Yesterday, as is my usual pastime, I was solving some crossword puzzles. I do three or four a day from the NYT, WaPo, and elsewhere. This one was a “Classic” from the WaPo. One of the clues was “popular type of sunglasses.” My first guess was “aviator” which fit the space. A few clues later I had to change this because it no longer fit. My next entry was “Raybans,” helped along by a couple of crossing letters. It was correct, but that’s not the story.

Today, I got an unsolicited email from Ray-Ban Sunglasses, advertising a clearance sale. I peeked at the from address to see who had actually sent it. I give you one guess only.

The teaser came from I have never bought sunglasses on line. Coincidence? Possible, but given all we have been learning about “surveillance capitalism,” not likely. I am both puzzled and quite disturbed that Amazon or some other company (Google?) seemed to be able to track my entries in a crossword puzzle. I use Firefox as my browser and do all my crosswords online. Occasionally I do use Google to search for answers, but I know I did not for this one. I looked at my past order record on Amazon to see if their algorithms might have ended up sending me an ad for sunglasses, but there is nothing remotely connected with eyeware of any kind that would have put them onto this product. Of course, I cannot be certain that there is any connection, but the email really spooked me.

One Reply to “Spooked”

  1. Boss,
    Well, that is technology for you. I.kust finished reading your work Sustainability needs to be attained, not managed and it struck a cord with what Asucion Lrea St Clair’s position in one of her work where she stated that this age has the capacity to solve global environmental challenges if it wants to. So if from an innocent crossword puzzle you can be possibly tracked online, imagine what this age can do to attain Sustainability , so that humankind can truly FLOURISH from generation to generation. St Clair sounded pessimistic that this age will indeed take steps to solve the problem it has invariably created in trying to improve the quality of life of humankind. What a contradiction.

    After reading your piece, I searched for you on twitter before checking you up on your website. I would guess that is why your crossword account has no comments since it was uploaded. But then, social media is not everything. I am on social media and I am done with it.

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