October 31, 2013, 2:03 PM — You may not realize it, but every moment of every day, in every conceivable way, you are being watched.
Did you know the feds can turn on your webcam and remotely spy on you? That Google is logging every keystroke you type? That up to 17 surveillance cameras are filming you in every public space? That the White House is watching what you do on your computer and in your bedroom, and can order up a drone that will hunt you down and kill you if you make the wrong move?
I certainly didn’t know it. Not, at least, until I watched the 15-minute video at TruthAboutPrivacy.com, which revealed all of this scary stuff and much more. But for the low low price of just $27, I could buy a book that could tell me how to fix all of these privacy problems – and more.
Among other things, the book promised to reveal how to
* Keep my life free from hackers, phishers, and “government snopes”
* Erase my arrest record
* Get off the no-fly list
* Use military tactics to thwart a home invasion
* Avoid the hands and eyes of the TSA during airport security scans
* Stop anyone, including the NSA, from tapping my phones
* Keep unmanned drones from spying on me
Who could resist a sales pitch like that? So I bought a copy.
As soon as I clicked Add to Cart and added my credit card info, I was hit up by another sales pitch offering me 50 percent off on books telling me how to avoid identity theft, shop safely online, and “39 Ways Duct Tape Can Save Your Life.” (Truth be told, I was tempted by the last one.) When I skipped that, I got another pitch, this time offering 65 percent off. I skipped that, and got third pitch for 70 percent off. Finally, I was able to complete the transaction and downloaded a 74-page PDF file.
Books and liars
Let me start by saying it wasn’t as bad as I expected. Which is not to say it was any good. The “book” was mostly a collection of standard advice published elsewhere -- including some of the stuff you could find in my privacy book, which was published more than 7 years ago. Most of the information was vague and some of it rather outdated. (The only browsers mentioned are IE 8.0 and Firefox 3, if that gives you a clue.)
There was nothing in those 74 pages about how to avoid drones, keep the cops out of your house, erase your criminal history, debug your phone, or screw with the TSA, to name a few examples.
Here’s a representative quote. All flaws in grammar and spelling, not to mention logic, are found in the original:
The real threat to your privacy is not from the government. It’s from corporations, businesses and organizations that see your presence, activism or efforts as a threat to their violation of environmental laws, ethical or unethical practices and how they conduct business. There’s no logic, reason or reasonable person behind the laws and arrests being made today. When you can arrest and suspend a child for waving a pastry in class, sanity has left the building. Do you want to risk your life and livlihood with a system that responds to breakfast food as a terroristic threat?
The book also came with the promise of “12 months of expert privacy support” available 24/7 to help me implement the advice given within. So I sent some emails to the support address given on the TruthAboutPrivacy members page – which was for the customer care team at PatriotSurvivalPlan.com – about some of the stuff that was missing. Here’s one of the (non)answers I got:
Unfortunately I do not have the best answer for you. As a customer service representative we are only trained on the material that is provided in our Patriot Survival Plan modules.
What I can do for you is recommend one of our famous books Truth About Privacy, where you can find all the information you need when it comes to protecting your privacy.
In other words, to answer my questions about stuff that’s missing from their book, I need to buy their book. Fortunately, it comes with a 60-day money back guarantee.