Monday 23 October 2017

Privacy! Is nowhere safe from smartphone 'nomophobia'

By David Looby

David Looby
David Looby
Our worst nightmare: Nomophobia - fear of being separated from your smartphone.
A smart phone with apps being flushed down a toilet symbolizing frustration with poor service, outdated and obsolete old model, in anticipation of replacement with new model cellphone

PRIVACY, be it at home or in your work, is one of the most treasured rights that we, of democractic blood, enjoy.

Sadly our privacy has been torn from us increasingly in recent years as smartphone images, bleeps and videos impinge on our lives. The phenomenon of nomophobia, meaning smart phone separation anxiety, has become a real psychological issue for people like us.

When you combine the two, you get the costly issue of smartphones disappearing down toilet bowls. The bog has become the last bastion of privacy for many, especially parents, who retreat there, cocooned from the stresses of the world in the million pixel LED glow of the smartphone screen.

The corollary of this feeling of free floating bliss, is that the most brain meltingly stressful thing can happen in this exact situation, when a phone drops from a pocket, hand or a bag into the loo.

The Little Fella is known as Dáithí The Destroyer in our house and nowhere is safe. The shower is the other inner sanctum of peace in our house, but even here The Good Woman and I aren't safe.

Then to hear that journalists phones are being hacked, just took the biscuit.

I'm not suggesting, in some momentary flight of megalomaniacal hubris, that anyone was tapping my phone to hear who I've been talking to, but come on!

On Thursday it emerged that a garda and his wife discovered they were being probed by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) after the watchdog secretly accessed a journalist's phone records. The controversial probe was launched after TD Clare Daly lodged a complaint, alleging that gardaí had leaked details of her arrest for suspected drink-driving on January 28, 2013. Subsequent tests showed that Ms Daly was below the limit.

Journalist Senan Molony's phone was accessed by GSOC officers without the journalist's knowledge. The Garda quickly cleared up the issue by explaining that he was coaching the journalist's children in a local club and had been in regular contact with all the parents, informing them of training and upcoming matches. The garda's Twitter and Facebook accounts were also accessed.

The Nanny state is nothing new to the Ireland of the valley of the squinting windows. Sadly, technology has just made us nosier. We have to know everything about everyone now, and whether we get that through social media, on a street corner, in the pub or through ill begotten means, we need to cop on.

Speaking of someone who needs to cop on, did anyone hear the recording of Sarah Palin endorsing Donald Trump for the next US President. It goes without saying that the outspoken Alaskan was like something out of a Saturday Night Live sketch, on drugs. Among her humdinger quotes were: 'Are you ready to make America great again', a call to "kick ISIS's ass, and a reference to her audience as 'right wingin', bitter clingin', proud clingers'.

Fittingly a new Trump condom range has come out. Custom condom makers have unveiled their very own Donald Trump themed condoms. The packaging features Donald's grumpy face to get you in the mood. Plus the slogan: 'I'm HUUUUGE!' No doubt Palin's next claim will be that the controversial candidate will make sex great again.

Wexford People

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