Saturday, June 8, 2013

Big Brother 2

Okay, yesterday I went on a bit of a reactionary rant about the news reports that the government was watching us and listening to us all the time. Maybe they are, maybe they aren't. Maybe it was an exaggerated story just to get us riled up. I'll get back to this idea later.

Now I'm not dismissing the allegations and stories from yesterday, but rather, looking at it with more facts in hand, and other perspectives, in the cold hard light of reality.

The other aspect of this that didn't occur to me was the terror-prevention part. There are people and groups of people that do want to hurt us, kill us, and would love to see this country in flames coast to coast, burnt to the ground with nothing left. A lot of that animosity has been thwarted, some has not. So, I guess in brief, what the government is doing now is the best way to keep us safe. That carries some weight. Maybe it's not the best solution, but it's probably better than nothing. I remember a few years ago seeing reports of buses being blown up in Israel almost weekly. So far, that hasn't happened here.

 My tempered response here comes from a conservative radio broadcast I heard yesterday. Now, I've spent over 20 years in evangelical Christianity, voting republican and counting myself a conservative. I grew up with the idea of America, freedom and liberty from a conservative perspective. Now I'm not involved with the church and I'm in a place where I've been questioning a lot of things and researching a lot of things. I don't think the republicans and conservatives have it all right, but neither do the democrats and liberals. But power and money have corrupted our system. I have more thoughts about that, but later.

Anyways, I keep an ear open to some of the conservative talk-radio folks. I don't agree with them as much as I used to, but sometimes they have some insights and perspectives that make sense. So all the surveillance, for now it is keeping us alive and keeping our country intact. Actually, that is more appealing than having our country be destroyed by those who call us infidel.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Big Brother

This is raw. I am scared by the news that our government is spying on us. I knew this day would come, but it doesn't make the realization any easier.

I read 1984 back in the '70s. It was scary back then. Up until the age of the internet and wifi, it was a bit of a joke. Then, as the internet became more prevalent, and technology began surrounding us more and more, the idea of going off the grid became more of a serious option. When I realized that thought, I began to realize how attached I was to the grid, smartphones, laptops, music players make life so handy. As a Google user I would joke with my family how "Google knows all". Some articles indicated that if it didn't already, it was on a path to. Unsettling.

With the advent of smartphones and laptops, there came the ever-present little camera lens, watching you, and the microphone,   listening to you. There were, and still are stories of people who have been spied on through their laptops doing various things. That's why I don't leave my laptop open when I'm not using it. And now, when I am, I sometimes wonder, who can see me? With my Android smartphone near me almost always, I sometimes wonder, who can hear me and see where I am and have been. Some articles give chilling details of what technology can do with those devices.

Wanting to be naive about those things I would tell myself that it could be a random occurrence, like getting a virus. But now, it's different.

People have said it's Bush's fault with those warrentless wiretaps. This is worse than wiretaps, and Bush ain't in charge anymore. Some can even wonder if Obama is in charge. If Bush opened the door with warrentless wiretaps, Obama kicked it down and the whole rest of the federal government charged in. Probably ran Obama over in the process. Seriously, our government has taken a turn for the worse, and at best it is unsettling.

In our TV shows authorities are able to find various surveillance cams to track stolen cars, abductees,  and bad guys, their assistants appear with phone records at the drop of a hat, (TV magic of course). I reference shows like NCIS and Castle. In the action-adventure movies, the good guys and the bad guys do even more incredible things; mess with the infrastructure, traffic lights, utilities, etc. I reference the movie Live Free or Die Hard. One of my favorites has always been Minority Report. I never saw the movie but not I want to. The scene where Tom Cruise's character is running past the billboards and they start talking directly to him, by name. How far are we from that?

Life seems to imitate art. How do we deal with it? Ignore it and pretend it doesn't exist, or be okay with it since "I don't have anything to hide." Think about it, and the ramifications of it, become uncomfortable and then try to ignore it. Some may want to become politically involved, contacting the government, or protesting the government. Increasingly risky propositions. Or, become healthily paranoid. Maybe not tin-foil hat paranoid, but always aware that your devices can and now are being used without your consent by Big Brother.