Thursday, March 10, 2011


On Wednesday I received an e-mail from  offering me a discount on a product.

On Monday I had been researching numerous sources for this product for a client. I had not been sourcing  this item at  Well.  I am not a techie but does this mean the search engines I use collect  and disburse data on my searches and then sells that data to others?  A few hours later I received an e-mail from offering me a discount on the same type of product.  Hummmm.
Does that mean if I delete, rather than respond to the Amazon mail they sell the data assuming they will not be losing my business so are selling  "old" or "dated" or lesser probability of a sale data to others?
Before the day was over I had 6 e-mail offers for products I had researched on Monday.

It made me extremely glad I have declined all online banking offers.
I think this is false security.

I went to a grocery store on Monday in another city.
I went to that particular store because I had done an online search for a " local source" which inventories salt free baking powder. Something which cannot be bought within 35 miles of the Pond. It is the only item I purchased. I paid by debit card.   I received a receipt for the purchase and then I was handed several coupons for other food items I buy regularly at my local grocers. They are not necessarily salt-free or special dietary foods and they were not coupons for items I had researched online. They were coupons for things I had bought at my local grocers, using that same debitcard, on Sunday.  The realization made the Twilight Zone theme song play in my head. And it made me queasy.

But it got worse.
Wednesday afternoon I received snail mail addressed to me. Sort of.
It was addressed to my christian first name and my "Fishy" surname.
The mail was a promotion for a business selling products relative to an
online tutorial I had watched about a particular painting technique.
The Twilight Zone music played a lot louder. It's not my favorite tune.

Did I forfeit all privacy by having  Google mail boxes and  Google blogspots or a Google business listing for FishyDesigns? By using Google's search engine?  I have avoided the social networks. No facebooking for self or business, no twitter, no active LinkedIn. I , like every other businessperson, need to have an internet presence for my business. But how do I do this without inviting serious risks to privacy?

I do have a PayPal account and have bought online with a credit card.
But. I have a single, ceilinged card I use for these purposes. I set this up to limit risks.
Or so I thought.  Actually, I think all money  transactions have been safe. Data is different.
Data has been  collected, categorized, disbursed.
My banking friends tell me it is riskier to write checks because once a check is in hand the
bank routing codes and all other data are right there. A computer they say, will not use data for gain while an immoral human will.

So how do I secure my data?
Is it possible?
I am not a techie .
If I am doing something stupid, please, please tell me and help me!
Is there is a way to prevent Google from selling data about me if I use Google?
How exactly can I do anything about data collected from where I use my debit card?
I doubt I can impact the integrity of employees of firms who receive checks from me.

This is not Lucy  and Ethel listening in on Ricky's calls and, it isn't funny.

If I were a billionaire, looking for a secure investment for my lucre, I would launch an internet empire with untraceable searching, debit or credit purchasing  and cloud data storage capabilities for one flat rate per year. It probably already exists. Of course there are also sights which offer you the tools to "spy" or "track" those who believe they are searching invisibly.  Can you hear the music too?
But wait ! There is more! Did you know you can now sign up to have your house wired for Google ?
What they call " Smart TV" where you can search the net from your TV? Want to know how?
Just download the Mobile Code reader by texting APP to 332211.


fishy said...

Today I received an e-mail from PamOKC addressing the new supplement she is taking for adrenal fatigue. Once I opened her e-mail 5 ads for "adrenal fatique" supplements appeared on the sidebar. Does this not mean the content of the e-mail was mined?

Also received this morning a confirmation for an online purchase. Above the main index appeared a flashing info bar announcing a sale on the exact products purchased only the ad was for a competitive company.

Does this happen to you?

Jenny said...

Yes! This happened to me last year. I was looking at shoes on Zappos and clicked (and maybe stayed too long) on a particular pair. I didn't buy them. For the next month I was "followed" by screen ads on my home page (MSN) for those shoes by Zappos. It freaked me out. At first, I thought it was just a big coincidence (dumb) but after it happened again with Overstock I realized most of my online viewing is being monitored. It freaks the hell out of me and yet I refuse to bunker down and hide. Like you, I use specific cards with limits for online purchases and because I refuse to give Paypal access to my checking account, I have to use my business partner's when I make purchases. I find myself using cash more than my debit/credit card and I never use my debit card at a gas station. Those are the ones easiest to steal your card number/etc.

