we stare rapt into its bright light

The smartphone is an intimate device; we stare rapt into its bright light and stroke its smooth glass to coax out information and connect with others. It seems designed to help us achieve Westin’s functions of privacy*, to enable emotional release and moments of passive reflection. We cradle it in bed, at dinner, on the toilet. Its pop-up privacy policies are annoying speed bumps in the otherwise instantaneous conjuring of desires. It feels like a private experience, when really it is everything but. How often have you shielded the contents of your screen from a stranger on the subway, or the partner next to you in bed, only to offer up your secrets to the data firm tracking everything you do?

~ Amanda Hess, excerpt from “How Privacy Became a Commodity for the Rich and Powerful” (NY Times, May 9, 2017)



  1. The degree to which these devices have become ubiquitous is frightening. I fear this genie is going to be well nigh impossible to stuff back into the bottle, and we’ve yet to fully comprehend the havoc he is wreaking….

    Liked by 4 people

  2. such a scary and sad state we have found ourselves in.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am afraid of its allure, and as such can put it own as easily as I pick it up (and we don’t go to the bathroom together)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The toilet is definitely out of bounds for me but not my kids! Honestly, is it really necessary? 🙄

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Smartphones are also overused and are annoying interferences with face to face communication.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I don’t even have a cell phone, but I do need my computer at home and my laptop when I’m traveling. Email works for me, and a landline phone is fine. Why would I need more?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It is crazy how many people I know scoffed at us smartphone users only to become one themselves. It starts so slowly and let’s be honest, for most of us, leaving home without it causes quasi-panic attacks (full-on, for some!)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. So true. Fully caught, worldwide and no solution in sight.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Yes, yes and so much yes. Profoundly perfect.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Do you recall the times we weren’t attached to them? How we could peacefully just sit and wait for 5 minutes somewhere and contemplate nothing or just enjoy the scenery? We lose so much presence by having them as an extra appendage. I am with the masses as well, attached to the phone. I’m only offering this as a notation – a remember when? for those who can remember when…my kids think it’s funny that I didn’t get a cell phone until I was 28 yrs old. But that was when the cell phones became available to most people! It feels like now kids come out of the womb, thumbs ready to click and innately know how!

    Liked by 1 person

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