They’ll be watching you.

They'll be watching you.How sensitive are your bits (and bytes) and why have you told the world?

Every breath you take.

In 1983, Sting claimed he was watching you, and it was a sobering reminder of the Orwellian idea of being under constant surveillance in the 1980’s. It was a time of cold war and espionage and men with long lenses lurking in bushes to collect evidence of your clandestine meeting with Debbie from the accounts department. It was a time when safe sex meant taking precautions to prevent catching something nasty, like a punch in the gob from Debbie’s husband.

Every wish you make.

Thirty years on, and we live in a very different world. We take our privacy very seriously, and we only ever give our information to complete strangers at every possible opportunity. Do you have a public Amazon wish list? It is a wonderful resource for your friends and family to see what you want for Christmas. But, they don’t need to be your friends to look at your list. Anyone can enter anyone’s name and investigate the preferences and tastes of someone at random. It is essentially Strangers Reunited and as far as wish lists go, it is what stalkers have long wished for. Did you ever wonder if there was a Donald McGuff? In seconds, you will discover that he is from Aberystwyth, loves death-metal music, drinks Irish whiskey, needs a new controller for his X-box and wants Fifty Shades of Grey on Blu-ray.

Every post heartbreak.

There is much made of the need for caution with personal data, and this is why social media is so useful. It is somewhere you can post your innermost feelings and secrets, safe in the knowledge that only the entire world can see it. Facebook is awash with brokenhearted souls publicly posting things that should only exist as personal notes between bickering lovers or be tucked under the bed in a private diary. In a pre-Facebook world, no one would have dreamed of typing an acidic rant aimed at the guy who had done them wrong and pinning it to the wall of the Post Office. And it’s not just Facebook. It is unbelievable how often I receive notification of yet another Twitter follower whose bio is something like ‘You humped me then dumped me but I will get you back’. Why does @youhurtme think I want to follow some stranger who only ever posts insults directed at Mr Fuckface?

Every step you take.

How about a walk to forget about the world for a while. Nope. With CCTV cameras posted on every street corner, you can rest assured that you are never really alone. Some people are not happy about this. ‘It’s a breach of my privacy,’ they cry, ‘What about my human rights?’. There surely has to be a degree of paranoia present if you demand that no one ever watches you while walking the streets. If you are the sort of person who shouts “What you fu’k’n look’n at?” every time someone inadvertently glances in your direction, then think again. Maybe you are the reason we have a demand for CCTV. But, it is not just about keeping track of all the baddies, thugs and assholes, or tracking the movements of a missing child. If we remove all the cameras, where else would all the good footage for YouTube come from?

Oh for goodness sake.

Bono gets a hammering despite what he does, and the world was shocked when U2 gave away their latest album. But, it was nothing to do with the songs. ‘OMG’ ‘WTF’ was the cry across the internet. Ignoring the motives of the action, it seems the entire computer-using world was stunned that anyone could (or would) do such a thing. They seem to have forgotten about the constant attempts by scumbags to either: scam your bank account details, infect your computer with an attached file or to sell you a penis enlargement. (WARNING! If you are a woman, this should be a clue that the penis enlargement email is a scam). It seems that no one had ever contemplated the concept of a third party putting something onto our computers.

These are high-tech times, and this is a world obsessed with adding, sharing and using data. We are constantly typing and tapping away, willingly adding our name, address and inside leg measurement to any form that presents itself on our screens, usually with little or no thought of the consequences. And yet we still kick up a fuss when someone sees the information we have supplied.

Or at least, that’s how it used to be done.

They’ll be watching you.

Typing is so last year, and we now live our lives by shouting commands at our technological slaves. In houses around the world people are saying ‘Hey Siri’, ‘OK Google’ and ‘Hi TV’. It makes life so much easier and quicker. But, with all our devices constantly listening to everything we do, even more precautions need to be taken to protect our sensitive information.

If your TV unexpectedly says ‘Turning over now’, and your phone says ‘Playing ‘Harder Faster’ by W.A.S.P’ it could be time to stop shagging in the living room.

The world has always been watching you. Now, it is listening, too.