Scary Alexa – Digital Footprints – All eyes on us
Lord knows with the amount of time I spend on the computer, I’m enabling my digital footprints to stretch far and beyond. We’re caught in a web of our personal lives, living somewhere in the digital library of bits and pieces of everyone, somewhere. We are losing that ability to remain anonymous as digitalization progresses. Privacy is quickly becoming obsolete in today’s digital world.
Do you ever think about the fact that anytime we go out in public we are susceptible to being videoed and/or recorded? Anyone, anywhere can take our picture and use it however they deem. Nary a public place is without a camera for their ‘security’ purposes, but nonetheless, we’re recorded. Personally, I feel there’s wayyyyyy too much information for strangers to have access to and then to do what they please with it. I don’t like it!
Maybe we’re just getting too complacent and don’t pay enough attention to it anymore, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. There is nowhere safe anymore it seems. And this isn’t just about once we step into the outside world, but we invite the same into our own homes – some unknowingly and others quite willingly. Just think about all the digital gadgets we all have in our homes. From computers with webcams and microphones to our phones tracking our every move, and Smart TVs – there are potentially eyes on us if we don’t remain cognizant about smart digital use such as turning off mics and covering up webcams when not in use.
And as if we don’t have enough technological spyware following us, enter Alexa. I refuse to have one in my home. I feel there’s enough ‘big brother’ going on in our personal lives and I’m doing my best to keep from being spied on as best I can in the cyberworld, but let’s face it, if we work on computers daily, the best we can do is help minimize the invasions. All these digital methods come with way too much convenience in exchange for our digital footprints being sold to third parties to be shared, often exploited, and lord knows who else, so they can follow us around on our digital apparatus and flash advertising at us.
The way I see it is, if I have a computer, Ipad and cell phone within reach, do I really need to purchase an Alexa bot to move into my home so I can ask it to do things for me? Am I too lazy to Google something myself? Am I too lazy to press a button myself to turn on music or turn off a light? Do I really need to place an order on Amazon with a bot? The answer to all above are no. Besides, I’d much rather log onto Amazon and search around for things myself, and do price comparisons, and of course, read reviews before purchasing anything – not just a book. I personally don’t enjoy a bot living in my home listening to everything that transpires in my life, my phone calls and personal discussions, because you can be sure it’s being stored in someone’s archives. No thanks. I’m not interested in living under surveillance more than I already must. And if the day comes that I’m too lazy to get off a couch to press a button, then there’s something really wrong.
Everything we can imagine is at our fingertips – literally. Who would imagine with so many newfangled freedoms of technology we’d have to give up more of our privacy with everything we order, signup up for or merely browse. It’s the price we pay to be part of the digital movement. And if I can find ways to eliminate digital footprints I will.
So how do we attempt to keep the exposure down? Notice I said down, and not off, because in today’s world, if you have a digital gadget there’s never going to be a way to remain completely anonymous. But there are some things we can do to keep the invasion at bay:
- Cover your webcams with a post-it-note
- Turn off the mic on computer/tablets when there’s no need to use it
- Turn off the location on your cell phones so Big Brother doesn’t follow you everywhere and only turn on when using maps for navigation
- Sign out of your TV apps when not watching them
- Use browsers that don’t track you like Opera or Duck Duck Go
- Don’t leave your Alexa on all the time (if you must use one)
Another note of caution when house hunting – Beware when viewing properties. Many homeowners have their webcams or apps on their phones set up to view inside their homes while away, similar to Nanny cams. We don’t often think about these things when we’re in the moment and focused on the task of checking out a property, while it’s very likely the current owner has their cameras set up so they can listen to feedback from potential buyers. The days are gone where we can freely check a property and voice our concerns or comments without them being listened to. Pay attention to what you talk about while viewing, particularly, snarky comments and conversations about potentially placing an offer on the property. Save all that for once outside the home. Trust me, I have first-hand experience at this!
Do you have something you’d like to add to this conversation?