Okay, I understand that privacy is a huge issue. Maybe it is my time in the Army that desensitized me to what having privacy means, but I honestly don’t really care who looks at my Facebook, this blog (obviously), my emails, or my phone calls. You know why I don’t really care? I am not doing or saying anything that I am ashamed of. I am not having conversations about government takeovers or terrorist actions. Hell, I hope they eavesdrop on me enough to give me a job – you hear that National Security Agency? How about a job? I would love to listen to all the crap people say when they think no one is listening. I would laugh all day long. I would also have a hard time reading peoples emails without correcting them…but I could learn.
All jokes aside though – we have been operating under the illusion of privacy well before the modern miracle that is the Internet, it is just that the Internet and cell phones make it 100 times easier for ANYONE to hack into your communications. To think that the government hasn’t been listening to us since – oh I don’t know – forever; is rather nieve. I happen to be in the camp that says, “if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about.”
The government is doing the same exact thing that the grocery store does with your little key-chain “savings card” they are looking at how you shop, what you buy, when you buy it, and they market directly to you because of it. Personally, I wish the government would read everything I post, so they can see what a joke I think they are and change their behavior according to my preferences in order to gain my vote. That isn’t what they are looking for though, they don’t care about my opinions (or yours).
The Patriot Act (A Bush baby) is where this all started, so those blaming all of this on the Obama administration are simply living with their heads in the sand. This administration is simply taking advantage of government approved tactics to “identify and prevent potential threats to national security.” We all should know that no matter what administration backs up this nonsense, that the talking point is not the only reason the government is listening to what we had for dinner. It is a sneaky and effective way to get the real pulse of the political climate in the country. Right now, this tactic is serving the Democrats. Under Bush, it served the Republicans. See how that works?
I also think it is kind of hilarious and rather hypocritical of the American public to be so outraged by all this. If you are worried about privacy, go live in the woods, get rid of your Internet and cell phones, don’t send anything through the mail, and by all means don’t sign up for anything; ever. “Data mining” is not new – only the way we collect that information is. It’s just easier now because we offer this information to anyone (not just big brother) who has even the most basic understanding of networks and how they deliver information across the glorious World Wide Web. I hate to break this to you – but your emails have never been “private” neither has any word you have ever posted online (no matter what your security settings say).
Those little “agreements” that you never read? Yeah those pretty much authorize the owners of that application to use your information pretty much however they want. If you don’t like it, don’t hit “Accept.” However, don’t play ignorant when you hit “Accept” and all of a sudden you start getting emails and phone calls from politicians (who you surprisingly agree with) robo-calling your cell phone before an election. Or when you are all happy because you got a coupon for your favorite dog food “out of the blue” – these are NOT coincidences. It is the direct result of what you do online and how you do it and marketers and politicians are ALL paying very close attention to what you are doing because it gets them elected or makes them money. National security was just a way to get us to comply… think about it.
Information is power. It is all about how we use the information we have and the government has been acquiring knowledge much faster than the average American and that isn’t a new phenomenon at all. The great thing is that we also have the power to gather information – we have the same tools as the government to share and acquire knowledge. This blog is my attempt to do that. Share and acquire knowledge; not just from government approved media, but from other people around the world. I don’t have to believe what CNN is showing me about the protests in Turkey right now, I can look at the conversations the protesters themselves are having on Twitter and Facebook. I believe them more than I believe the mainstream media. I for one, love having that option, but that option comes with some responsibility as well as the understanding that people can access what I say just as easily as I can access what they say.
I wrote the White House an email about Stephanie and her situation and I titled the email, “Why Post Office Employee’s “Go Postal!” They liked it so much that I got a call from the National Suicide Prevention team. They were worried that Stephanie or I might be going a bit crazy (we are – but we aren’t suicidal) we just want the government to pay attention. I also sent them my blog “Why I love President Obama” but they didn’t respond to that one. I thought Barry or Michelle would really like that one. Oh well. I am sure though that because I have sent emails to members of congress, the President, and the senate, that they are reading this blog as I type it. I don’t care. Let them. For fucks sake I hope they learn something.
So yeah. I guess I am a little different than many Americans (this is also not news to me), I don’t care who reads what I post online – even if it is one of the many break-up letters I have written, or a scathing attack on our ridiculous congress. I know that if I put it on here, it is fair game to anyone who feels it important enough to access. WordPress owns everything I post. All of these blogs are insight into what I (and all of you who follow me) find important, interesting, or valuable. That is valuable information for corporations, politicians, religious groups, activists, wannabe hackers – whoever. I don’t care. If I don’t want people to know about it – I don’t post it, email about it, or talk about it on the phone.
Do I think that the government SHOULD be able to do this legally? No. However, I understand the Patriot Act and that made all this legal. So, your fears dictated this, your fears that were completely exploited by the previous administration, and that the current administration is taking advantage of. So lay the blame where it lies – but don’t play ignorant, and don’t be outraged because it is still happening. Demand change. You can do that – they are reading all this. Demand better. Pull your heads of of the sand and stop making this a partisan issue – because it isn’t. Or you can just go offline.