Michael A. Stusser shares his misleading digital profile. Or does he? #DigitalMadness
I am the CEO of a corporation (Think Inc.) that does not exist. Apparently, I live in Mykonos, Greece. My profile photo is that of a sweaty Salman Rushdie, circa 2004, with his arm around his smokin’ hot wife Padma Lakshmi. And, most intriguingly, I am in “a complicated relationship” with my good friend Kaz Murphy, who I’m fairly sure is married to Jacque, because I attended their nuptials in Rome. My point? Do not believe a fucking thing you see or hear or read on the Internet. Oh, and if I might make a second point (and, since I am a Harvard educated brain surgeon, you will allow it), it’s extremely important that each and every one of us add to this absurd and inane circus of misleading social media pics and posts in order to keep the NSA and others guessing – and off our true cyber trails.
The information currently available on us via the internet – our digital tattoo – is above and beyond; The Man has yer number (and home address and credit score and cellular and health and legal records). In addition to the data available just for being on the grid (real estate holdings, tax records, academic history, purchases, etc.), there is another layer we know is ripe for the picking with a little digging. Law enforcement can obtain phone records and are already tracking you via satellite technology, license-plate scanning, toll crossings, public utility usage, e-mail accounts, chats, even snail mail; oh, and that mug shot (and sexting spree) isn’t going away any time soon.
Citizens are outraged, and for good reason, about the NSA’s over-the-top surveillance of our cell logs and internet activity. (While I don’t agree with Mr. Snowden’s approach, it was an eye-opening and important piece of whistle blowing, one that will surely make him bed-fellows with Vladdy Putin and, if he stays long enough, eventually Pussy Riot). The NSA is not authorized by anyone – Congress or the Patriot Act or the CIA – to collect unconditional information about us in the United States. (But let’s be real…this will continue.)
Here’s the craziest part of the surveillance puzzle: it’s we citizens who are serving up the juiciest bits, which the government and corporations then use to follow and track and record and search and mine and data base and categorize and target and ultimately pitch us on products and ideas we do not need or support. We give up this ungodly amount of information voluntarily – exact locations (GoogleMaps), the places we frequent (FourSquare), where we dine (OpenTable), who we date (MeetUp), the places and times we vacation (TripAdvisor), our likes (Facebook), our home videos (Vine), our heart rates (FitBit), our career moves (LinkedIn) our shopping preferences (amazon), even the size of our sandwich (Instagram). We are tethered to our trackers 24/7. We go to bed checking e-mail, wake from an iPhone alarm, and keep the damn things with us in the car, at our desks, in our schools, in our pockets and even on the toilet. No one is holding a 3-D printed gun to our heads. WE ARE THE ONES PROVIDING THIS INFORMATION to the man, to the NSA, to banks, to Bing, to Bed Bath and Beyond. We. Are. In. (And out of) Control.
Fear not! There is a way to beat the man (and the NSA), and it’s as simple as a disingenuous tweet per day. You see, the only way to separate the wheat from the chaff, the trollers from the true, is to take my fabricated profiling to the mainstream, make it commonplace: Occupy FaceBook, Re-Direct Reddit, Keep Google Guessing! Imagine if we took control of the spin cycle and sent an overwhelming amount of false information through the system. If we quadrupled our annual salary; if we told them we were transvestites; if we falsified our locations and our vacations, confused our religion (Mormonism) for our recreation (Rastafarianism), if we nix the real (liking cats) with the unreal (wanting to eat cats). What’s the worst that could happen? Kayak would suggest hotels in places we did not actually want to visit? Victoria’s Secret would try and sell us bras that no longer fit? We’d start receiving spam from foods and cars and clothiers we genuinely did not like? Gmail would use our opposite opinions to falsely target others in our circle? A Zombie group would invite us to join in Cat-a-Pocalypse?
Hell, the NSA is already collecting so much data at such an alarming rate that they are actually running out of space, and need new storage repositories! Well try eavesdropping in on this you NSA fucks: My screen name is now Ahmed Ladin bin Limbaugh and I am a Buddhist carpenter who lives in Vegas, drives a Prius, likes Pat Roberts as well as Geraldo, and is a member of the Republican Party. Trying to profile, track and make sense of the aforementioned Ahmed will surely blow a fuse!
There’s one more reason I’m so damn pleased with my intentionally-misleading lifestyle, and it’s that this system of managed-mayhem may be the definitive way to motivate members of my actual community (real world friends and family) to check in with me…in person. Bona fide buddies will know from my pale skin that I don’t live in Greece, they’ll see by my dilapidated Volvo that I am not CEO of the World’s Largest Think Tank, and they may even get to meet my new girlfriend, dispelling the notion I’m romancing Kaz Murphy (though as far as dudes go, he’s as sweet as they come…). Those individuals who make contact only after GoogleStalking me should be confused about my residence and my whereabouts and my work and sexual preference.
Do you want to know what’s real? Look me in the eye and ask me. I’ll give you a straight answer. Until then, you – and the NSA – can find me and my husband (and Padma) in Mykonos.