Are We Asking To Be Stalked?

Despite a world in which anything is possible, sometimes I get bored with it all. Sometimes Mythbusters isn’t on the Discovery Channel. Sometimes Top Gear isn’t on Dave. Sometimes over 200 channels of globally available cable television isn’t enough.

It is in these moments that we must turn to the more macabre methods of self-amusement. It is then that we must undertake a solitary hobby. A hobby that requires the participation of two, but only the application and awareness of one.

I am of course talking about – stalking.

But here’s the problem; stalking just ain’t what it used to be. There’s just no fun in it anymore.

When I was a boy we had nothing but a trenchcoat, thick-rimmed glasses and a suspicious aura – y’know, the essentials. Back in the golden age of stalking, times were hard. Victims tried their damnedest to evade you. They would make sudden changes of direction, cut through densely populated areas to maximise potential witnesses, turn, point and shout “Stranger Danger”. But thanks to our seasoned professionalism, a chloroform soaked handkerchief and some serious elbow-grease we always got what we wanted.

Those were the days. We had to graft back then. But for our efforts, we were rewarded. It’s not like that anymore. Nobody sounds their rape alarms. Nobody kicks and screams. Nobody even tuts and stares disapprovingly. No. Now they piss away their personal information to anyone who wants access. I wish they’d put up more of a fight.

Stalkers these days, they don’t even know they’re born. They get everything handed to them on a silver, lithium-powered, aluminium microchip platter. Dates, locations, statistics and attendees. It’s almost as if people want to be stalked.

Thanks to social networking, what it used to take us weeks to uncover can now be learned with a quick glance at a person’s profile or web page. It seems that every site you stumble upon has the location its proprietor plastered all over its pages.

Twitter has a function allowing users to display the global position from which they’re tweeting. Facebook has a Check-In service allowing smartphone users to reveal the exact location of them and their friends to everyone on their feed. You can even do your sleuthing on unsuspecting citizens live via USTREAM and blogTV!

It’s all very novel. Until your psychopathic ex-boyfriend/parole officer/disgruntled stepfather sees it.

Why do we require, why do we desire this technological functionality? Are we really so self-conscious that we feel we have to publish every piece of information pertaining to every single social event we attend? Are we so egotistical that we assume everyone wants to know exactly where we are and what we’re doing at any given time? It’s yet another case of Virtually Documented Popularity. What the hell is wrong with you people?!

It’s refreshing [or terrifying] to know that even whilst this information is freely available to stalkers worldwide, even in the face of such temptation, the dependable, devoted, honourable and hardcore stalkers do still exist. They operate outside the jurisdiction of the virtual police. They patrol your purlieu, not your Twitter profile. They lurk between the ferns in your garden, not the forums of your favourite site.

It’s a classic case of the old guard versus the new guard. Coagulated blood versus transfusion blood. Analogue versus digital. Classic stalkers may consider this cheating, but it’s simply the way of the world – the digital way.

But as with all things digital, its quality is always under question. Digital quality stalking is limited by bit depth and sample rate. It’s often over-compressed and distorted, leading to a reduction of trepidation. Because colourful comments on a victim’s blog will never be as frightening as swords and rope, digital stalking will never be as terrifying as analogue. Just ask my friend Joss.

While stalking is admittedly becoming both easier and less alarming, there is an upside for the industry. The ease in which research can be now undertaken is encouraging fresh, new O- to come through the ranks. Way back when, young up-and-comers may have felt discouraged by the sheer workload a stalker had to complete. Now, thanks to the internet and social media you can do all your stalking without leaving the comfort of your own personal underground sex dungeon.

Supermarket home delivery services allow you to order all the necessary peripherals online – hydrochloric acid, a tarpaulin, bleach, shackles, a shovel and a sponge – and have them brought straight to your door. Whilst waiting for your ‘groceries’ to arrive you could scope a live stream of your victim on blogTV while simultaneously browsing their poolside holiday photos on Facebook. Once you’ve deciphered the vulnerabilities of your victim, and your shopping has arrived, you can hire a car, have it pick you up, kill the driver and you’re good to go.

