Safe and Secure

surveillance-keyhole

George Orwell’s classic, dystopian novel 1984 paints a morbid account of a future society where there is no hope. But the saddest piece of that alternate reality is that there is absolutely no privacy whatsoever and it is all done under the guise of securing a better life for its citizens.

Luckily, the world described in the book hadn’t come to fruition in the thirty-five years after it was first published in 1949. However, if you fast forward twenty-nine years to 2013 there are some similarities that are somewhat identical.

With the constant presence of the Internet and Smartphones it’s hard to deny that we live in a vast technological wonderland. And with each passing day the marvels of modern technology evolve exponentially.  We’re not as close to living like the Jetsons as we should be but in some aspects we have made tremendous leaps from the days of using payphones, record players and pagers.

On the outside it seems like we have everything we need to be a successful society. Unfortunately, to quote a popular oldhead phrase, you can’t get something for nothing. With all of this technology comes new and exciting ways to abuse it. Take, for instance, Cyberbullying. As if being bullied in school isn’t bad enough now there’s a way to terrify people in the privacy of their own homes.

Trolling is another way people abuse the power of the Internet because it empowers cowards to talk a lot of shit from behind a computer screen. They say a lot of inappropriate things but would never conduct themselves that way in the real world.

Finally, one of the greatest technological advances we’ve acquired is in the way we communicate with each other. We’ve gone from just using telephones to using emails, Skype and text messages, to name a few. And we use them all under the impression that what we say and type will remain sacred and private between ourselves and the parties involved.

Unfortunately, there may be a weak link in that chain of secure thinking.

Recently it was revealed that the NSA may have been listening in on German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone conversations. Of course, this isn’t the first time the NSA has done something like this and it more than likely will not be the last because in essence that’s what they’re paid to do. But the incident has left the Chancellor a bit confused, and rightfully so.The US and Germany are on good terms so there should be no reason for the NSA to be snooping through an allies personal belongings. It’s invasive without provocation and now there may be some fallout from this situation if the US doesn’t handle it accordingly.

The problem with having too much technology is that it can become a weapon in the wrong hands, much like the situation with the NSA. True, they’re no strangers when it comes to their surveillance efforts. And in some cases it is justified because they do come across valid threats aimed at the security of the US. But if they’re just going around checking in on people because they’re merely suspicious about something that may or may not happen then they’re abusing the power they’ve been given.

It’s borderline fanaticism. But then again it serves as a throwback to Orwell’s 1984, because Big Brother is always watching.

So what does this mean for the everyday US citizen? If the NSA is eavesdropping on their own allies you can best believe they’re monitoring you as well.

Your emails. Your Facebook statuses.

THIS BLOG!

How are we supposed to live our lives with the knowledge that we, too, could be targeted by the NSA just because? Just thinking about it will either strike fear in the hearts of conspiracists or eye rolls and apathy from the nonchalant.

In any event the fact remains that George Orwell wrote 1984 in 1949 and I know it’s a classic but he got the title all wrong.

He should have called it 2013.

 

 

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  3 comments for “Safe and Secure

  1. DomeWoo
    October 24, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    Very well said my American friend. It’s kind of weird how different perspectives on this whole matter can be. Over the past few months, ever since Snowden told the world about PRISM, I have had a lot of conversations regarding this topic. Chancellor Merkel seemed not to be worried too much about it, although she let people look into it, because reports indicated that the NSA was more interested in spying on European citizens, but not on European governments. We should let that sink in for a second – now that the BND seems to have found something that leads to the suspicion that the NSA tapped her phone, she’s getting concerned. What’s also very interesting, she rang President Obama on Wednesday, and today they’ve invited the American ambassador to talk about this further, because she wants to have full disclosure. In other words, she wants to know everything the NSA knows, which leads to the question, what about us? She just wants to have the same power. Knowledge is power and she wants to have as much power as she can get. Yes, America and Germany are allies, but to what extent? She wants to become ‘big sister’. Of course she has to maintain the look as if she is concerned for the privacy of German citizens, which is why most of what’s being said on the news and in articles is ‘smoke and mirrors’. When I go on Facebook and see my American friends post updates about rather trivial stuff and then post a video that addresses the privacy of American citizens, but the global factor of the whole PRISM affair falls flat, because their privacy seems to be more important than my own, I want to unfriend them due to their ignorance. To be fair, I read a lot of German reactions about this and they do the same thing, just see themselves at the center of it all, instead of trying to get get the bigger picture. Maybe I’ve lived online for too long, which is the reason why I try to understand and be an advocate on both sides. It’s just rather frustrating and lonely. That’s why I have to thank you and applaud you for writing this entry.

    • October 24, 2013 at 3:24 pm

      The funny thing about politics and international affairs is that the two bexome mutually exclusive depending on the individual. This is evident in regards to the Chancellor because she didn’t give a shit about the NSA’s practices until it affected her. There are a lot of shady dealings that go on behind the scenes away from the eyes of the public brotha. More than we’ll ever know.

      • DomeWoo
        October 24, 2013 at 4:26 pm

        EXACTLY! It has just become more apparent in the digital age. We have access to more information than ever before, but the majority of people can’t handle it. That’s why it has become so easy to manipulate people. Governments are afraid of their own citizens, because they know that WE know. This is also the reason why Snowden is facing prison, because he put out there for everyone to see, what others had been saying for years. He delivered the proof and now people are asking questions. That must be embarrassing for your government, which is using the NSA as a scapegoat to push away their responsibility. They’ve built a house of cards, and Snowden pulled out the foundation. I mean, it’s getting harder and harder for our governments to keep up their lies. And yes, we might never get the whole truth, but we can still read between the lines. (To lighten things up – Merkel calls Obama: “Would you tap me?” Obama: “Eww, you’re ratchet!”)

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