I'll be interested to read what others have to say about this.

Aunty Belle said...


Where can a body go to escape the digi-bots?

This is what happened two days ago:

I got a TEXT message inviting me to a special deal on PayPal.

Huh?? How the same hill do paypal drone crawlers know mah cell phone number? Cause' folks, I doan ever, have never used paypal. Freaked? Youbetcha.

An Pam, Fishy? I need some adrenal fatigue relief too.

fishy said...

I will not/have not given PayPal any bank account numbers. They have the data for one of the limited credit cards. A friend has suggested if I go ahead with plans for an online business that I set up a separate bank account to use just for PayPal interaction.
There is also a recommendation to keep the balances low and to transfer the money out to another account promptly because PayPal always has access to that account.

I just about always use a debit card at the gas pumps, have for over a decade and so far, no issues.

No question the technology is here. It bothers me that as a private citizen I cannot elect or option the right to not have the
DataBots out there spewing my statistics and interests.

I think the Bots have my medical records. Our insurance required us to quit using local pharmacies and go with a huge national mail order supply house. And guess what? I get sidebar advertisements for all sorts of crap everythime my meds ship. This is soooooooo Orwellian.

If you have a newer smart phone get ready to have lots of text messages for goods and or services for things you were just discussing in your text messages.
And... my bank sent an insert with the statements saying do not do your banking from a smart phone as security is breached when you do.

I guess we know what happens when we detach school children from ethical-moral teachings. They grow up to believe this is good, even a right and are now running the companies who practice technology is might is right.
I can tell you this, don't ever hand your phone to a teen, they will canvas everything in there in seconds. This actually happened to me with a great nephew and when I pointed out why tht was unacceptable he said, " No way! Aunt Fishy, you handed me the phone so all's fair". I had handed him the phone because he asked if I had a current pic of Mermaid. I won't fall for that ruse again.

Today I put into my search engine
" Mountain Laurel" and what came up? One of Chickory's paintings! I was stunned. It routed me to her Etsy spot not her blog but wow what a shocker that was.

Shouldn't there be a way to opt out of all this intrusiveness? To browse and communicate without eyes on. Seriously if I am getting ads based on the content of an e-mail, while I am reading that e-mail, isn't my privacy being violated????

Pam said...

Fishy, I get some of that too ... but go back and check your internet settings on your computer for one thing. Delete your cookies, and set it for a higher security setting. I get this some but not as much as you are saying. But this is exactly why I was hesitant to get involved with Google. Then decided, what the heck, it is what it is. Same with Facebook. Evidently they have marketing abilities that are beyond belief, because not only do they know what ads you click on, they also know your other demographics such as age, gender, etc etc etc. But guess what, I'm just as addicted on the facebook also.

Auntie, e-mail me about the adrenal fatigue, or go look at my MCW post, it shows what i just started using. But would love to discuss symptoms with others who think they might be having this issue.

fishy said...

It is looking like what happened is the most recent security system upgrade blocked Mozilla Firefox.
This made the computer return to the default setting of using Internet Explorer which did not have the same security settings as the Mozilla and thus the invasions.

Lesson learned !
Next I have to figure out how to get Mozilla back. Until then it's back to this desktop.

blog master said...

hey there fishy,
the theme for haiku monday is pulchritude. hope you can come and play.

moi said...

I haven't experienced this in quite the same chilling way you describe, although I will tell you that capturing and storing the purchasing habits of the average American is one of the number one businesses today.

My real father is the only person I know of who has never had a credit card, pays everything in cash (even his home), and STILL he gets offers from credit card companies and mailers for items he's purchased in the past.

Is it scary? Yes. But I would say at this point, the results are more bothersome than nefarious.

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