I’m Watching You

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).

image by dennis skley via flickr creative commons

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.

image by colin brown via flickr creative commons

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?”

image by yahoo via flicker creative commons

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.”

image by f1uffster via flickr creative commons

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.



  1. I’ve had that happen from of all people 1-800-Dentists. I knew dentists were scary but not that bad!

    1. As much as I don’t like going to the dentist, I really don’t want them watching me.

  2. Delores · · Reply

    I have ALWAYS had a post it over the camera on ALL my computers. My daughter told me I was paranoid until she heard a story on the news about the FBI and computer cameras. I too have noticed that as soon as I look at an on line item (shopping) but didn’t make a purchase, it pops up on my Drudge Report page as the new banner on the top or whatever it is I look at next I was looking on line at property and had a question so filled in a very short form (3 things) and immediately had a phone call too, while I was still reading about the property!. Yes in deed; they are watching and they ARE everywhere.

    1. Good idea covering all the computers and it never stops amazing me how everyone knows what I’ve bought on amazon, or even just thought about buying it.

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