Okay, I got (yet another) cool gadget for Mother’s Day.

It’s super cheap right now ($99) and totally worth it, if you have faraway relatives you’d like to spend time with. It tracks my grandkids around the room without all the jiggling of Facetime, which always sets off my inner ear disorder and makes me dizzy and nauseated. You can call anyone who has FB Messenger, even if they don’t have a Portal. And in between, you can listen to music and view your photos and stuff. :slight_smile:


P.S. My DIL works for FB, and says they’re selling it for less than it costs to make them right now, to get them on the market, so I don’t know how long the price will last. She went to Best Buy to get mine, because it was cheaper than using her employee discount (because it’s the same price for them, but they have to pay taxes on the discounted portion, since it’s an employment benefit).

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I’m always nervous about devices that can listen in on everything I do. Am I the only one that feels this way?


I think that’s completely reasonable. I cover consumer tech and it’s certainly going to be an issue more and more over the next few years.

I don’t worry a lot about listening devices… generally they aren’t (listening), but I’m also not doing much of anything worth worrying about. I am not OK with video devices, though. Nope, nope, nope. We have a webcam that we use in one room when fostering kittens and it’s unplugged otherwise.


Doesn’t really bother me. BTW: could you turn the TV down a little?


We raised 4 kids. Privacy is an illusion.

I did like it when that sleep number bed had to pull back on the feature of theirs that would automatically raise the head of the bed when the occupant was snoring. People realized it had to be listening to know to do that :grin:


It has a button to turn off listening/watching, and also a lens cover you can use if you’re still worried.

I figure NSA and the FBI probably know everything there is to know about me already, since I’ve spent my whole life being a military dependent, so there’s not much point in worrying that they might find out what color my underwear is or what my husband and I talk about in bed. If they want to waste man-hours cataloguing my boring life, they can have at it. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


I have an 80" video unit on one end of my office and a video conferencing head under it. I put the lens cover on the head and have it pointed at the floor when I’m not on a video conference. It shouldn’t answer a call by itself but it is remotely controllable so not out of the realm of possibility that someone might enable it (although I think I’d notice it swiveling and zooming).

(Some people have been known to use wireless or IR remotes to play jokes on coworkers. :sunglasses:)


the Nothing-To-Hide Argument, huh?

Nope, not for me.


This is generally my philosophy, although I couldn’t care less about the NSA or FBI. I am far too boring.

I simply don’t need hackers watching my every move (they are welcome to listen in the rooms where we have smart speakers, though). I also close my curtains at night. We all have different comfort levels. :slight_smile: I honestly don’t even want to video chat with people I like, so this is all in character.

@jamesdhatch, did they pull back on the snoring thing? I’ve recently seen commercials advertising it.

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No and like jbv I don’t buy the I have nothing to hide argument when it is used to justify policy: government or corporate. As a personal philosophy I respect it and use something of a tangent myself but with more cost-benefit analysis. If you know anyone who has ever had to listen to a wiretap, it’s nothing like the movies. Pretty much pure boredom, but still a giant invasion of privacy. Also, computers don’t get bored (or so THEY say.)

My primary concern is if they turn the camera on at the wrong time, am I in any way financially liable for them going blind or their nightmares?


Wait. Is someone justifying wiretapping?

“Nothing to hide” isn’t an argument or a justification. It’s a personal decision you need to make with connected devices. Someone could follow me around and take pictures everywhere I go. Am I OK with that? Not really. But I still choose to leave my house. Everything we do is a risk/reward decision. Likewise, I held off on joining a supermarket loyalty rewards program for ages until I finally decided that some day I’ll be dead and I won’t care if they know everything about me from my shopping habits. Privacy (or what we can control of it) is a personal line and some of us hold onto it more tightly than others.

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They had when we went bed shopping 6 months ago. What they were promoting was your sleep partner’s ability to hit a button and raise your head. Sounded very similar to the auto-raise they had initially rolled out but was not quite the same. So you have to wake up to adjust them - they can stay asleep but you’re still up :grinning:

We are the only generation with an explanation of privacy. Up through the 50s everyone knew everyone else’s business, people routinely listened in on other people’s phone calls (party lines), grocers knew who was eating what for dinner, cab drivers knew who was messing around with who…

It wasn’t until the 60s when the Supreme Court needed to find a constitutional “right to privacy” to justify a controversial decision that people started to believe they should have an expectation of privacy.

The latest generation or two knows there isn’t any real privacy and publishes the most private details of their existence on a minute by minute basis :grin:


There is “privacy” and there is continuous automated surveillance.

You think you have nothing to hide but, statistically, you (unknowingly) commit at least three felonies a day. So, it’s down to “selective enforcement” and, the degree to which automated systems capture and identify that behavior whether you retain your liberty.

Constant surveillance also has a documented chilling effect on things like free speech.

Perhaps more pragmatically, consider all of the huge corporate data breaches over the last few years. Data collected by large companies perceived as competent in using technology (e.g., Facebook) has ended up in the hands of criminals at a massive scale. Those criminals have done things like steal peoples homes from them with that data.

Just a few things to consider before throwing in the towel entirely on privacy.

More here:


I don’t even have curtains on a lot of the windows, just sheers on a few. There are mini blinds, but those stay up until summer when they’re the only thing between us and heat stroke. But we live in the country, so if somebody wanted to peek they’d have to come onto our property to do it, and the dogs would have a thing or two to say about that. I can’t really imagine that anyone would want to go to that much trouble for a look at my flabby middle-aged body, anyway!

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I wasn’t justifying policy, I was justifying not being paranoid. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Yep. That was still true into the 70s in small town Texas. We had a party line, and even without that nothing happened that the whole countryside didn’t know within hours. It’s just the way things were.


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