Ears Everywhere

Has this ever happened to you?  You’re casually munching on Fritos in your family room, just talking about how you’d like some new mini blinds, and maybe could Mr. Austerity keep an eye out for said blinds at the local thrift store.  And right after that mundane conversation you start surfing your social media account, which shall remain nameless but it starts with ‘f’ and ends with – well you can probably guess.  And right there in between posts about cats terrorizing dogs and easy crock pot BBQ chicken wings, pops up an ad for a local custom mini blind shop.  Yep, I kid you not.  It showed up in my feed.  And I pinkie swear to you that I had not been googling mini blinds or blinds or window coverings or anything remotely close to those terms.  How does this happen?  Rhetorical question!  Because we all know, without any doubt, that every portable ‘smart’ electronic device we own is actively listening to us when we speak.  The hot gift at Christmas this year was the device from a major online retail shopping site that could sit in your home and answer your questions or respond to your instructions.  People were ordering it like crazy, thinking hey – how fun this will be –  and then immediately after Christmas people begin to realize that it was listening to everything being said, not just conversations addressed to the device.  And that led to questions about what was being done with everything that the device was hearing – basically all of whats being said in our homes.  From my experience with my phone and tablet – the data it collects is being used for marketing purposes – serving up ads that it thinks match what I’m talking about.  Is there a way to stop whats being done?  I hope yes but I believe no  –  this technology is already a reality in our lives and probably too valuable to the market for anyone to make it go away.

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