Jul. 24th, 2016

Life at home in the 'burbs has started to feel vaguely surreal lately.

This past week, a fresh-faced young woman carrying a rainbow-patterned folder came to our door one evening. She said she was with a local film group who wanted to do some filming involving a white bungalow "like this one". I politely told her I wasn't interested. She then asked if she could leave me a sheet of paper with the details, just in case I changed my mind. "No thanks, don't bother," I told her and shut the door.

The previous week, two tough-looking guys came to the door and handed me a leaflet. They claimed to be with a group called "BACA", which stands for Bikers Against Child Abuse, and said they were in the neighbourhood "doing something for someone" and not to be alarmed if we saw them around and heard their motorbikes.

In other words, they were trying to forestall what might be very legitimate concerns and objections to the "work" and supposedly good deeds they do. This appears to be a U.S.-based group that originated somewhere in Texas, although they have chapters in a number of Canadian cities too.

I'm already creeped out by the lack of privacy in a world dominated by social media, Google maps, Google Streetview, Google-everything-else, Facebook This, Twitter That, phone scams from phony Microsoft and Canada Revenue Agency officials, and so on ad nauseam. At a recent library conference, I picked up a cloth bag from the Privacy Commissioner's Office that bears the message "No thanks, I prefer not to give you my e-mail address" so clearly I'm not alone in my concerns.

Come to think of it, I guess we're NEVER alone in this wired world. And therein lies the whole problem. Twitching lace curtains I can cope with. But how can I on my own expect to stand up to the entire cyber-universe?

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