I mentioned the music and someone responded: “I didn’t hear any music.” That was more than a little upsetting! Don’t say, I can’t think of my feet. I simply made the statement: “If you didn’t hear music, then I was in the midst of a psychotic episode”. Of course I was joking, but if no one else heard the music and I did, it is a little unsettling.

 

Toward the end of the conference call, I received notification of an incoming call. I reached over and pressed the button on my phone to reject the call. No sooner had I done that, than out of nowhere my phone started playing music. You got it! It, too, was really loud music. Okay, I’m hearing impaired. If I was hearing music that no one else could hear, it was a source of concern.

 

I scrambled to get the music coming through my phone turned off and asked again if folks could still hear me? They affirmed that they could. I didn’t ask if anyone else heard the music. I’m not making this stuff up. If my iPhone 6 Plus is really a smart phone, how could something like this have happened?

 

I can’t cognitively explain it, but I know music when I hear it and despite the improbability of what I’ve just described happening, I’m here to tell you that it did.  I found it both perplexing and concerning.

 

What about your phone? Is it smart and musically inclined? In fact, my phone gets smarter each time I opt to update the application from Apple. However, it has gotten a little too big for it’s britches lately. I may opt out of downloading the next update. I think at the end of the day, I am a little more comfortable without the latest and the greatest.

 

Like I mentioned earlier, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you. Maybe I’m in a world of my own, but I find it disturbing that my iPhone seemingly knows where I’m going whenever I get into my car? Am I the only person bothered by that feature?

 

It isn’t that I stop by the “Dew-Drop-In Beverage Company” on my way through Drippin’ every day, but if I did, my smart phone would know it. My phone greets me with the distance and time it will take to get to work when I leave my house in the morning. It voluntarily provides me the same kind of information related to my probable commute back home. So how does my smart phone know where I’m headed?

 

The phone has me pegged as a homing pigeon. When I get in my car at the end of the workday, it provides me an accurate sketch of the distance, but it routinely undersells me on the amount of time it will take for the commute. I was in Houston yesterday and it provided me the distance and time it would take for me to get home. I looked at the message and thought: “I wish!” The Smart phone should know that I don’t travel that fast anymore.

 

Someone expressed the issue like this: “This Smartphone Tracking Tech Will Give You the Creeps”. The technology is so good that “Indoor Positioning System” (IPS) allows pinpoint tracking of any Wi-Fi-enabled device within a building. In fact, if the smartphone or tablet you are carrying is equipped with Wi-Fi, it can lead whoever is searching for you to your table in a crowded restaurant.  Frankly, I’m not sure I want to forfeit that much privacy.

 

My most recent new discovery on my iPhone is a feature that I anticipate will come in very handy. Consequently, it has the potential to eliminate a lot of stress when I’ve parked my car in a large parking garage. However, despite the advantage, I still consider it an invasion of privacy. My smartphone now remembers where my car is parked.

 

That’s a little much don’t you think? I may go back to the flip phone. Somehow it seemed less invasive. Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you, but your phone can assist in them finding you.

 

All My Best!

Don

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4 thoughts on “Is Technology An Invasion Of Privacy?”

  1. My cell phone is a cheap $20.00 item. Most of the time I leave it home and when I do carry it most of the time it is off. My children and grandchildren all make fun of me and my phone. However I like being free from this anchor and truth be told there are times when I just do not want to be bothered.

    Liked by 1 person

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