I may pretend to be an interesting person, but I am not. We live in an era of self-importance that makes it seem like we all have the most unique experience ever. I’m the perfect example: I think what I have to say is important enough to be writing it here for you. The truth is, most of the time I am either listening to a podcast or watching something on Netflix. Just like the rest of us, I don’t have much going on. Is this how you write a captivating introduction?
Privacy is an interesting subject. And while I’m not going to sit here and unpack the laws and legislature in place to protect our privacy as a right (because I have no room to speak on the subject), I do want to talk about one thing: covering the cameras on your laptops.
Most people do this. Some of you did it hastily on the first day your company gave you that new laptop, using a piece of torn printer paper and scotch tape. Others bought one of those fancy ones on Amazon with the little slide cover for when you have to pretend you’re wearing pants during that one conference call with the video on. Either way, you covered up, because you saw a tweet that said Zuckerberg covers his camera up to prevent the FBI from watching his every move. I’m not sure if you know this, but you’re not Zuck. He should cover his camera: he’s in hot water with the government right now. I, on the other hand, have nothing going on that would be worth going through the trouble of even obtaining my IP address. If there is someone watching me right now, here’s what I’d say to them:
Dear FBI Guy,
If you see me right now, I’m sorry. My hair is all messy and I’m typing with a posture that’s giving me about 4 chins. You can probably hear the dog snoring in the mic, which isn’t really worth it since you can’t see him. I’m currently not wearing pants, and I might get up to get another cup of coffee, so you’ll have to see that. You just watched me eat greek yogurt and granola, so could you tell me if I have anything in my teeth or corners of my mouth? You’re probably wondering, “It’s 10:15 on a Tuesday, doesn’t this guy have work to do?” The answer is I’m getting to it, eventually. Fine, I’ll check my work phone. No new emails. Back to YouTube for another hour-long video essay on the state of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
These people are also concerned about smart devices like Google Home and Alexa; that they’re listening constantly, collecting, and storing the information. Of course, they are! That’s how they’re able to recognize your voice and do all the cool things we use them for. Do you know how many times my Google Home has saved me from getting up to turn the lights off when I’m already cozy in bed? I’ll trade that for them knowing how many times I’ve asked her to play the Moana soundtrack this week. Plus, my Instagram Ads have never been better.
I even went so far as to add another level of Big-Brotheresque monitoring to our home with the addition of a Furbo. This puppy cam is always on, which has a microphone attached to it, so you can hear if your dog is barking. On top of that, you can toss your pup treats while you’re watching the screen (which is, admittedly, a ton of fun), and even talk to the pup to let him know he’s going to be fine, and that you’re on your way home. We are making it as easy as possible for the government to track our every move, and it hasn’t gone wrong yet… Except for that time my girlfriend was out of town and scared me half to death because she yelled at me through the Furbo when she was at a crowded bar. Not OK.
I don’t really understand the idea of covering up your camera or being afraid of any of these things, really. All you’re really accomplishing is leaving a huge amount of residue on the screen of your laptop, which will be a pain to get off. So, let FBI guy see you naked. He’s probably bored at his desk and could use some excitement.