The past week I have been monitoring my posts.
I suspect lots of bloggers like me check their statistics. This is a facility within WordPress, the software I use to publish this blog; it tells you how many people have accessed (not necessarily read) your blog and their country of origin (or VPN*). In other words, it gives you an idea of what is happening, nothing more. I can’t for example identify individual readers, who has accessed which blog, that kind of thing.
And this is the origin of the fear.
Most of my readers are from the UK.
I have very little idea as to how the internet works – a techno-luddite as far as understanding URL’s and technology goes. I know that my laptop connects via Wi-Fi and that signal goes to a satellite in space and data is stored in a freezer near the North Poll.
There is a whole layer of stuff beyond my understanding, like the Matrix, there is a code running which can explain everything, at depth.
I’ll get back to my fear (I don’t necessarily worry that some people have a profound insight into computers, I have a reasonable understanding of humans.)
The fear is that someone, perhaps an individual, has been reading my blogs. (Isn’t that the point of blogs, that someone will read them? I will explain!)
The stats appeared the day I published my blog about My American Wife. The title also included ‘Jesus’ – these are perhaps the hooks that raised an eyebrow in America.
Now, I know that the USA is a big country and there are lots of people living there (or living in the rest of the world and using a US VPN) (the latter being less likely, although anything goes in my paranoid head).
It is also likely that America has its normal distribution of the good and bad, the crazies and the normos, just like everywhere.
The problem is, I have been reading most recently Ruth Ozeki who has a certain take on the American Mid-Westerns and currently Dean Koontz.
Yes, I know that Ruth and Dean are not natural literary bedfellows, that is the way it has gone.
My first Dean Koontz book was ‘The Watchers’ which amongst other things involved a dog with advanced intelligence who was pursued by some desperate people with guns.
I am currently on book four of five of the Jane Hawk series. Jane is a former FBI agent, whose Navy Seal husband recently killed himself through a nanobot brain control mechanism that is being rolled-out across America to manipulate people in influential positions or eliminate those (on the ‘Hamlet list’), who might get in the way of the revolution.
Yes, it is fanciful. Einstein the word-processing dog in The Watchers was kind of wacky too, although the plot seems to draw you in.
Well, Koontz writes about the surveillance capabilities of the FBI or the CIA or Homeland Security or the NSA. I don’t really know which is which. Suffice it to say, if one or all these guys are after you, they will find you and sort you out.
I am not suggesting that my reader in America works for the National Security Agency (although they might), and I don’t think that person or persons has accessed my computer and is monitoring my keyboard taps or is glaring at me through my laptop camera; but still. I have a wild and potentially paranoid imagination at the best of times.
All of this is a paradox.
You see, I am essentially a quiet guy. I like my silence and alone time. I am an introvert by nature who would rather read a book or walk the dog than attend a party. I value my privacy, not to the extent that I would ‘conceal carry’ as in the Koontz world (carry a hidden gun under my loose-fitting jacket to protect me from those who might invade my liberty or personality) but, enough to make me cautious and quiet at times.
This is of course a paradox as I am writing and for the past seven years have been writing a blog about some of my inner-most thoughts (I have previously considered, if you took all my blogs and plugged them into a computer you could probably recreate me or at least second-guess my next move). (Have I written enough blogs for that AI to write future blogs? Interesting thought).
(I was once advised by a colleague, ‘I know more about you than you think,’ in reference to my blogs. Not sure what they meant. Kind of chilling).
Anyway, I worry.
As most all paranoia, it is not based purely on fantasy.
A few years ago, there was a sudden spike in my stats from a reader in the UK. Hundreds of my blogs were accessed/read in one day. Shortly after I was reprimanded at work for making the hospital look bad. (It was bad, so was I, I was suffering psychologically and likely portraying some of the negative aspects of my experience in a particularly harsh light) (Things are much better now, both with me and the hospital).
Perhaps I have said too much.
I should ignore my American reader and hope that they are either a nice person who is interested in almonds and emotions or, if they are employed by a US counter-espionage-spy agency they will realise that I am on the benign end of the spectrum and move-on.
I don’t anticipate a nano-web of brain-bots will seek-out my cortex any time soon, although, you never know.
*VPN – Virtual Private Network – software that enables to you be in country A and it appear that your computer is in county B; useful if you are trying to access websites that are limited or banned in your country.