Friday, September 20, 2019

#263 / I Am A Watchbird, Watching YOU*

Facebook will soon be marketing a new streaming device, codename "Ripley." Reportedly, this new Portal TV will be available for purchase during the holiday season, and it's going to have a unique, Facebook feature. As you watch TV, the device will be watching you!

I found about this new Facebook product in a bulletin sent by Privacy Blog. If you care about your privacy (and many don't), you might want to sign up to receive your own Privacy Blog advisories. I teach a course called "Privacy, Technology, And Freedom," so I follow the "privacy" topic as a kind of work assignment. 

"Given Facebook’s appalling history of spying on its users," says Privacy Blog, "do you REALLY want this device in your home? If so," Privacy Blog suggests, "you might as well also leave your front door unlocked all the time."

Of course, Privacy Blog may just be overly suspicious. According to an article published in the business section of yesterday's San Jose Mercury News, Facebook is assuring its prospective customers that there is no problem at all. "Don't worry," says Facebook, "the Portal TV's camera and microphone can be turned off with a tap."

* You have to be pretty old, I think, to remember the phrase I have used as the title for this blog post. I do qualify. I was exposed to both Highlights For Children and The Ladies' Home Journal when I was quite young. My mother definitely let me know about the Watchbird that was watching me!

Image Credits:
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  1. I never did read the Ladies Home Journal, but I remember Highlights.

    I don't think it's possible to be overly suspicious when it comes to the Internet. Once you start pulling that thread it unravels pretty quickly, and the mess it makes on the floor is astounding!

  2. That is one seriously scary image!

    When I leave comments on websites, I often wonder, "How 'bad' do I have to be to be noticed and somehow punished by the state?" I assume I fly under the radar. But if the CIA accidentally surveils family men applying for jobs (Snowden says) and picks up tourists to render them to black sites for torture (e.g. El-Masri), probably no one is safe here, either, so might as well "let her rip," right?


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