Big Brother is Watching! – You!
It has been a while since I posted but I said it would not be every day . . . . or every week! Plus, now that I know how insidiously Big Brother and all his little Retail and Social friends are watching, I may have to rethink my whole profile and approach – but not likely.
A couple of examples that you can try for yourself – but be careful what you use as your “test” cases – especially if anyone has access to your social content.
Facebook is notorious for this. Profiling is one aspect – e.g., you look at a “funny sports video” and suddenly your are swamped with posting for “funny this” and “funny that” – but they’re not, and you scratch your head wondering why in the world am I getting this crap! BTW – it’s your own fault.
That’s bad enough but at least it is generic and not really targeted. However, it only scratches the surface as out there the Retail guys are monitoring your every move and coming back at you with a vengeance and a clear indication of knowing exactly where you were surfing and what you specifically looked at. They are then turning that around, almost in real time and flooding their sales pitches back at you. There are no Internet secrets and recent hacks are only publicizing the illegal stuff and not the stealthy day to day stuff.
On Good Friday I was bored so I went on to Henry’s camera site and looked at some used equipment – specifically a Nikon DSLR – a DX 7100. I am thinking of trading up one of my DX 5000 for some enhanced features – mainly image size.
After that I bopped over to Best Buy for a quick browse on TVs as Jane is trying to convince me that our geriatric Samsung 50” is soon planning on committing Seppuku and joining its Japanese ancestors (I snuck in this politically incorrect comment to see if the thought police are watching too).
Anyway I looked at a couple of Samsung (brand specific) 65” (bigger is better) smart, 4K, 120mhz. . . models to see what kind of dough I would have to cough up. Did not like it and left to do something else.
Shortly, and I mean very shortly thereafter, I fired up my Facebook page and guess what. Amidst the other junk I had a posting about this wonderful Samsung 65” TV I could buy at Best Buy and just a few intrusions further down a wonderful posting plug offering me a spiffy new Nikon DX 7200 at a wonderful price!
What an amazing coincidence I thought – NOT!
Then Saturday morning I logged in to play a couple of Microsoft games (Xbox versions on my PC – you know that all work and no play make Wayne a duller boy than usual) and low and behold, the drop in ads were from – you guessed it! – Best Buy – Samsung 65” TVs and Henry’s Nikon DX 7200 camera.
Got to hand it to those guys – they are really working the system. However, if those two Retailers have responded that quickly to some marginal browsing data, you may want to consider the personal data that some big vacuum cleaner data mining guy is building on each and every one of us.
Big Brother Number 2 – actually #1 – The Canada Revenue Agency. (CRA – the wonderful Tax Squad). Regular correspondents with me but let’s leave that for another day.
Last week I sat down with my trusty Turbo Tax for a first blush look at my 2017 government donations for a better Canada. The numbers made me wonder why I even bother working but again leave for another day.
This year since I have that nice personal account with my CRA friends and since Turbo Tax is basically idiot proof, I decided to download directly all of those tax forms that my friendly income associates had already kindly forwarded to the spy network on my behalf. What a surprise (or not) to find that my CRA friends already had every one of the forms I would have needed to manually enter to complete my taxes. – T4, T5, T4PS, T5000 and whatever.
As a salaried employee, that begs the question – Why do I have to even bother doing my taxes?
Just send me “another” money grab request or, heaven forbid, a refund.
- Are the CRA guys just sitting back hoping to catch me “cheating” – by omission or commission?
- Are the CRA heavy investors in Tax prep software and services?
- Is this just another way to propagate and grow civil service jobs?
- Does the CRA just like grinding this odious task in all our faces?
Or, All of the above.
Yes, before you tell me – what about “other” deductions? Not a big deal just have an additional deduction form you can send in – if you have any – to have them adjust your statement (medical. charitable, whatever) or have one on-line form on your CRA account and you’re done.
Probably the real reason that they don’t do this is the would likely screw it up and no one would trust “Them”.
But remember – You are being watched – by everyone – everywhere – everyday – and – someday when you least expect it, someone will come up to you, tap you on the shoulder and say “Smile. You’re on Candid Camera!” Now turn around and put your hands behind your back.