Just Because You’re Paranoid Doesn’t Mean They Aren’t Out to Get You

You know all those paranoid idiots who are frothing at the mouth because they think their mobile phones, Internet applications, and other wireless devices are tracking their every move. I used to make fun of them. Well honestly, I still do.

They very nature of wireless devices like phones, requires the network to be able to hand off a patron on the go from one tower to the next. Ipso facto, they know where you are. That doesn’t mean they are going to manipulate you with that information. Or does it?

In the partial week since I ordered and received my USB modem – no hard-wired broadband in Valdemarsvik – and getting a Swedish power cord for the Dell Windows 7 laptop my brother gave me since my Powerbook and my XP desktop died before the move – interesting things have happened.

Without me making any changes to settings or profiles, when I log into yahoo.com for my US-based yahoo mail, I automatically get Yahoo Sverige. I see the top headlines from Expressen, Aftonbladet, DN, and SvD (Svenska Dagbladet). I learn that 10 minuter sedan “En död I mc-olcyka”, och 35 minuter sedan “Ingen tror dramat får lyckligt slut”.

Now I am working to understand all this, but I like news headlines from The Washington Post, LA Times, and other US news outlets.

But this morning something else made me take note, even on just one cup of coffee. I started streaming “The Daily Show” for September 22nd. And of course, you get the obligatory commercial. This was for an Ericsson mobile phone: “Fixa Xpria Ray för 194,50 kr/mån och ring för 0kr/min till alla operatörer!” A later commercial says they have a great 264,50 kr/mån deal on the Fixa Galaxy S II. Even the commercial for the new Three Muskateers movie has the opening date tagline in Swedish.

So something is tracking somebody. And while I don’t think that will bring the tax man or Empire Storm Troopers to your door, they do have something to sell you.