I am not one to go for conspiracy theories. I am all too aware of the human propensity to make meaning out of gobbledygook and see patterns where there aren’t any.* I have one exception: technology. This one has some legitimate foundation upon which to build my fortress of fear. It seems every week I hear about another machination involving our use of the internet and apps. The other day I watched a Youtube video** that fed suspicion I can’t trust my cellphone no further than I can kick it. The fellow in the video had ruined a kitchen pan. He exclaimed out loud to his girlfriend who was also in the kitchen he needs to get a new pan. The next morning when he went online the first thing he saw were ads for pans. Was this just an uncanny coincidence? It turns out no. Here’s the simplified explanation:

When we sign the agreements on social media in the fine print we allow said sites to gain access to our phones. This allows our phones to listen for key words, such as ‘pan’. This is sold to advertisers who in turn send ads to us. This is a common occurrence. If we visit a web site or walk by a business (while using public Wi-Fi) the barons communicate with our phones in order to pitch things.

I suppose this is not ‘news’ to the more tech-savvy Spo-fans but to Urs Truly it was a bit of a shockeroo. Long ago I tried turning off the switches in my phone disallowing it to yap behind my back but did this really assure privacy? Should I succumb to the belief in vogue there is no more privacy and why care or bother?

This week I am in the process of testing the hypothesis. Yesterday I started saying out loud and clear towards my phone “I need a new jockstrap”. While working I repeated this in a variety of ways.  “Gee, I guess I should go on line and look for jockstraps”. I used ‘jockstrap” rather than say “a piston engine” on the hopes if I was to be bombarded by ads at least they would be of interest.

So far no such luck. There have been no ads appearing for jockstraps or athletic gear etc. In a way it’s a disappointment. Thems who are paranoid are never assured or relieved by data that doesn’t support their fears. I should be grateful the hypothesis is either wrong or my attempts towards achieving privacy works.

So much for the phone. Now to the internet. Today I am posting this blog entry on line with the title as you can read it. Let’s see what happens when WordPress and the others get their technie-paws on this one. I will keep you posted if any ads for supportive undergarments appear.

By the way I really could use a new jockstrap so this is a win-win situation.


NOTE: this is not porn, this is bait.


*This phenomenon has a name: pareidolia. It is the basis for more misery in human history than wars, disease, famine, and strip malls.

**The irony of this is Youtube will no doubt send me countless links for more videos of likewise contents so I will spend even more time exposed to their ads. This shite never ends.