Thursday, November 10, 2011

Hotel MiniBar Tales - The Fridge That Spies On you.

"May the police secretly install a Global Positioning System device on a vehicle without a probable cause warrant issued by a judge in order to track a suspect’s every move?"

As a now seasoned traveler having lived for a number of months in hotels, the fridge in the room has become an indispensable companion not only in keeping beers cold but also in drinking its contents. Some minibars charge reasonable prices as those encountered in China and other countries in Asia and others charge downright exorbitant prices as those in Europe and the USA.

Not only are the prices worrying but in Europe and the USA many minibars employ infrared technology to spy on your behaviour.

After a day tramping the streets all day doing what I do one desires a cold beer or two straight from the fridge and a snack but one is also hesitant to pay the preposterous prices for the pleasure (especially the chilled Pringles) , so I would BYOB and replace the beers therein putting them to one side and put mine in their place to chill. I would then replace the hotel beer when I depart. In effect on checking out I would receive an enormous bill and if I had removed all the alcoholic beverages to make more beer room the hotel would now have a dossier on me suggesting that I was a heavy drinker and possibly an alcoholic. Information that may be used as evidence of a dodgy character if I happened to be pulled up in front of a judge or stopped by the TSA (as I have been done but that's another story) sometime in the future.

I normally inform the front desk of my switcheroo, asking to remove any blasphemous charges that may have occurred and the clerk told me that, indeed, the fridge was spying on me, and that the hotel would confirm my story at checkout.

All the while, the Supreme Court was debating whether Americans had a “reasonable” expectation their movements would not be electronically monitored. Yet we live in a world today where we pay $300 for a hotel room that spies on your alcohol intake, where millions of people voluntarily “check in” their every movement on FourSquare and Facebook, and where we routinely give big-name and no-name mobile-phone applications the right to track us everywhere we go.

All of which means we submit to our own warrantless monitoring voluntarily and there is nothing to prevent the police or government from monitoring 24 hours a day every citizen of the United States.

And the day will soon come when at birth we are implanted with a miniature GPS chip.

And if you argue for the case that if we have nothing to hide why worry, we certainly wouldn't be inviting you to our New Years party. Well we may, just to be courteous, but you can stand in the street and we'll pass you drinks through the window.

1 comment:

  1. You should watch this TED video, I mean it!


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