Thursday, March 29, 2018

Facebook Is Watching You, I Have Proof

The news about facebook is absolutely correct, Facebook does access your private messages, emails, etc... We are in London but I purposely didn't mention that we were coming here on any public forum because I didn't know if our apartment at home would be empty or not. (It's not empty. Friends are staying there for the duration, or I wouldn't be writing this now.)

I asked Angela Murder She Wrote Lansbury to look into this.
On the day of our flight, facebook and You Tube suddenly started showing me adverts for the Duty Free shops at the airport.

On previous occasions I've clicked on an advert for e.g. sandals or sofas and suddenly I'm inundated with adverts for locally available sandals and sofas. That was actually quite useful because I was looking for sandals and sofas. It saved me looking for companies that I'd not heard of before.

Slightly more suspect was when I looked at some property site to play a little personal game of 'Escape to the country.' It was nothing to do with facebook and I certainly didn't mention it to anyone. The adverts for country cottages in the UK started appearing on facebook and You Tube.

But this Duty Free thing was very unsettling because I purposely did not mention that we were traveling for a very good reason. Even if I don't text or message anyone about our plans - I can't avoid booking tickets online with Easyjet. I can't avoid receiving travel insurance contracts by email. And I have to convey our arrival times to my mum somehow. Now I'm wondering if phone calls are also bugged to pick up key words like - Easyjet, London, dates, etc...

I don't mind if my interests and whereabouts are noted and recorded on the ether. I make it a point not to post anything that could come back to bite me later. I don't even sit in front of my laptop without an adequately covering top on in case someone has control over my camera. All that said, I'm not celebrity status (or standing for election or going through a divorce) so no one is actively trying to dig up or pin some dirty on me. I am also not trying to hide any illegal activity, which would be the counter argument for data sharing.

I do mind. however, if it means that potential criminals can find out when my apartment might be empty. This time it's not empty and actually, we often have friends staying while we're away as lots of people are looking for places to rent in Jerusalem over the Passover and Easter holidays.

Privacy is sometimes just a right or a [misguided?] feeling of control, but at other times it's a matter of safety and personal protection. So if one's home was burgled while you were away and following a strew of adverts about Duty Free, hotels, car hire, etc... over your media accounts, who could you blame? Is it facebook or google or You Tube? Will insurance companies stop paying out if your plans appear on social media? This is impossible to prevent it seems. Will you be required to employ house sitters?

We live in interesting times and only the future will tell. 


  1. But the article in the JC gives away that you'll be in UK for Pesach - and I was able to access that yesterday as I have a subscription.

  2. True, but most people, including me are not featured in a national newspaper every time they travel. If I'd not managed to have friends staying in my apartment I'd have planned not to write about London until we returned. I admit that I didn't consider the article (although I knew it was coming). I'd have had to just put up with it.

  3. Do you log onto the airport WiFi, or have GPS on your mobile? Yes all very scary! Hope it doesn't spoil your holiday.

    1. It won't spoil my holiday and no I don't log into airport wifi. I do have location apps activated on my phone though the roving data is off when I'm abroad.