Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Is Big Brother Watching You?

You might be surprised to discover that your fairly unknown and little- read blog IS being monitored by search programs designed to pick up specific names and phrases. These programs dash off a note to whomever signs up for such a service whenever you hit "publish" and alerts them to your message.

Ironically enough, I had a moment of paranoia earlier this week when I thought the FBI was monitoring this blog. Paul and I have a stat counter that lets us know where in the world readers come from -- we don't know anything else about people (don't freak out!) -- just where people are finding out about us and, occasionally, what search engine they use. (Google is by far the most popular.) Some search engine in Washington, D.C. appears to show up on our stats whenever we write about George Bush and the war in Iraq.

But it goes both ways in this case. After all I know about them looking (whoever they are) and I have to admit to feeling a little creepy myself. But that's nothing compared to expressing a little self-righteous grief and indignation -- inappropriately as it turns out -- about a local bookshop in Santa Cruz and having their blog police immediately respond with a comment to this site.


And, okay, fair enough. I was saying something I wouldn't have said had I been aware that they had addressed a problem Paul and I were upset about before. And I chose to remove that blog entry so don't bother trying to find it. But did this internet tussle make anyone involved feel any better? No! Not likely.

We felt embarrassed and ashamed for expressing our feelings in print. No doubt someone over there felt pissed that they were being criticized in print.

Still, it is weird and more than a little disconcerting.

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