They are Watching Us -- All the Time

During the Obama presidency, Americans discovered that his administration’s intelligence agencies were spying on us.  In fact, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper lied to Congress about it, for which he was never charged -- but then, he’s a Democrat, the laws don’t apply to them. 

Eventually, he came clean, admitting that all Americans were being spied on, all the time, with spy agencies keeping a record of all phone conversations, texts, and emails made by every American.  This was merely a precaution in case they ever needed to prosecute any of those who disagreed with Barry.

Yet, I believe that the tech industry not only does the same thing (spying) but does it better.  Of course, I have no evidence of this, and many people will say that I am being paranoid (I probably am a little paranoid -- at least that’s what people are saying).  And what I present here is merely anecdotal.  But we really should think about this stuff, and perhaps it is time to, as the Democrats like to say, have a conversation.  

My Story:

I bought Century Bob XL, a lifelike punching bag used by boxers and MMA fighters to train.  I nicknamed him Uncle Bob because he’s basically a man’s torso on a stick, whose anatomically correct visage (get your mind out of the gutter) allows a person to target punches and kicks. 

I use him exclusively for targeting because having been crushed against a wall by a tractor-trailer and having my hand cut off and sewn back on, hitting him would be too painful.  But I still need to train if I want to keep my distance from the wheelchair that looms ever larger in my future as my injuries worsen with the passing years.

And since the lovely Cabrina likes to punch Uncle Bob, his addition to the household has been hugely successful.  I’m all for her training with Uncle Bob as it has allowed my bruised ribs to finally heal (just a joke…darn, I need to go, she’s coming). 

Here’s the thing, when I saw her punching Bob, as an ex-boxer, I warned her to work on her form because she was bending her wrist as she hit him.  I told her, “Be careful to keep your wrist straight or you’ll break it.”

Several days later, at my house in the Bronx, we were discussing NYC’s garbage regime and their recycling diktats.  I told her we needed a couple of tall garbage pails to make recycling easier.

Later that same day, a picture fell off the wall hitting a pitcher on the granite countertop of the bar.  The glass pitcher crashing into the stone was so loud we were both surprised it didn’t shatter.  No matter, I told her, “It’s a cheap pitcher, I can always get another one.”

Two days later, I received this email from Amazon, which in my opinion is one of the best run companies in the world, if not the best run, and Bezos is the finest businessman on the planet -- that’s my opinion and I’m sticking by it.

Keep in mind we didn’t look these items up online or talk about them over the phone.  We merely discussed them (well, except for the open chest wound thingamajig). 

Oh, and recently, I received an email from Amazon pitching items for an RV.  We don’t own an RV.  But, the lovely Cabrina’s son, who lives in Florida, has an RV and he frequently posts pictures of it on Facebook and I’ve often heard him talk with his mother about it over the phone.

Some will say this is all merely a coincidence -- note, however, that the wrist brace is made by Mueller, a man I’ve been outspoken in opposing, but as I said, I’m probably a little paranoid.

And, I must admit I thought it was a nice touch suggesting a stainless-steel pitcher to replace a glass one that almost broke -- you can’t fault Amazon for ignoring customer needs.

Yet, I will also admit that I’ve been wondering if the Hyfin Vent Chest Seal, which, “sets the standard for the treatment of penetrating injuries to the chest,” was meant more as a warning. (Paranoia again?) 

I’ve spent the last few weeks walking around in fear that someone from “big vent” is going to stab or shoot me in the chest.  I bought two, just in case. 

Then, I figured it out. 

I am a huge Amazon Prime fan and use the music service exclusively in my car.  In fact, I never turn it off; when I shut off the car it goes on “Pause,” with the app staying open.  If I shut it down, it will need to be restarted every time I get in the car.  Leaving it open means when I get in the car again my music automatically plays as soon as the Blue Tooth connection establishes.

But leaving the app open on my iPhone means “Alexa” is always listening -- in case I were to need her, of course.  All the instances above happened in the presence of my phone when the Amazon Music App was paused but open.

“Siri,” “Alexa,” and all the others are clearly spying on us.  But they do add convenience to our lives by giving us instant voice command ability.  I know this troubles many people, but it doesn’t bother me.  For the same reason I have only four sets of blinds in my house on 43 windows, I don’t care what people do.  I’ve got nothing to hide, if anyone wants to spy on me, have at it.

I don’t break the law, and except for those three girlfriends who disappeared in the 1980s where I was the beneficiary of their life insurance, I’ve never been suspected of a crime…

So, if Amazon wants to spy on me in order to better fill my product needs, I really don’t have a problem with it.

Please follow William L. Gensert on Twitter @williamlgensert… no really, it’s embarrassing he has so few followers.

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