With technology invading the parts of our lives that we have become accustomed to as private, we may find it increasingly difficult to trust our significant other. Today’s Social Technology has made it much easier for people with ulterior motives in society to create false identities. One of the most popular motives for false identities is infidelity. Since most find it easiest to engage in an affair by creating the illusion that one is available and single, tools to support this illusion are of great value to such individuals.
Prior to Social Media Websites such as MySpace and Facebook, only the wealthy could successfully create such an illusion. For example a wealthy individual could rent an apartment their spouse would have no knowledge of, or fly out of town for a rendezvous under the false-pretense of a business meeting (while the subject of the affair believes he/she is in town on business as well). Arguably, these are stereo-typical methods of pre-social media web days in which these types of individuals would quench their desire to do such a thing. Most anyone today could agree that the technology of the internet has made creating such illusions accessible to just about anyone, not just the wealthy.
Today, social media is but only one tool available for use in the devious intentions to engage in extra-marital affairs. VoIP technology also has its place in creating such illusions. The first element that cannot be over looked is the price. An Engineer from Baltimore, Maryland (who asked to remain anonymous so we will call him Freddy) explained, “I convinced my wife to move from our traditional analog phone to a VoIP system, with the new system I secretly got an additional line for a little less than $10 and with that came a softphone.” The softphone (abbreviation for software phone) is software that does everything that a normal telephone can do. “I simply installed the softphone on my laptop so that anywhere that I take my laptop and can get access to a broadband internet connection, I have an instant home telephone line, when actually I’m calling from a library or Starbucks” explained Freddy. Freddy further bragged that his softphone account leaves no paper trail in the form of a bill and so he does not have to hide anything from his wife. Freddy went on to share that he had been caught in the past when participating in such activity, the only difference was at the time he was using a pre-paid cellular phone. “One day my fiancé and I were at home watching television and my pre-paid cellular phone rang, needless to say there was no good reason that I could find to justify having that in my possession so I was busted.” Freddy admitted that he and his then fiancé broke up not long after that.
Another player (no pun intended) in the VoIP-veiled-extra-curricular-romance arena is a young woman that we will call Sarah (She also asked to remain anonymous). Sarah has successfully navigated 3 affairs over the past 2 years and hasn’t raised the slightest suspicion to her husband. “I have found that most of my girlfriends have been caught by their husbands because they are always whispering on the telephone and/ or hanging up when their husband would enter the room, my solution to such a situation is having my VoIP service email me text versions of my voicemails. This cuts down on the time it would take for me to first listen to the message then making the attempt to call my lover back.” Sarah is speaking of the voice-to-text features many of the VoIP services offer. VoIP technology is a robust technology in the context of converting data into multiple formats for consumption (voicemail, text messages, email); such messages can be interpolated into text since the VoIP uses data-packets just as a web browser does to communicate over the internet. Such data is already digital so for software to convert digital information into text is a very short but logical interval. Sarah also explained that she found pleasure in being able to break her relationships off with ease. Sarah’s VoIP account allows her to set up rules and input the phone number of her ex-lover so that if a call comes in from the number of the estranged lover it will not allow the call to go through to voicemail or the telephone device.
As society gains huge benefits with each new technological discovery it should not be left unsaid that there is the distinct probability for latent-dysfunctions. Though we find greater ways to communicate with each other, we also expand our inability to trust each other. Obviously, with the breakdown of these aspects of our society, it is mere proof that these technologies work and are as effective as they promise. But this effectiveness comes at a price. One concept that many may choose to agree on and can put most of our minds at ease is that in any case, the technology itself is not the enemy; it’s the intentions of the individual using it.