Media Musings: Naked in a blind world

Editor’s note: This is another in my series of monthly musings on the news, published on the Sunday following the last Saturday of each month, except when it’s not.


© 2014 Tom Pfeifer

Current as of Jan. 25, 2014


Thanks to Edward Snowden, we know the National Security Agency has collected massive amounts of data on Americans and their phone usage. Some see it as a violation of the U.S. Constitution. Some see it as the price to pay in a post-9/11 world. Some don’t care as long as their spouses don’t have access to the information.

Young woman making face while taking selfieCongress and the federal courts are weighing whether or not to end the program. While the debate goes on, Google laughs.

Privacy? You don’t have no stinkin’ privacy.

Your next car is likely to be connected to Google. Based on your driving patterns, it will determine whether you prefer to meet friends and clients at Panera Bread or Starbucks, then email or text ads and coupons to you. It could determine if you’re a speeder or an aggressive driver and report that information to the police or your insurance company. Be careful out there, New Yorkers.

Add Google tracking to speed and traffic light cameras cropping up all over the place. If television dramas are to be believed, even ATM cameras can be used to track a suspect vehicle.

And you’re concerned that the federal government is tracking your phone calls?

Heck, even a jelly doughnut appearing near an aging and hungry earthling on Mars can’t escape our notice.

Use a credit card? Shop at Target, Neiman Marcus, or Michaels? Chances are a hacker has all your information now. The FBI has warned retailers to expect more customer information being sucked from their software. To date, the FBI has already discovered twenty cases of targeted hacks similar to the Target hack, which garnered hackers seventy million customer records. It’s enough to make you hack up a furball.

About the only way to hide from government and business is to be a single mother. According to a survey commissioned by the Shriver Report – which is spearheaded by Maria Shriver, who became a single mom after her husband Arnold’s hidden affair came to light – government and businesses are hanging onto the traditional family model, despite the fact that majority of children today are born to unwed mothers.

Many of these women must work in the Silicon Valley, where the average pay is forty-nine cents on the dollar compared to men. But although the tech world remains dominated by white men, tech women are building networks to be seen. Women in Tech, Lesbians Who Tech, Tech LadyMafia, XX in Tech, Girls Who Code, Skillcrush, and Black Girls Code are among the groups trying to put women on high-tech radar. Heck, some of them would be happy to work for the NSA and help them make their snooping more nurturing.

Of course, once you achieve visibility, everything is game. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor found that out when she had to reveal the extent of her dental work when asked if she wears dentures. She does not, though her smile is artificial.

Cartoon racoon holding sign stating, If you self-expose, you may have to run for governor. That’s the story behind the candidacy of Mark “Coonrippy” Brown. Brown became an Internet sensation by showering with his pet raccoon, Rebekah, and posting the video for all to see. Then the state took Rebekah away. Coonrippy subsequently sent Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam a petition with 60,000 signatures requesting a permit to keep Rebekah. Haslam returned the petition unopened. So Coonrippy pulled papers to run against Haslam, who is otherwise unopposed. That’ll teach Haslam to be unresponsive to the people – and unorthodox pets and shower mates.

Coonrippy is one of many who have been outed by social media. Which is all the government needs to track anyway. According to the Pew Research Center, seventy-three percent of online adults use social media. We share photos of our family and friends, our food preferences, our dogs, cats, and other pets. We “check in” at restaurants, bars, government offices, and pep and activist rallies. We post incessant selfies so our mug shots are always up to date.

Cell phone tracking? That’s so 2000. No wonder they haven’t noticed the single mom trend.



Balz, Dan. “Survey: America has changed. Have government and business?” The Washington Post. 12 January 2014.

Barnes, Robert. “Why Sonia Sotomayor doesn’t wear dentures.” The Washington Post. 9 January 2014.

Drusch, Andrea. “Raccoon man to challenge Bill Haslam in Tennessee.” Politico. 7 January 2014.

Duggan, Maeve, and Smith, Aaron. “Social Media Update 2013” Pew Internet. 30 December 2013.

Finkle, Jim. Reuters. “Michaels investigating potential credit card data breach.” Christian Science Monitor. 25 January 2014.

Finkle, Jim, and Hosenball, Mark. “Exclusive: FBI warns retailers to expect more credit card breaches.” Reuters. 23 January 2014.

Friedman, Ann. “Tech women are busy building their own networks.” The Washington Post. 8 January 2014.

Kang, Cecilia, and Fletcher, Michael. “As automakers tap smartphone technology, concerns grow about use of drivers’ data.” The Washington Post. 9 January 2014.

Kim, Meeri. “Mars rover Opportunity finds mysterious ‘jelly doughnut rock’ on the Red Planet.” The Washington Post. 23 January 2014.

Nakashima, Ellen. Independent security researcher and consultant Ashkan Soltani contributed “Obama disagrees with watchdog group’s conclusion that NSA phone program is illegal.” The Washington Post. 23 January 2014.

Tom Pfeifer is the managing partner and chief strategist for Consistent Voice Communications. Reach him at


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