Tag Archives: monitoring

A Frisky Constitutional

RightsI thought the headline was so hilarious until I found out “constitutional” is decidedly¬†not a word that means “enema.” Dammit!

Still, ever since colonic times we Americans have clung to fiercely held beliefs that we know to be self-evident. (Whew, that was a close one. For a moment there I almost didn’t bring this article down to the proper level.)

I may still be gin treatment but allow me to raise up my Tom Colonic and propose a wee toast:

O say NSA spying on through the night,
And so proudly assailed with your eyesight’s fast scheming,
With broad swipes and little regard to what was right,
O’er the sheeple you watched, and the porn they were streaming?

Source: Tom B. Taker, lyricist

As we all know, those rights our founders held so dear were elegantly immortalized in the U.S. Constitution. Except for the stuff they got wrong, of course, like those not “free” being counted as only three-fifths of a person and women not having the right to vote.

I don’t want to hit you with an elementary civics lesson, but we all know the primary function of the Supreme Court Of The United States (SCOTUS) is to chisel away at the rights enumerated in that great document.

In other words, it’s finally time for me to weigh in on NSA monitoring, PRISM and more.
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American KeyLoggers Axehole Men

Imagine you are a decent sort, doing your best to do the right thing. It’s hard, huh?

Now, imagine you are decidedly not the decent sort. In fact, just for fun, imagine you are the frothy layer on the top of the scum of humanity. Or, as I like to put it, a boss.

Meanwhile, nefarious aspects of the world are always out there, shooting little tendrils of temptation in your direction. They might be hard to resist by even the most well-intentioned human. But to you, a person with absolutely no morals or scruples of any kind, these enticements are like a jizz party in your pants. They’re like candy-coated sugar dipped in chocolate made from cocoa beans harvested by children overseen by sweaty dudes with machine guns.

In other words, good stuff!

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Rigged for silent running

Bless the torpedoes!

“Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t big bags of puss.”

This is just a short advisory to let my online friends know that starting this week my interactions with the online world have changed. Due to my paranoia.

One of the precious few perks I used to enjoy in my current job was that I could pop over to my blog and twitter a few times a day and interact with you all. Come to think of it, that was probably the only perk.

I’ve always felt uneasy about engaging with my secret identity from work, since they could legally monitor me on company equipment at any time. I know that. And if they knew about the blog, I’m pretty sure the gig would be up, to say the least. If one is going to badmouth one’s employer, even anonymously, it is probably extremely dumb to do it from work.

Then an employee decided to take some money from the cash register. Without permission. To crack the case the boss revealed that he had been stealthily using a web cam to record video of the office and he had the culprit on tape. Jesus Christ! Does the fun ever end around here? In addition to all of the other goodness that rains down like shit now we have to worry about being recorded?

Personally I think his claim about the video was a bluff. It was a bluff that worked, though. The culprit confessed. And that was a good thing for the rest of us to get out from under the cloud of suspicion. Five years of honest work doesn’t stop the great red eye from immediately considering you a suspect. We were all investigated.

Then, last week, I overheard the office manager fiddling around in his office. He was clearly testing the audio on something. “Can you hear me now? Nope. I can hear you but you can’t hear me.” A lot of stuff like that. Later I noticed that the web cam in his office had been moved. I examined it closely. Does that thing have a microphone on it? I think it does. And that web cam is only about 8 feet from my office.


The wheels in my head immediately started to turn. “Is that son of a bitch using a web cam to record audio in our offices?” Amazing as that sounds I would not put it past him. I highly suspect that doing so would be illegal, but what the hell does “illegal” mean? In my experience it means they shove it in you and then nothing ever happens. No doubt that would be true in this case.

So I sat in my office trying to recall what I had said since the office manager split for the day. I could only remember two things. One was a criticism of the boss. Any time something goes wrong he always blames the employee, even when we have it in writing that the employee was doing what the boss told him to do. I briefly bitched about that phenomenon. Secondly, I mentioned to the other employee who sits in that space that I was submitting a job application that day. (This is the same employee who was recently told to increase his production by 20 percent or he’d be fired soon.)

Not exactly the kind of informations I wanted my boss stealing from me. If I wanted my boss to know what I said then I’d say it to his face.

And then, as the paranoia worked its way in deeper, I realized that it would be a small step to install a key logger software on my workstation. If true, that would give the boss all of my passwords and access to all of my most private thoughts.

So, starting this week, I no longer use my work computer for anything private. It’s a big sacrifice but it is something I feel I have to do. All hail paranoia! And I’m also no longer speaking in the office. When I feel the need to interact with my fellow employees I pull them aside to a place I feel is safe and whisper.

I have rigged myself for silent running. That means no blog comments during the day and a whole lot less Twitter. I’m going to miss that.

Hoarding recordings

The House Recording Studio control room overseeing footage of the House Chamber. Image courtesy of the Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives.

Today’s quickie questions of the day:

Have you ever called in for customer service and been subjected to the automated system and not been told “please listen carefully – our menu has recently changed?” Due to overuse that phrase has absolutely no meaning.

More importantly, have you ever been told that your call may be “monitored or recorded” for the biggest bullshit reason of all time, “quality assurance?”

Here’s what I really want to know. Have you ever thought to say, “I prefer not to be recorded?”

Have you ever attempted this? And if so, how did it go?

First of all, “quality assurance?” What a line of bull. They are not going to invest in a recording system and everything that entails because they care about the quality of “service” they are providing to you. The reason is simple: To cover their ass and provide documentation that could be used against you further down the road if any sort of dispute should ever come up.

I have an idea. How about I record everything on my end, too. “Hey, Julio. That’s for taking the time to talk to me today about my account. Just an FYI, bro. This call may be monitored and/or recorded for quality assurance. Since you’re already doing that to me I’m sure your company will have no problem with that, right?”

So, have you ever tried to opt-out of being recorded? I have. The poor sap on the other end of the phone could not have been more confused or befuddled. His scripts obviously didn’t cover that sort of unforseen scenario. A customer not wanting to be recorded? Horrors!

If you’ve ever attempted to not be recorded, please reply and let me know how it went. I’d really, really like to know. This could be interesting. Thanks!