Those who spy on me

We may as well embrace the advantages that spying can provide us


They probably spy on all of us most of the time so there is no need to put a virus on our mobile phones. Nor sack the spy chief. Our emails are screened to send us adverts they think are relevant to us and to find everything out about us, down to the last detail. I remember seeing a documentary about ten years ago about the terms and conditions we accept when we sign up for a service or a web page on the internet, and those previously unseen texts are truly terrifying. They are impossible to read and, in fact. I don't think anybody does read them unless it is their job or they desperately need to get a life.

There are cases where being spied on can have its advantages. I can think of several. In the world of marketing, for example, if we accept advertising as routine, I would prefer to see something that interests me and not violins or diving equipment. They say Amazon knows what we are going to buy before we even know what the product is like. The recommendations for new music on Spotify make their algorithms one of the best DJs on the planet, and they perform for you alone.

I know where several of my spies are. A few months ago I downloaded Tik-Tok, the short video app that you scroll through with your finger and is the closest thing to mixing zapping with amphetamines. I can understand that teenagers get transfixed by it, but it is also distressing because there are few things worse than that for stimulating concentration. After a while looking at it you seem like a zombie and it is difficult to concentrate on a single paragraph.

The content seems made for you because the system learns every time you touch the screen or keyboard. They know so much about me that I suspect they listen in, to such an extent that I might end up telling them all my business.

Mobile phones are set up to listen the whole time, like Alexa. If you spend a couple of days talking about how much you want to visit Finland, without actually typing any of the words in a search engine, it is highly likely that adverts or content about a trip to Helsinki will suddenly start appearing.

Most of the time we are literally surrounded by microphones and cameras. A lot of devices have them. There are a couple of writers who have said in the past that they don't want an internet connection because it has a hidden camera and spies on you. Now they have a 68" TV screen equipped with artificial intelligence in their living room. If some circumstances are impossible to get away from, what is the point in resisting?