My son wants me to upgrade to the latest iPhone. I resist trading up to the up-to-the-minute cutting-edge version because I have “SUA,” Smartphone Upgrade Anxiety. “SUA” may actually be a real condition. I don’t know. I made it up. You see, I am smartphone-technologically-challenged. Every cellphone I have ever had has had an irritatingly complex learning curve. I don’t know CDMA from GSM. I used to try to figure out which smartphones and smartphone carriers worked in which areas. It’s too daunting. I don’t try anymore. Smartphones drive me crazy, when all I want to do is make a phone call.
For the techie generation it’s a matter of sensory overload. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu believes that smartphones prevent people from living in the moment, that people have become slaves to their electronic devices. Even if you don’t believe that, you must admit that smartphones allow shy people to communicate without actually making eye contact. Some people think that smartphones actually degrade the human spirit.
Whether smartphones are turning us into something less than human or not, there is another technological issue that also builds anxiety. Smartphones can allow people to spy on you. NSA intelligence documents leaked by Edward Snowden reveal that iPhones have “special software” which “authorities” can activate remotely to gather personal information. We just have to trust that the “authorities” are the good guys.
Not only can smartphones be used to spy on us, they also tell people where we are. Iranian Revolutionary Guard General Mohammed Allahdadi was killed in an Israeli air strike last January 18th, because he left his cell phone turned on in an area which Israeli intelligence considered to be important to national security.
I’m not trying to rant about the evils of technology. I’m just sharing my feelings. Even if smartphones didn’t invade my privacy, they would still give me the creeps, because they employ a technology beyond my understanding that I can’t control.
By Rick Brinegar