Paranoia

Back in 2006 when this blog was just a few days old, I wrote a post where I revealed my long-standing paranoia that I am being observed. Although nearly a decade has passed since that post first went online, I still battle with the keen awareness that at any given time my activities may be captured on any number of cameras — hidden or otherwise. Since Japan was awarded the 2020 Olympic games the feeling has only become more prevalent as companies like Fujitsu and NEC team up with pseudo security companies like Alsok and Secom to put a camera in every ceiling and stream that data back to a series of supercomputers that will use facial recognition to identify every person walking by in real time and notify the authorities should anyone on a wanted list make an appearance. While this sounds a little far fetched, it's been happening for at least the last two years at train stations across the nation. During that time the technology companies that support the pseudo security companies rolled out massive infrastructure upgrades to perform all of this observation with cold equations and hot processors. One place where I have often felt safe from observation, though, has been the inside of my home … until today.

CCTV

While eating dinner in the living room I had the distinct impression that my activities were being monitored. Not by my wife and not by my dog, but by a machine. Now, paranoia can make a person create enemies where none exists, but this particular feeling was especially strong. There was just too much wrong with the whole scenario. The TV was off, which is almost unheard of when my wife is home. She was using her computer, which is also almost unheard of after 9:00pm on a weekday. The neighbours were quiet. Dinner was one of my favourite meals. Most people would look at this and say "Oh, what's up with all the different stuff?", but I'm not most people. I see phantoms when many people don't, and I create phantoms when nervous energy has nowhere to go.

Despite my best efforts, I could not locate a camera in the living room. I also took a look at the network traffic to see if there was any chance a video stream might have been sent during the evening, but everything came up clean. There are no unrecognized wireless networks in the area, and the last one was two days ago when somebody's Android phone broadcasted its mobile hotspot SSID.

Yes. I log all of this stuff. I've battled paranoia for well over a decade and, like I've already said, I see phantoms where none exist.

All in all, this is probably just a case of nerves. The big project at work has been struck by delay after delay on upstream processes, and I'm pulling my hair out because the August 8th deadline is all but impossible to meet now. This is despite the fact that the project manager and I have both invested well over 150 hours into the project combined each and every week, and despite the fact that the front and back end that I have developed is 90% complete. This frustration and anxiety is likely manifesting itself in a manner that has me on edge looking for interlopers who will obstruct the project even more.

But why is it that of all my psychological deviations this energy decides to converge on paranoia? Why not depression? Why not insomnia? Why not addiction? Has my new diet made addiction and excessive sugar consumption all but impossible, pushing paranoia to the forefront of the demons I must battle?

Am I overthinking it?

I'm typing this post from my bedroom where I feel absolutely comfortable. There are no active listening or video devices in this room that I know of, and I don't have that weird feeling in the back of my mind telling me to be extra wary. Perhaps I should just call it a night and let the paranoia stay in the other room …