If you’ve ever wondered just how plugged in we all are to the Matrix, you must read Someone’s Watching You!, Forest Lee‘s thorough examination of how all of our personal information is gathered, stored, used, and who’s collecting it and why.
When it comes to technology, we all have our personal comfort zones. We’re highly selective about who we give our name, address, and phone numbers to, among other precious data. Some of us are fine with finding friends on Facebook, but panic at the notion of online banking. Some folks still refuse to shop online, lest some hack pilfer their credit card number. While still some others won’t even enter the arena of online social networking because within moments of signing up on Facebook, their second grade social studies teacher pops up in the right hand corner of the screen under the suggestion “Here’s someone you might know.” How does Facebook know who I might know, you may have wondered. The answer to that question is in this book.
Even if you eschew the internet completely, don’t even have an email account, I bet you probably have a cell phone, right? Well, that handy little device you keep in your purse or on your hip may be blabbing about you to whoever might be listening nearby – even when you’re not actually using it. The more sophisticated your phone, the more it dishes the dirt on you, according to Lee.
Let’s say you don’t even have a cell phone. You’re old school like that. Well then, you must at the very least have a keychain full of store discount cards, right? Oh boy do they give up the goods on you, honey! And lest we think it’s okay to do that because “OMG Two-for-one Doritos!” – think again. Before store “˜discount’ cards were introduced to us brokesters in need of a good bargain, those Doritos cost about 70% less. Yes, that’s right: stores jack up the prices so that our deep discount is only a mirage of savings. According to Lee, we’re better off without them, as stores tailor their inventory not to meet the demands of the 80% of us who use the cards, but to the 20% who are willing to pay full price. In that way, rich people (or those who can afford to be less frugal) really do make decisions for the rest of us. The result of which is a drastic reduction in the availability of the products most of us like to buy, leaving us to choose among the favorites of those with deeper pockets than us.
All in all, Someone’s Watching You! is meant to inform, not to have us running for the hills to live off-the-grid. Forest Lee wants you to know who, what, how, and why our every contact and purchase is being constantly monitored. It’s not all as sinister as our imaginations can conjure; it’s mostly about someone else making the most amount of money with the least amount of effort.