They are everywhere
Watching, waiting, anticipating. Spending most of my adult life dealing with the darker edges of society–prison, probation and jails–I’ve seen how low humanity can sink. If there is a weakness, or vulnerability present, I can count on a predator to hide in the shadows, ready to pounce.
These soulless opportunists strike when their victims least expect it. They use brute strength, guile and weapons to take what they want. I ran into one this week and discovered that not all of these villains wear black (or at least I imagine they do).I’m poking along, minding my own business when he struck. Let me set it up for you to give it a little context. I was writing. Well I should have been writing and had my internet browser open for research purposes. Okay, it was a couple of social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, a couple of news feeds and a corporate business page). Don’t judge me. I do enough of that myself.
While following the links on the business website, I pluck here and there and find a form for the particular service I need from that company. I download the PDF form their secure website, behind my firewall and virus protection. Then the strike occurs.The mugging wasn’t in the form of a cyber attack, or malware inserted into my computer’s operating system. It’s not like I have nuclear reactor centrifuges running in the guest bedroom. My phone rang. Caller ID showed an unfamiliar number in Phoenix. I know people in Phoenix, so I answer the call.
On the other end of the call is a guy from the company, whose webpage was still up on my screen. Strange coincidence–so I thought until he said, “I noticed you just downloaded a form. Do you need some help completing it?”He. Knew. What. I. Downloaded. Less. Than. A. Minute. Ago.
They were watching me. I glanced up at the camera built into my screen and the light wasn’t on. His corporate overlords could have activated the camera and not turned the light on. Oh Jesus, what else have they seen?
The predator asks how he can help (lure) me with the form and the business transaction. The caller is legit. I easily confirm that he is from the company and has my account information in front of him on his monitor. I flip the bird to my computer camera to see if I get a reaction from the guy. Nothing.
I get the guy off the phone, close all my browser windows, douse the keyboard in bleach and start covering all the online cameras with post it notes. Why the hell does a television need a camera?
The caffeine fueled paranoia builds to the point where I’m certain if one company tracks (monitors) my keystrokes and web history, then what do the NSA and TSA have on me? I have noticed I’ve been getting a bit more intimate with TSA screeners in recent months. They can call it an enhanced pat-down, but my annual physical exam was less “handsy.”I can explain away my internet history–I’m a writer and I need to look up weird shit on a regular basis. But when Big Brother actually calls you up and knows what you downloaded in real time–that’s kinda stalker creepy. But it serves as a reminder–They are everywhere and they don’t all wear black.