Big Business Is WATCHING!

Two stories.  Both alarming.

First, apparently the group which secreted cameras and caught out Big Business Abortion (aka Planned Parenthood) has stung Twitter.  HERE

HIDDEN CAMERA: HUNDREDS of Twitter employees paid to view, mine your PERSONAL, PRIVATE posts

NB: Not all the language in that story is pious.

Next, Amazon has a gizmo with sensitive microphones and cameras which can pick up just about everything. It’s at the Daily Mail.  I won’t connect to that just now.

Amazon’s creepy plan to put a camera and microphone in every BEDROOM with launch of its £120 Echo Spot ‘smart alarm’

  • The latest edition to the tech giant’s family of devices is powered by Alexa

  • Each device has a camera and microphone for making video calls

  • The camera will probably be facing directly at the user’s bed

  • The Echo Spot, which will cost £119.99 ($129) will be shipped on 24th January [It’s already out in these USA]

I won’t have one of those damn things in my dwelling!

I also cover cams and detach things with mics.  And then there’s my phone.  There are things that can be done.

For pity’s sake, there are so many ways by which big biz or gu’mint can intrude.

It’s getting ridiculous.

In any event, be careful people.

And remember: If you put it on the internet in some way, there’s no getting it back.  Don’t be stupid.  Think.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. rcg says:

    I remember when you had to *be* somebody to have one of those big, unblinking eyes ringed in fire. Now everybody can have one.

  2. Kent Wendler says:

    Registering in any of the social media makes me think: “Abandon all hope (of privacy) ye who enter here.”

    I will not.

    I also keep my net-connected devices with cameras turned off and put away, and will not consider purchasing any of the “voice appliances” (Alexa, et. al.).

  3. PostCatholic says:

    I’ve had a prototype Echo Spot on my home office desk since October, and I like a lot. It’s a great form factor for video calls.

    As for the Project Veritas stuff about Twitter, it’s another of their hoaxes. Twitter has already corrected this “reporting.”These are the people whom the Washington Post caught planting a fictitious story about Alabama US Senate candidate Roy Moore last month. Perhaps a Latinist could explain the meaning of “veritas” to them.

  4. DavidR says:

    The eye of Sauron never closes.

  5. Elizium23 says:

    Reverend Fathers, it is a good idea to treat your smartphones as hostile listening devices and leave them behind when entering the confessional.

    Another good idea for privacy is the use of white noise. Our pastor has installed several small devices which he activates outside his office and the confessionals, and they are effective at drowning out voices. He is also very particular about the distance allowed between the confessional door and waiting penitents in line.

    It goes without saying that a fixed grille is our right under Canon Law and every effort must be made to provide us with one. It serves multiple purposes of anonymity, privacy, and prevents physical contact.

    Reverend Fathers, these may in some ways seem like superficial or ineffective measures. But they are not costly, they are visible, and they promote confidence among the faithful that you are serious about privacy and the Sacraments. If you already do some or all of these things, THANK YOU for being one of the good guys.

  6. William says:

    We are willingly letting Google, Apple, and Amazon watch us every moment of our lives.

    And some fundamentalists still think it’s the Catholic Church that has your name in a secret Vatican computer!


  7. majuscule says:


    I’m always willing to give “the other side” a read so I went in search of Twitter’s “correction” of the “reporting” (sic). (I find Twitter hard to follow so I didn’t bother there, sorry.)

    I checked out Google, figuring they would certainly be highlighting a story like this, ranking links to any “correction” first in a web search. However, I don’t see any refutation on the first page that came up and I don’t owe any more time to this. Maybe you can provide a link?

  8. Ellen says:

    I have an Echo Dot. I actually like it. It sets alarms and timers, gives me the weather, plays some games with me (Jeopardy) and I have Prayer Buddy on it so I say the rosary and chaplet of divine mercy with it. It also gives me the daily readings for Mass. Like all technology, it can be abused. I am careful with it.

  9. CanukFrank says:

    I ALWAYS turn off my IPhone before I go into confession. Friends of ours had an unfortunate experience where relations between the battling in-laws had finally come to a delicate accord (lol, a long, soul sapping story) until later in the day when one of the parties vented to a friend….and the other in-law(s) got the whole venting episode via text (?!) and voice. Needless to say hostilities resumed….

  10. PostCatholic says:

    The company issued the denial via BuzzFeed News. I won’t link the article but it’s not difficult to find at that site. I suppose it’s not in the corporate website so as not to dignify the accusation.

