: my phone, the stoolie :

Boy, is my face red. All this time I thought that black thing, the one that rings and vibrates and bleats, was a cellphone. It’s not, it’s an informant. A snitch, a fink, a canary. It’s been keeping tabs on every phone call and text message and internet search and website visit.

I’m not the only one under the microscope, either. 140 million other poor suckers who bought into smartphone and Android technology, are under round-the-clock surveillance. Not by the government (although some would disagree) or alien civilizations or mad scientists, but by wireless carriers with the aiding and abetting of phone manufacturers.

Now that they’ve been pantsed as voyeurs and liars they promise to stop bugging our phones. Really they will, scout’s honor. All except AT&T, who whines their customers were in on their nefarious activities and agreed to participate. I didn’t. Did you?  Maybe that call got dropped.

At the very least, there’s been a deep and irreparable breach of trust here. Folks don’t expect to be spied on and monitored by those they do business with. And a vigorous backlash has begun, lawsuits and accusations and investigations are already flying. Charges of wiretapping and computer fraud are tossed around.

In retrospect, I should have seen this coming. I’ve always been suspicious of my smartphone and it’s 206-page User Guide. It’s just a blizzard of words, distracting you from the sneaky, underhanded goings on behind that big, shiny screen. In all those wordy pages  there’s no mention of data tracking or monitoring or Carrier IQ. I checked my AT&T Customer Service Summary, too, nada. Neither one is forthcoming.

I’ll be honest, just having that phone in the house makes me nervous. I can feel its beady little eyes watching every move. I can sense its eager readiness to shoot off a detailed report to HQ. I see it there on my kitchen counter, message light blinking like a pulse, and my lip curls into a sneer. I bristle at the very sight.

You know, it might be time to toss the phone and grab a tin foil helmet.

Copyright © Publikworks 2011.

14 thoughts on “: my phone, the stoolie :

  1. Yep, always knew they were evil. They are the Snidely Whiplash of the technology world. And you just confirmed my exact reasons for not having a smartphone — although perhaps not “exact” since my reasons were more along the lines of alien spies.


  2. Lisa, you know, there is a reason I don’t own any smart phone and there is a reason I do not use Facebook & Co. Those companies collect our data, no matter what, and sell it all over the place. That turns you into a good instead of a customer. It only works because people do not wanna realize it. Those companies makes millions of dollars just with selling our data and people keep paying them for providing them with data to sell. This reminds me a bit of Orson Well’s Big Brother is watching you. It’s about time people wake up.


    1. Hi, Min! I expect to be tracked on the internet, but not by my cell phone. On the internet, I get to decide whether or not to give personal information to a website, like Facebook. I don’t get that option when my cell phone is monitoring and recording keystrokes without my knowledge.


  3. Oh let them monitor me. I just hope my phone isn’t smart enough to snoop through my precious spring bound notebook where i write every single detail that an internet thief would die to get.


  4. It may have been in the contract you signed with the carrier (i.e. fine print). Nonetheless, your mobile device is indeed a lot like a tracking device since you’re consistently receiving and transmitting data, albeit unknowingly.

    You may be able to shut down your wireless capabilities when you’re not using it but then again, the phone signal itself (i.e. the signal that allows us to call and text) is still identifiable.

    I hope you don’t get too nervous with your phone around, PW.


  5. I’m on a mission to remain dumb. I’m sure ‘they’ track dumbphones, too; but, I prefer to tell myself that I am flying under the radar with my dumbphone.
    That said, I should probably not Tweet my every move – location – habits – etc. Hmmm….


    1. I read an article that said if you’re online you’re being tracked. Well, fine. Keeping track of my tedious and predictable behavior will be punishment enough for them.

      But monitoring keystrokes on cellphones is going too far. I’d like to return to an old rotary dialer.


  6. When this post started I was totally expecting to hear about how you accidentally butt-dialed someone and that person heard you talking smack. I was so excited!!! And now you tell me I’m being bugged and that bugs. I have such a love-hate relationship with this thing. Seriously.


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