I was enjoying a coffee with some friends a few months ago when one of them mentioned she had made a point of not watching something on television because she didn’t want to give “them” the satisfaction of knowing she was watching.
There was an awkward silence before we began quizzing her.
Under prolonged interrogation, she claimed people could monitor what you watch on TV and then can tailor advertisements to your tastes. She knew this to be true because her husband had told her.
How we laughed. The mocking was relentless.
I now realise that her husband may have been not so much paranoid and delusional as quite possibly a CIA spy, after the assertions last week by Wikileaks that the intelligence agencies can turn TVs into bugging devices
I feel my friend has now had the last laugh. I wished I had asked her more about the targeted advertisements, though. I seem to have noticed a rise in the number of life insurance ads on my telly lately. I hope there is no sinister motive to this.
It does leave me worrying about the operatives who may be tuning in to hear what is going on in the average sitting room while the telly is on.
Those of us with an unfortunate addiction to Gogglebox can tell you how entertaining watching people watching telly can be but presumably those entertaining bits are sifted from many hours of mind-numbing gawping at the box.
Then there are those conversations that inevitably occur in front of the TV and should really remain private.
“Oh, that’s whatsisname from that thing we watched.” “No it’s not, it’s the one that looks like that other one”. “Bet you a million pounds it’s whatsisface”. “What was that programme called? Did we even watch all the episodes? What was his name?” “Shut up, I’m trying to hear what they’re saying”. “You shut up.” “Stop telling me what to do. Oh I missed that, what did he say?” “I couldn’t hear, you were telling me to shut up.”
For the sake of their sanity, I do hope the spooks are well trained in code-cracking.