Big Al and his crazy go-go rhythm orchestra
We all know that the internet has its dark underbelly but today this has really given me the creeps. Big Brother is definitely watching us, even though you might think he has better things to do.
See if you can explain this, pop kids: I do Little Brother’s online shopping once a week, in his flat from his laptop, at his address with his email account and bank account and internet provider. He is a creature of habit and likes the supermarket beginning with T…
I prefer to see what I’m buying, tend to shop locally where possible, and use a different supermarket for a big shop. I have never ordered groceries online or had anything more than a local veg box delivered to our home address.
Simon shops our local T… every few days but he tends to pay cash and hates being a number not a free man so he doesn’t use a loyalty card.
However – when I went to do Nick’s online shop this afternoon, the “usual purchases” suggested alongside his habitual order were exactly what Simon had last bought at our local shop. Beer, rizlas, pizza and green apples for the lad, soya yoghurt for me, and a different newspaper than the one Nick reads. How on earth were they appearing on Nick's laptop?
Were we sure we didn’t want to order these favourites again today, asked the prompt as I tried to check out.
I don't understand how this is possible.
Simon, by the way, had not seen Nick since buying those things, but the only thing I can think of is that it’s our phones. There is no directly shared information but when we’re in Nick’s flat with our phones, the phones must all be having little chats with each other and exchanging our secrets. To the point that Simon and his phone would not even need to be anywhere near Nick but information would somehow transmit to Nick’s laptop. No, surely not, it doesn’t make sense.
I asked our millennial son and he just shrugged – he’s just so used to Big Brother hovering, he doesn’t even question it. It’s really given me the heebie jeebies, though.
When I think of algorhythms, I like to imagine a Cab Calloway style jazz swing artist, Big Al and his go-go rhythm orchestra, all wide grins and trumpets and baggy suits on a podium. The reality is nothing like as cuddly.
But tell me this – how is it that the internet knows all these things about our consumer habits but sharing actual useful information so that carers acting on behalf of a loved one don’t have to start from scratch and go through extensive security checks every single time they call, say, the local authority?
It would be so useful if (once a basic security clearance had been given, of course) we didn’t continually have to jump through all these hoops; the GP has me down as Nick’s primary carer and first point of contact for instance but although the district nurses have had the same information, it keeps falling off their system so I have sometimes found notes from them “To whom it may concern” with a prescription to pick up meds that the GP knows nothing about, from a pharmacy that we don’t use for any of his other medications. The different departments of the local authority, likewise.
Of course you need some basic security checks so that people aren't taken advantage of, but when you have to do it again and again and again it becomes very wearing.
If only they could take a leaf from Tesco’s book!
Would that give me the heebie jeebies too, though, would it be too much?
Forget it, cause it’s not going to happen any time soon. The very thought is enough to short-circuit every appliance in a five mile radius.