22 April, 2012

1984

Alas, George Orwell's prophecy has come true. Its 30 years late, but its now a reality. His book, 1984, I mean. For those unfamiliar with the aforesaid gentleman and book [having been born subsequently :) ], here's a helpful link as to what it is all about.

The sudden realisation dawned on me through the innocuous act of installing the Ghostery plugin to my Firefox browser. I had innocently thought that something that would enhance my internet privacy would not be a bad thing. Little did I realise what a disaster it would lead to.

You see, I had not realised how much the powers that be were interested in my colourless life. Within one second of installing the damn thing it showed me that Facebook and Twitter were monitoring my every click on the Net. Never mind that I don't use either of those.  I expected to see the usual culprits like Google Analytics and Double Click. But, pray, what on earth are Chitika, Open X, Crazy Egg, Tealium doing spying on me ..... . Now every 5 minutes, Ghostery is throwing up a new character that wants to monitor me. As soon as I block one, another one pops up. I have become completely paranoid. What on earth is happening.

Why is anybody even remotely interested in what I do ?? After all, the wonderfully exciting things I do on the Net are blogging, checking email, etc etc.  I am not a terrorist. I am not in  China trying to stir up trouble over Bo Xilai. I am not  circulating cartoons of a certain Chief Minister of India, which will land you in jail. No, I am not even browsing girlie sites !

So who is interested. The official explanation is that they are collecting non identifiable data so that they can target ads better . Really ? Who the hell cares two hoots about an ad on the Net these days ? I haven't ever bought a single thing on the Net because I saw an ad for it. I never will.

I think Big Brother has come into being. With all this analysing going on, I can picture my dossier in Big Brother's hands. My dad's name is Ramamritham and Rajalakshmi is my secret girl friend.  I have connections with the Greek protestors since I am friendly with , one, Zeno. I have a taste for seafood since I seem to be fascinated with Gils. I have one eighth Maori blood in me since I know a kiwibloke.  ?  And I am surely narcissistic since I seem to be gazing at Reflections (yes, she is eminently gazeable at:)) . But who in the world is the mysterious "J" ?

I am now quaking with dread. No doubt there are video and audio trackers in action. Since I rarely switch off my computer, they can presumably see what I do and listen to what I say. They can find out some amazing things. Yes, I woke up at 7.48 in the morning today. No, I do not sing in the shower. Yes, my sartorial talents are not well developed. No, I do not watch TV .... Riveting stuff.

This is simply awful. Even the good old Soviet Union of yore, or  present day North Korea are better. Get an internet connection at your peril. Big Brother is bound to find out that you sleep on your tummy.

21 comments:

Appu said...

Truly ROFL :))) rajalakshmi your secret gal friend LOL
well if no one cares about ads on net, the 1 billion dollar acquisition madness will not be happening ;)
by the way if not twitter you should come to FB just to see gils update :))

gils said...

ennaaaa kodumaaa saar ithu!!! unga blog title paathutu indigo airlinesoda employee insider info tharaarunu kuda nenaikalam :D:D

Ramesh said...

@Zeno - No way. I shall keep badgering Gilsu to blog.

@Gils - Yeah, I know these days you are fixated with airlines. And the lovely damsels inside.

Shachi said...

LMAO :) :) :) :)....what prompted you to download the plugin :P? But now that you have plunged in, you've got me curious about your internet life ;)

raghavendra kotla said...

Browsing girlie sites/ secret gf rajalakshmi/sartorial talents...I'm laughing out very loud:-) :-) boss, pls write a satirical comedy novel, I will buy the first copy :-)

Ramesh said...

@Shachi - Oh I read very exciting stuff on the Net. Like a blog called Expressions :)

@Kotla -Ha Ha. I am much flattered.

rads said...

wow that sounds like a gr8 plugin, you got me curious must try it.

J said...

