Saturday, May 19, 2018
What My Internet Service Provider Knows About Me
By Robert Wenzel
I consider myself moderately security conscious but I don't take any excessive measures to protect my privacy. Though in general, I thought I had a firm grasp of what most major corporations know about me---- until a call I received on Friday at my office floored me.
It was a gentleman who identified himself as Bernard and said he was calling to introduce himself as my Comcast account manager.
He then told me that he would like to discuss upgrading my internet package since he said having eight devices hooked up to my current package was a lot.
I told him he was mistaken. I had a dedicated line to my computer and that was it.
He then said, "No, I show you have one dedicated line in use and 7 wifi devices connected."
I told him that was impossible. He then said a bit gleefully,
"I can tell you the devices."
Me: You can tell me the devices?
Me: Okay tell me the devices.
Bernard: You have a Samsung S9 cell phone hooked up.
Me. Oh yeah, right. But you know it is a Samsung S9?
Me: What else do you show I have hooked up?
Bernard: You have a Hewlett Packard laptop.
I thought the laptop was off but he was right it was on when I checked.
He then told me I had two Dell desktop computers, one connected with a dedicated line and one by wifi.
I told him I only had one. He insisted there were two Dells. Then, I remembered I have a television in the office connected to a Dell but I rarely, rarely watch, just when there is some Congressional testimony I want to see.
I then told him I had the second one attached to the television but that it was likely in snooze mode. He told me they could detect devices even in snooze mode.
He then correctly identified my wifi connected VOIP phone, my connected Canon PIXMA TR8520 printer and my connected mini-google.
He had a little trouble identifying the final device. He said he didn't recognize the device address. I quickly figured out it was my Ring doorbell/camera hooked up by wifi.
He offered to switch me from my current VOIP service to a Comcast phone line at a much cheaper monthly rate ( a 75% discount) and he waved the installation fee.
I took the deal---and probably its additional Comcast monitoring of me.
Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher of EconomicPolicyJournal.com and Target Liberty. He also writes EPJ Daily Alert and is author of The Fed Flunks: My Speech at the New York Federal Reserve Ban .and most recently Foundations of Private Property Society Theory: Anarchism for the Civilized Person Follow him on twitter:@wenzeleconomics and on LinkedIn. His youtube series is here: Robert Wenzel Talks Economics. The Robert Wenzel podcast is on iphone and stitcher.
at 12:43 PM