Wednesday, December 3, 2014
The Great Con
internet and corporate liars, tricksters and thieves
How could I be so stupid?
It's a question I ask myself with regularity.
Today, the question had its origin in making a rookie mistake while shopping online for car insurance. I was filling out a questionnaire. I knew I was letting myself in for trouble. I hesitated...but I put aside my intuition and answered the questions: what kind of car do I have, what make and model, what year? How many miles do I drive in a month? Name, date of birth, etc etc.
We're with Triple A, and we're not getting mugged. I guess I crumbled under the accumulating pressure of all those commercials, you know, the ones that tell you how much money you can save in less than fifteen seconds?
How could I be so stupid? I wasn't even finished filling out the form when my new smartphone played its cheerful marimba melody. It was a caller from my own area code, so I answered.
It was an insurance sales-person. I had just pressed "SUBMIT" on the internet form, no more than half a second had passed. The calls began. In five minutes I had five calls. The computer server that acts as Uber- flypaper for naive shoppers had relayed the fact that I was price-comparing automobile insurance via the internet.
Listen to me...we live in a world of slick cons, tricky subterfuges, hidden fees and marketing mendacity. The Internet has enabled an army of predatory sales-drones to gather in one mighty fortress. Their armies sally forth to lay siege to our fragile world of shrinking incomes. These lies, exaggerations and slick tricks are aimed and ready. They rain down upon us like a hail of arrows. The only shield we have is common sense, vigilance and experience.
I just had an experience. Henceforth I will treat internet information forms like Ebola bacilli. They're not here to make us wiser, wealthier or healthier. They're here to strip us to our last dime..
I've noticed that the button on my new smartphone, the "REJECT CALL" button, is harder to activate than the green button that accepts the incoming projectile. I swipe in five directions, I tap it once, twice, three times. I tap-and-swipe and the ring-tone continues its maddening marimba until finally I locate, purely by accident, that "move" that rejects an incoming missile qua sales-call.
Excuse me for just a second, my smartphone is burbling again with its default ring-tone. I've had the thing a week. I've figured out a fraction of its capabilities. I turned off the Data icon. I don't need a phone to hook me up to the internet. I don't need my email on my phone. I've got it right here in a high speed Broad Band-equipped desktop computer. My email is 99 percent junk, anyway.
I got this phone to save money. I've been getting robbed blind by AT&T. I use my phone two or three times a week. I don't text. So I purchased a Tracfone, a prepaid
deal at a fixed price. Phone minutes, text minutes and data minutes, all at a fixed price. I am not APP-CRAZY. I installed one APP, a gizmo that reports and analyzes my minutes, text and data. Guess what? My data was getting used up faster than its brothers and sisters. So I must research a fundamental question: what IS data?
It's inernet stuff. It's email, videos, chat, it's....it's Google! Omygod, Google is in control of my smartphone! Google is an empire, it's like the oncoming Janissaries of the Ottoman juggernaut but it's today! and it's in control of everything. It beams Data through my App, whether or not I want it!
I don't fucking trust my phone. What kind of world are we living in? Everywhere I go, people are umbilically attached to these plastic rectangles. They're either looking down at it adoringly, or they have it pressed to their ear as if it's a lover bestowing a kiss. This is crazy shit, amigos!
I don't trust my phone. And neither should you.
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