Riddle me this: At 3:03 a.m. a few weeks ago, I was rudely pulled from sleep by an automated voice on speakerphone, loudly telling me about Amazon PillPack.
My phone was on a charger on my bedside table. It was set to “do not disturb” mode. I had not touched it since 10 p.m. the evening before. And it was a phone number I’d never dialed and had never called me. (I had never even heard of PillPack until that moment.)
Shocked and annoyed, I groggily grabbed for my smartphone and immediately ended the call. Then I closed the open tabs, including Amazon (which I had not opened; I am a stickler about closing tabs on my phone).
So how was this annoying, early-morning oddity even possible? Better yet: How in the world do I keep this kind of intrusion from ever happening again?
I can’t say that I really trust smartphones and technology. In fact, I do my best to limit how much tech our family uses. And my husband and I take the time to warn our three kiddos about the dangers of addiction (to games, social media, videos, etc.) and about predators who can use those little electronic boxes to carry out their evildoings. We shut down computers, log out of websites, block off video cameras and turn off Siri. But even still … somehow, I had invasive loudspeaker madness waking me up in the wee hours of the morning?
You better believe I went through and closed out every site, erased all cookies, changed each password and locked down my privacy even more. But the whole ordeal made me think about how much information is out there … and how often “someone” might be watching and listening.
I’m not the only one thinking along those lines and taking precautions when it comes to technology and cyberspace. In fact, fellow firearms enthusiast Sarah Honadel shared a very interesting conversation she recently had. And it’s something to, perhaps, add to your file of “things to say to anti-gun folks” or to your list of “things to consider when it comes to smart devices.”
In her words, Sarah posted the following dialogue:
I had a conversation with [a woman] the other day about how “dangerous guns are.” I posed the question, “If I laid an unloaded gun on the table and my iPhone on the table, which is more dangerous?”
[WOMAN]: “Obviously the gun, it can kill me.”
[SARAH]: “The gun is unloaded; no one is touching it. It can’t hurt you.”
[WOMAN]: “Still the gun … because I know it can hurt me.”
[SARAH]: “But it’s an inanimate object that cannot hurt you unless used improperly. An iPhone, on the other hand, can track you, listen to you, has more information on it and can be hacked by people that will steal your information and identity while just lying there. That seems more dangerous than a hunk of metal lying on a table.”
[WOMAN]: “I guess I never really thought about that.”
If you haven’t lately, I suggest taking a moment to really think about safety — across the board — and take whatever training, classes or precautions you can. Gun safety and cyber safety are both parts of protecting yourself and the ones you love.
About Beth Alcazar
Boasting several training certifications including TWAW, SIG Sauer Academy, ALICE Institute and I.C.E. Training, Beth Alcazar is enthusiastic about safe and responsible firearms ownership. She has nearly two decades in the firearms industry and is a Certified Training Instructor and Senior Training Counselor for the USCCA and Training Counselor, Chief Range Safety Officer and Certified Instructor for the NRA. The associate editor of Concealed Carry Magazine, Beth also uses her experience and degrees in language arts, education and communication management to author her USCCA woman-focused column as well as Women’s Handgun & Self-Defense Fundamentals.