Spies like us

Published 7:38 pm Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I always feel like somebody’s watching me. Sing along.

Paranoia, I think I have a case of it. I have begun to think that every thing I say or do may be monitored, videoed or listened to. Should that worry me? My husband thinks I say to anyone, anything that comes out of my head without a filter anyway. Why would a person like me worry?

Because I say things! My little rudder of a tongue speaks and not all should be broadcasted!

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You should be worried too. We all should be paranoid. The cellphone has become more than a convenient tool to make a phone call; it has now become a spy, a device to record and replay.  If the material is embarrassing enough, you become a YouTube sensation with millions of hits.

Before, if you slipped down, the only witnesses were those around you, but not anymore. The whole world has access to your demise.

I love attention. If the world is a stage, then I am front and center and singing my heart out. As a youngster, I would love to perform and if there were no real onlookers, then I would make-believe a few. I would set up an audience made of photos of Parker Stevenson, Donny Osmond, and David Cassidy and on my living room stage I would give the performance of my life, tap dancing like Fred Astaire, singing like Barbra Streisand, and I was a star!

How horrified would I have been if my show had been replayed on millions of computer screens throughout the world?

You never know when someone may be listening. Just beware.

What made me this way? The last straw came this week when my cellphone, the evil device that came from Satan himself, took it upon itself to make a phone call … all on its own.

There I was, in a heated ping-pong match with my husband who thinks it funny to beat me endlessly with his tricks and spins, pushing my buttons like only he can do and I may have had some PMS left in my forthysomething system to push me into the hyper aggressive mode. I may have called him a few names, some accusatorial words may have flown and some slamming of a paddle to emphasize my frustration. All PG- thirteenish stuff, nothing remotely vulgar, but nothing I would want my Methodist Pastor friend to hear!

Thanks to my cellphone, the good reverend and his wife got over three minutes of airtime, and they heard my name- calling, fit-throwing competitive nature at its best.

I rarely get embarrassed. I cringed when I realized. They laughed. I melted into the earth…or I wish I had.

Yes, you never know who is listening. We know God is listening, but He promised to forgive us and He made us the way we are, so He should know what we will say! It’s the other guy we must worry about!

The next ping pong match, the phone was left upstairs. I am preparing an exorcism for my phone.

Recently, I have learned through another life lesson that these seemingly innocent devices can be doctored up with spyware. Let’s just say, two women talking in private, or think they are, can be secretly recorded via the cellphone. This can be done no matter where they are and no matter whether the phone is turned off.

Good Morning America did a piece on it. A woman was being stalked for years and could not figure out how the stalker knew so much. Eventually, it was found out that with a simple application he could follow her every move, listen to every phone call, read every text and even listen to any conversation in range from her phone. Does this sound creepy enough to you? That is because it is!

It can happen to you. It happened to a friend of mine.

There are laws; some vary from state to state. Illegally recording conversations without one of the party’s consent is against the law subject to fines and imprisonment. Plus, if you use the illegally gotten recordings to blackmail then you have really up the ante.

Are there some crazy folks out there doing this stuff? Of course! Just Google cellphone spyware and the buffet of listening devices are easily available and very inexpensive. It’s not exclusive to phones either, you can get a pen that writes and listens. It is all very James Bond’ish.

On one website it encourages the use of the spyware “to protect ourselves against any possible attacks against our assets or our family, it is important to be one step ahead of our enemies.” It forgets to mention how morally wrong, unethical, un-Christian like and downright creepy it is to listen to coworkers, friends, and family members!

For awhile, they had a commercial on television that advertised a device that amplified sound, at first they promoted it innocently, such as for hard hearing individuals the ability to hear the television clearer, then it quickly turned to eavesdropping on the neighbor or the guy in the gym across the room. What! Is it okay to listen in on others people’s conversations because technology allows it?

Yes. I am paranoid. I may watch every word that comes out of my mouth from now on, even in the privacy of my own home, on my own ping pong court, or having coffee with a friend.

It appears the walls may not have ears, but everything else can.

Tracy Williams is a syndicated columnist and can be reached at her website: myhometowncolumn.com or become a fan on Facebook at My Hometown Column.