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By Diana Diamond

We have no privacy left

Uploaded: May 5, 2019

I realized a couple of years ago that I am being “watched.” I didn’t think much of it at the time, because I saw those cameras in CVS and Safeway and at traffic light stops or at the downtown garage at Palo Alto City Hall and I thought there was a higher purpose at stake – protecting a store, or ensuring safety in underground garages and at traffic lights.

But my privacy invasion has gotten increasingly worse in recent months, and I am frightened. In known and unknown ways, I am being “spied upon,” to use an AG William Barr’s term, and the spying on me is occurring as I live here in Palo Alto.

Two recent examples: I was in CVS on Thursday and inserted my credit card into the slot; my card was rejected. I tried again, and got a second rejection. “But it’s a new credit card,” I told the clerk. “Did you get it authorized?” She asked. “Yes, I did it the other day.” I gave her another card and it went through.

The other card was “new” because there was a mistaken charge on my older card, and Capital One said I would need a new card, and sent me one five days later.

When I got home I read my email and there was a message from Capital One notifying me that my card that I used an hour earlier at the CVS store in Midtown had not been fully verified and therefore the charge was denied. But if I go to their website (click here) they will complete my authorization. I did so and my new card is fully authorized.

Evidently there must be a way for Capital One to immediately know that my card was rejected, and track down my email and send me a notice explaining what happened. Nice of them to do it, but I was uncomfortable that they so quickly knew so much about me.

Along those lines, in March I went to the pharmacy there and asked if they could provide me a list of all my prescriptions during 2018. That list was printed out in 40 seconds.

The more frightening incident happened Saturday night when my husband and I went to a new Chinese restaurant at San Antonio Plaza at El Camino in Mountain View. He had made the reservation by phone; he had paid the bill. There was no record that I had been there, as far as I was concerned.

I agreed a while ago to participate as a Trip Advisor reviewer of places I have been or visited. I get “points” for doing this but I have no idea what that means, yet I enjoy reviewing restaurants in a couple of sentences.

Sunday morning in my email Trip Advisor was asking me to review that restaurant that I still think has no record of me being there.

That is really scary. Somehow they found out I was there.

We seem to be tracked, followed, surveyed wherever we go, shop or drive.

Why? What’s happened? Is this our new society in 2019? Feels more like 1984.