Stalking figures may be rising due to the lower levels of difficulty and strange interpretations of the freedom of information act. But the detective skills and intelligence of stalkers is at an all time low. Stalkers simply aren’t gaining the levels of experience that their forefathers did.

What’s worse is that digital stalkers are not honouring decades-old traditions. Because you can stalk anyone from your home, you can forgo adorning the customary uniform of the stalker – a Mackintosh-style raincoat, hiking boots and a dishevelled beard. I know stalkers that wear t-shirts, Vans trainers and are clean shaven! They’re a disgrace to the creed! It’s like Stalking Lite!

Thankfully many of those tempted by stalking have seized the opportunities that free information provides, but have done so in a different profession – burglary. With all this checking-in and locational tweeting there’s one place you cannot be – home. Allowing technologically equipped squatters to take very temporary residence within your fixed abode and rid it of all electrical items, furniture and carpet.

There are those valiantly raising awareness about this problem – Please Rob Me. A problem you should genuinely consider overcoming.

Many dystopian theorists claim that the machines are simply capitalising on the stupidity of us meatbags by providing us with the means to display our location to the world’s murdering masses. It will slowly but surely chip away at the population. Leaving a weakened force for the machines to eventually contend with. You can’t hide from the machines. You told them where you are, remember?

So while the stalking industry is evolving through the ages, so too must both stalker and stalkee. If you continually update your internet profiles with details of your daily routine, don’t be surprised to see me and my droogs stood in your garden at 3AM with some sheers and a plastic bag.

What if that’s a legitimate threat, hotshot? Think about it.

MacTingz

P.S

If you’re interested in stalking me, perhaps to intimidate me or permanently maim me as vengeance for writing such an offensively insensitive article – when I’m not out stalking – you can find me at my personal underground sex dungeon home:

Casa del MacTingz

Shadow Moses Island

FCK UM8

Thank you, and happy stalking.

Article first published as Are we Asking to be Stalked? on Technorati.

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3 thoughts on “Are We Asking To Be Stalked?

  1. When I see these posts on Facebook I always reply with a version of the following:

    “Thanks for the info. I’ll be right over to steal your television, fixed gear bike, and sweet Mac.”

    This kind of stuff is bothersome because it’s reminiscent of Huxley’s Brave New World – we willingly place ourselves into authority’s hands. In essence, we’re all “doing our part” to keep our lands free from terrorism. It’s also amazing that we give away our personal information to data miners and advertisers for free. It’s like on CNN (or Sky in the U.K.) where they ask the viewer to report on the story, cutting out the need for reporters and expenditures. All in all: a bad idea.

    Good article. =)

    • It’s, at present, even more surprising how willing the public are to piss away all their private information given the current hacking scandal with the News of the World. I’m sure you’ve heard about it.

      One the one hand we’re decrying the papers for invading public privacy and hacking into the phones of innocent families and victims, and on the other hand we’re telling strangers and machines everything they want to know.

      Of course the entire scandal is pretty sickening. But we can’t have it both ways.

      Thanks man.

      • I’ve been keeping up with the News Corp scandal, mostly through the BBC, and love that somebody threw a pie in Murdoch’s face. I agree with you about people’s abhorrence regarding Murdoch’s voice mail hacking but their complete compliance with things like Facebook, Google+, and so forth. It’s quite hypocritical. However, I think when there’s a face to put with something like this it seems easier to focus our collective anger and that’s not the case with Facebook and the like. Maybe it’s because we view computers and digital technology as our servants, which is an incorrect assumption. After all, there are men and women making these kinds of things work and just because we don’t see them like we do Murdoch doesn’t mean they aren’t there.

        I do full believe it’s a very Huxleyian concept – giving our information away willingly – and another example of how Brave New World was much more prophetic than 1984. All that talk about implanting RFID chips into people’s skins isn’t necessary now because we willingly give away our information via Facebook, our cellular phones, and so forth. Hell, America even puts RFID chips in our passports now (thankfully I have a few more years with an RFID free passport before I have to renew it).

        Keep writing man. =)

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