    There is no economic incentive for Twitter to database intimate photos for which it has no copyright and no model release, and quite heavy liabilities and commercial (even criminal) disincentives. Also, the statement that 400 employees are assigned to that project is about equivalent the total size of Twitter’s workforce

  11. PostCatholic says:

    I learned that I was wrong. My recollection of 400 employees as the approximate size of Twitter (I had a business meeting in 2012 at their offices) is out of date and the company had a growth spurt starting in 2013, and is now about 3500 employees. Nevertheless, what I said about the commercial value of the database project alleged I stand by. Project Veritas is a very partisan and unethical actor; I make that statement not on the basis of their editorial viewpoint but because of their history of fabricating news stories. The irony of that “veritas” is comic.

  12. Semper Gumby says:

    PostCatholic wrote on 17 Jan. at 4:25pm: “…it’s another of their hoaxes.”

    Actually, as made clear in numerous news reports (left or right politically), it was a sting operation. It was neither a hoax or a plant. The stated intent of Project Veritas was not to produce yet another Roy Moore story, but to produce audio evidence of political bias at the Washington Post. (That said, there is already sufficient evidence of such bias, so perhaps this sting operation wasn’t worth the risk). Anyway, big difference between hoax, plant, and sting. This particular PV sting happened to fail. An example of a sting fitting for today is the Center for Medical Progress videos against Planned Parenthood (recall the abortionist who said while haggling over dinner and wine: “I want a Lamborghini.”)

    majuscule: PostCatholic chose not to use your username or provide a link in his 18 Jan. 7:05 pm response. That tends to be an indicator that something may be weak about that BuzzFeed/Twitter item that PostCatholic touts.

    Here’s a quote from the BuzzFeed/Twitter item:
    “A former senior Twitter employee echoed the company’s comment, observing that the claims in Monday’s Project Veritas video were “technically accurate to a degree, but exaggerated for effect by drunk idiots.”” Hmm… that’s curious. “Echoed the company’s comment” and “technically accurate” followed by a personal attack. Perhaps Project Veritas is on to something here.

    Here’s another quote that might be nothing more than “boilerplate”:

    “”We do not proactively review DMs. Period,” a company spokesperson told BuzzFeed News. “A limited number of employees have access to such information, for legitimate work purposes, and we enforce strict access protocols for those employees.””

    Then there’s this:

    “Twitter did not answer questions about the number of employees who have such access or the specifics of precautions it takes to protect sensitive user data.”

    Basically, PostCatholic’s tendentious claim at 17 Jan. 4:25 pm that “Twitter has already corrected this “reporting.”” should be viewed with much skepticism.

    PostCatholic also states incorrectly at 18 Jan. 7:05 pm that 400 employees “is about equivalent the total size of Twitter’s workforce (sic)”. According to publicly available information Twitter employed about 400 in 2011, but about 3500 in 2016. Unclear is the number of contractors Twitter may employ. So, again, Project Veritas is probably on to something here.

    Speaking of these home gizmos in Fr. Z’s post, here’s something about SmartTVs (from a leftist news source for PostCatholic’s benefit) :

    “But last year, security researchers were able to hack into a smart TV and turn on the built-in camera and microphones.”


    “Both security researchers and criminals have figured out that you can jump from the smart TV or an app on that TV to the laptop or desktop or any other computer on the home network.”

    Ellen: Good point.

  13. Semper Gumby says:

    PostCatholic: Due to the moderation queue I just read your comment of 19 Jan. at 1:14 am.

    Your admission of your mistake regarding the number of Twitter employees is commendable. Thank you.

    The issue Fr. Z has set before us readers is of the uses and abuses of technology. Your intent appears to be an attack against Project Veritas. (Perhaps based in part on your statement: “I had a business meeting in 2012 at their [Twitter’s] offices”).

    Your assertions that “Project Veritas is a very partisan and unethical actor” and “…their history of fabricating news stories” may be simply your personal agenda. Regardless, Project Veritas appears to be on to something here.

    Both Twitter and Project Veritas have done good work over the years. However, you wrote: “There is no economic incentive for Twitter…” Maybe, maybe not, time will tell. As you know, we are ultimately dealing with people here, and “economic incentive” is not always the prime motivation for rogue elements in a business or government, or for that matter with a rogue regime. Often, it’s about power and control.

  14. Southern Catholic says:

    PostCatholic, Twitter wouldn’t need a copyright to database information that is sent and received on the platform it owns and operates. Can you point me to what law Twitter would have violated by collecting and looking at private posts? Or explain how they would be liable? Thanks.

    Project Veritas has done wonderful work, which led to the downfall of the fraud that was ACORN and exposed more of the evil done by Planned Parenthood. They should be commended for their work.

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