Privacy concerns concern concerns into privacy concerns. Put like that it seems obvious. But in fact it concerns all of us. How can we tell if our phones are not passing on information to strangers behind our backs? How can we know for sure that while we are watching a cop movie on television, real cops are not watching us through the same television? Can you really trust your watch not to spill the beans, or your refrigerator to keep its secrets well?
We are surrounded by electronic betrayers and traitors who think nothing of betraying and traiting us. Can you place your hand on your heart and tell yourself that the air conditioner is merely conditioning the air and nothing else? And if that heart you are placing your hand on has a pacemaker, who is to tell that it is not communicating with other pacemakers and cracking jokes about you?
Is there any guarantee on an otherwise ordinary day that your flowerpot will not suddenly decide to share your bank details with scamsters halfway around the world? After all your Kindle carries tales – not just to you, but back to its best friends about what you read, how much you skip, which words you do not know the meanings of and the number of books you leave unfinished. What a terrible thing to be known as the man who didn’t read the last six pages of War and Peace or the first 600 pages of anything Tom Wolfe wrote!
I once wrote a letter to a little girl promising her that Santa would visit her during Christmas. Her parents have sued me because auto-correct, the biggest relationship-destroyer of our times, changed that to ‘Satan’, and now she refuses to sleep in case she misses the visit. Machines know more about you than you know about them; it is sadly true, or, as auto-correct might say, badly glue.
Is there a solution? A way to get out of the clutches of technology?
Experts give us a few rules to observe: Do not open your Notebook before you begin to work on it. When you want to watch World Cup football, turn the channel to Aunt Grace’s Advice on Growing Beans instead, to confuse the television. Never speak into a phone that is stitched on, I mean switched on. When a phone begins to ring, immerse it in water. Always weara moustache to fool the security cameras.
Live a life so boring and pointless that no one would want to breach your privacy. Ensure that behind the dullness there is so much more dullness that Big Brother can no longer bear watching you.
To be uninteresting is to be safe.