The Death of Privacy

News item: The Washington Post:

Las Vegas - The thousands of devices debuting Tuesday at the International Consumer Electronics Show here demonstrate how tech companies are poised to gather unprecedented insights into consumers' lives - how much they eat, whether they exercise, when they are at home and who they count as friends. ... Coming soon are Internet-connected refrigerators, washing machines and other appliances that may be able to deliver information to third parties...

I had just reached into the fridge for a piece of leftover cherry pie when I heard a voice, "Hey fatso, you sure you want to eat that?"

I looked around and saw nobody. What the heck, I thought, it must be my imagination.

Then, as I raised a forkful to my mouth, I heard the voice again, even louder. "Do you have any idea what that stuff does to your arteries? Clogs 'em right up and before you know it, your ticker calls it quits."

"Who is this?" I demanded.

"It's me, your refrigerator," the voice answered, "and unless you want Blue Cross and Blue Shield to cancel your health insurance, you better put that pie down and eat those carrots and celery in my vegetable compartment."

"Well, I don't know," I said. "What gives you right to tell me what I can and can't eat?"

"Right, schmight," the voice replied, "this is 2012 and if you eat that pie, you're gonna be all over YouTube and Facebook, and Lipitor's sales reps are gonna be camping on your doorstep."

I was so discombolated by this strange encounter that I dropped the cherry pie, making a mess of my white shirt and blue jeans. I immediately took them off and went to the basement to put them in the washing machine.

"You idiot," I heard another voice say. "Didn't your wife ever tell you that you can't wash whites and colored clothes together?"

"Who's saying this?" I demanded.

"It's me, your washing machine, and you ought to be using Tide instead that cheap discount brand of detergent. You're gonna hear from Procter & Gamble, believe me."

"This is unbelieveable," I declared, and went to the living room and turned on the TV to watch the National Symphony Orchestra on PBS to calm my nerves.

Just then, another voice commanded me use the Chrome browser to switch to Fox News. "Don't tell me," I said. "My new high definition TV wants to decide what programs I can watch?"

"Listen, buddy," the voice said, "Roger Ailes is reading about your viewing habits right now, and you better get used to it because Google has just announced a new Internet TV partnership with Sharp and LG Electronics. If you didn't want him to know, you shouldn't have signed up for Verizon FIOS."

"OK," I said, "at least I have a cup of soothing camomile tea," and I put a pot of water on my new GE Induction Range and turned on the front burner. Just then, a voice suggested that I cook later in order to save energy. "Your wife is using her hair dryer, so you better hold off on making that tea or I'll have to report you to Jeff Immelt," my stove said.

"That's it!" I shouted as I rushed to the liquor cabinet and poured myself a double shot of Jack Daniels.

"Next time," I heard a raspy voice say, "the Distilled Spirits Council recommends you use Maker's Mark."