Pay attention to your data!

08 November 2019
Author   Jackie Wilson Asheeke
It is a whole new world out there in terms of DATA or better called:  Metadata.  That word must be the most important word of the 21st century.  Every bit of information about you and everything around you and involving you, is only a scrap of the data that can be used to dictate/predict all sorts of things that affect you.  Those who figure out a way to control data, will control people.   Metadata is a reality forever. We need to stop being stupid about it and start figuring out ways to protect some shred of our privacy.
“Metadata is precious, yet it doesn’t receive the public attention it deserves. Maybe due to government officials trying their best to stop us from caring. Or perhaps due to legal regulations concerning surveillance – they are often vague and don’t provide sufficient details when citizens become subject to surveillance.” -
OK, I admit that I read a lot of books and have an active imagination.  I’ve read countless numbers of novels and spy stories and have seen all the paranoid movies where government bad guys use computers, satellites, etc.., to persecute the innocent.   They are branded and chased down for something they never did.  Sounds weird right?   But, a paranoid person who actually IS being watched is not so crazy are they? 
Consider this:  When you are on line, you are being recorded.  When you swipe your card to buy something, your purchases are being noted. You send a selfie to friends or take photos while on holiday or at a show, megacomputer programs are sifting through them.  Facial recognition software is a reality.  Big Brother is not some useless reality show, it is our world.  We are being watched and catalogued.
Every day, there are reports about government agencies doin’ the nasty with other people’s data when they have no warrant, no probable cause and no independent judicial permission for the violation of civil liberties.  In effect, no one is watching the watchers.  If you run afoul of them and they can mess you up forever by placing your profile into a particular category.  And, there is nothing you can do about it.  Thank goodness I am a nobody and of absolutely no importance to the powers that be.  This allows me to pretend that I am free.
Developed country governments have mega huge badass computers that can do the global people-spy job.  Of course, they have satellites so advanced that they can watch from space, when Hage Geingob enters or exits State House.  They can tell us what colour tie he has on today.  In the name of national security as THEY define it, they snoop on anyone they choose.
All of the ‘developed’ world governments and maybe even our own security services, spy to try to avert ‘threats’ and protect their interests.  Most operate quite illegally gathering unbelievably massive recordings of people’s telephone calls, addresses, purchases, debts, bills paid, net worth, bank balances, and whatever else. 
With location apps, they can track WHERE you go, WHERE you are in real time.  They can put together probabilities about what you are doing and why. 
The most intimate personal details about us – our political views, health information, finances, family relationships, etc., are out there for those with the metadata collectors and analysis and sorting software to grab and use.
All you people out there who secretly watch porn online, ‘they’ know the naughty that is being watched from your IP address or your computer or smart phone signature.
If you send an email or note via Messenger to a close friend about some deep secret in your heart, a super computer is probably reviewing every word you write. 
I love the colour blue.  I created a beautiful board on Pinterest called Blue Bayou.  I save a wide range of photos of anything that is blue.  When I get on Pinterest, it automatically shows me all kinds of photos of everything blue.  It says, “These are some pins we thought you’d like.” Data about my preferences has been recorded.
Each year I buy a round trip ticket to Philly from whatever online travel agency that offers the cheapest ticket.  I now receive unsolicited ads whenever a cheap air ticket to Philly or NY or DC comes up.  ‘They’ have my data and are target marketing to me.
There is this old song done in 1984 (no joke, it came out in that Orwellian year) by Rockwell (with Michael Jackson singing background vocals) called, “Somebody’s Watching Me”.  The lyrics say:  “I always feel like somebody's watching me;  And I have no privacy;  I always feel like somebody's watching me;  Tell me is it just a dream?”  Never were truer words sung.  Adjust yourselves to that reality and act/react accordingly.  This is situation NOT going away. Pay attention to your data.


The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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