Too funny! I am still wondering what online activity of yours makes you a target of so much tracking! Confess - because my imagination may be more dangerous than the reality - not that I am underestimating you in any way :)

But jokes apart, the analogy to 1984 is not too far-fetched. The amount of web-tracking is just too scary. It annoys me no end that NYTimes website suggests Indian news stories for me to read. Why should they know or care if I follow Indian news. They should just do their job of providing the news and I can make my own choices, thank you. This paranoia on my part may be unfounded and maybe we will all get used to having information about us out there and redefine what privacy means to us. But till then J is not mysterious enough for my comfort!

Ramesh said...

@Rads - Really ?? I have a plug in which the expert Rads doesn't ?? Is that even possible :)

@J - Ha Ha - Let your imagination soar :)

Yes; this so called personalisation is a real pain. In many sites I am directed to their India portal simply because I am browsing from India although I have no interest in that and am trying to reach their global portal. Sometimes its even impossible to reach the non India site. I really hate some stupid program trying to determine what I can see. If that is not Big Brother of 1984 fame, then what it ?

Venkat said...

haha, ramesh back in humor form. Make sure ghostery do not trun as a big boss of all big brothers. Ipo ellam thiefs police dresslathan varanga :)
And for the misktake of hiding your raji from your readers you are sentenced to watch the latest tamil movie 3 for 3 times.

sriram khe said...

Yet again, our interests intersect, and our worries are not that dissimilar either :)

This blog post of mine from a few months ago, and the talk embedded there, might interest you ...?

Or, perhaps this one, which I have even tagged as "big brother" :)

Ramesh said...

@Venkat - Ha Ha. I shall do any penance in order to escape that punishment !!!

@Sriram - Oh - our views are completely congruent on this one. Its appalling how freedoms we would never give up in the real world are automatically taken away in the virtual world. For eg, if a store employee walked every inch of the way next to you in a store and wrote down everything you saw or touched, you would head straight to the courts. And yet that's exactly what is taken for granted on the Net.

Reflections said...

I know u wrote it tongue-in-cheek Ramesh but I have taken it with all seriousness .....u see my H is always warning me about these things. He is totally convinced that it is a big bad world out there just waiting to entrap you into the...well trap. At first I used to dismiss his warnings but certain things have slowly started to convince me that there may be some truth in it.
H's take is that maybe not all are dangerous but 1 is enough to create enough damage to sometimes last a lifetime.

Ramesh said...

@Reflections - Yes, it is serious, but its a bit like a glass window, isn't it ?? Lovely to look at and lets in the sunshine, but if you don't have curtains ......:)

Exkalibur 666 said...

Truly hilarious post :)... Privacy now exists only in ones mind.. even that for how long remains to be seen...

CMK said...

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-opinion/article3350872.ece

Similar sentiments in 'The Hindu' on 25th April. Have given the link above. Makes one uneasy.

Sandhya Sriram said...

When we joined as management trainees, we were told that all emails are stored in some place and there is some one who randomly monitors and emails and if you circulating stuff that not ought to be circulated and some one picks this up, you could lose your job.

Initially, we all used to be very careful on contents on email, but over time, it kind of doesnt matter. so what, if some one reads this. how does it matter.

It is very much the same. frankly, i dont think any one can make any sense out of ocean of data that they have and try to create some sense.

So is ok, i guess.

Well, coming to Rajalakshmi - are you giving us some hints ;-)

Ramesh said...

@Sandhya - Not really. Yes, overload of data is a defence, but you see, in the case of the Net, the data is used. I don't want ads to be streamed to me based on what I have bought ; I don't want sites to suggest what I should read or watch and I certainly don't want some dumb machine to know who my friends are.

Ramesh said...

@Excalibur - Wonderful to see your comment after a long time. So true - privacy exists only in the mind these days.

@CMK - Nice article; thanks for the link. Great to see your comment again after a long time.

Vishal said...

Ramesh - this is one big black box. I guess. With so much of information, someone or the other one uses them for their own pity benefits. Truth is that internet has empowered the masses in their thoughts and actions. Be it blog or other revelations around fighting injustice. Those in power and in wrong would obviously be uncomfortable with the internet

Reflections said...

Hehe a lot like the glass window;-D