Above here, you’ll see my new email and forum signature line.
What’s this all about you may very well be asking yourself. It’s about something that I find extremely disturbing; the continued erosion of our personal liberties in exchange for the promise of security and safety. As people from around the globe continue to swear undying enmity towards those who may, per chance, hold differing opinions regarding which bearded wise man sits up there in the clouds and manipulates the fates, governments around the world are taking this opportunity to strip us of all our liberties and freedoms that men have fought and died for over the past eons.
New technologies and methods of surveillance are being used by the governing powers to monitor and document your every word. movement, and action. They haven’t figured out how to monitor your thoughts yet, but give it time. George Orwell would be amazed. He was spot on, but a few years early. The technology had to catch up with his predictions.
Now that most communications, be they Internet or telephonic, are in digital format; it’s ever so much easier for the data to be sifted, copied, stored, etc. You couldn’t do that with analog. You would have had to actually record voice communications with some sort of recording devices; magnetic tape, for example. With digital, all they need to do is save your recent phone conversation with auntie Agatha to a file on a hard drive somewhere. They can peruse it, transcribe it, copy it, even manipulate it easily with the help of any computer. Ain’t tech great?
You better watch what you say to your auntie from now on. While you’re at it, you better be careful where you go (your cellphone is tracking you), who you are seen with (cameras everywhere), what you borrowed from the library (Anarchist’s Cookbook a big NO-NO), and definitely what you purchased from Amazon last night. It’s all out there just waiting to be picked through by whomever might be interested. They don’t have to actually go through your garbage cans late at night anymore. All your garbage is stored on servers all over the world nowadays… your credit records, medical records, consumer records, even what you’re viewing on those fancy new digital TVs via cable.
Moving out to that plywood shack in the woods and typing up your manifesto on that old Underwood typewriter is sounding more and more tempting every day, huh? Besides, it’s so much quieter out there. Watch out for those satellites and drones, though. There’s NO PLACE TO HIDE anymore. They’re watching YOU! It’s OK to be paranoid these days. Your silly delusions about THEM being out to get you might not be so silly after all. You do have a good supply of weird uncle Bob’s tinfoil hats, right?
Here’s some interesting reading for you:
NSA, FBI mine Internet firms’ data, documents show – Tampa Bay Times
Daily Report: U.S. Confirms That It Gathers Online Data – NY Times/Bits
Obama Calls Surveillance Programs Legal and Limited – NY Times
I particularly love the assertion that the NSA “needs” all this data in order to fight terrorism; that, in order for Americans to be “safe,” they can’t be permitted any privacy. This choice between safety and privacy is, rather obviously, a false dilemma. Knowing (for example) when I talked to my friend to set up dinner plans and how long I talked to her, will not and can never make the country “safe.” It does the NSA no good to have this information. It conveys nothing that will help them track a terrorist or interrupt a plot.
Also, consider just one more practical example: The NSA presumably had full telphonic data on the Tsarnaev’s brothers. What’s more, they’d been tipped off by Russia that one of them had been radicalized. Given this viable and investigatable lead, along with all the Tsarnaevs’ calling data, they still were unable to figure out they were up to no good. Having this data did not help. It did nothing to make us “safe.”
Instead of collecting vast amounts of data on the personal lives of many millions of Americans, hoping to find something useful out of all of it, the NSA would be much better off pursuing the meaningful leads they’re given, and investigating just those people who are in some way suspicious. Put another way, they ought to be targeting their efforts on things that will produce information that might actually be helpful.
Knowing (for example) when I talked to my friend to set up dinner plans and how long I talked to her, will not and can never make the country “safe.”
That is unless your dessert plans with your lady-friend involved the baking of yummy pipe bomb éclairs. 😉
Woops! You got wise to us, Eric! 😉
Praise Allah and pass the virgins.