Written by: Michael D. Jacobsen
Staff writer at Fighting the Tyranny
It was a book that was supposed to warn us of the danger of allowing our government to grow too big. To advise us of allowing ourselves to be tracked and spied upon at every turn. To let us know the dire consequences of allowing it to happen if left unimpeded from the people. In short, it was a warning. Yet, we ignored it.
Not only have we allowed it to happen, but we make jokes about it to mask just how easily we allowed it to pass. You can’t tell me you have not heard at least a dozen jokes about the NSA listening to what you are saying. At least half a dozen about the TSA, my personal favorite is the shirt that has a person touching another’s genitals with the caption. It isn’t gay if its TSA. We have decided to make a joke of it rather than to confront that we passively rolled over and allowed it to happen. All while trying to delude ourselves into thinking that we have not.
If you do not believe me, please make sure your cell phone is right next to you so Big Brother can listen as you exclaim that you have not given in. I am sure that as they are listening to you through its microphone. They could use a good laugh at your expense.
I am not above doing the same things as you are, and while I keep my cell phone in another room when I talk to people who visit, just for that reason I have mentioned, I still have my computer in another room, with its microphone ready to go. Between the two of them, I am still rather sure my conversation is not private. When I travel, I make sure my phone is in my pocket in case of emergency, while I also know that my every move is being tracked. It is like being in a cage-free farm, and we all are all the complacent sheep.
We were warned by Snowden and Assange about just how much is being collected on us. Ron Paul famously warned us against the massive surveillance system our government had at its disposal and how horrible it would be to allow bills like the PATRIOT Act to pass, but pass it did, and while Ron kept telling us about it, most of us did nothing. His son continues to warn us about our government spying on us, but the idea of dismantling our government spying operation is even more far-fetched now than when his father warned us back then.
It is not only our phones and computers, but now people have welcomed overt eavesdropping devices into their homes. We have all seen the TV advertisements for Amazon Echo or Alexa, even Google Home. While they provide a small benefit to people in making their lives slightly more accessible, it is done so while ensuring that everything we do in our homes can be broadcast to whatever agency that wants to collect that information, they do not even try to hide it. Of course, you will read a newspaper article reassuring you that this is not the case. After all, you need to be kept sleeping to be compliant. Yet there are more and more reports coming out that these devices listen to everything and in many cases, keep track of it. And yet people welcome this in their homes.
Many of us document our everyday lives on Facebook, we allow it to share our information with others(including the intelligence agencies), and we give it many details while doing so. People continuously take new pictures of themselves and place it on Facebook for all to see. Trust me the NSA thanks you for your selfie, if they need anything they will know who they are looking for. You check in to various locations on Facebook, making it all the more easy to create a pattern of where you go every day. Again, I am guilty also, while I do not post many pictures, I do on occasion update my profile pic. Chances are a lot of you are reading this article because I shared it on Facebook.
We send private photographs on our phones, thinking that we can trust the person we are sending them to. Yet, people seem to fail to realize that they are captured and stored by the NSA. As Edward Snowden revealed, these sometimes racy photos were not only intercepted but shared between people in the NSA.
Not only has surveillance increased in our homes but in public as well. Police have cars that just go out to scan license plates. Most major cities now have some form of a city-wide camera system, which is monitored 24/7. If our government cannot collect enough information from our personal devices to track us, then the addition of multiple city-wide scanning systems helps to keep them informed of our movements. This is usually paid for with revenue taken from us in city and state taxes, and yet we still remain silent.
We know all of this, and yet we still allow more and more invasive technology to come past our front door and into our cities. And we are happy with it. Not only are we bringing eavesdropping devices into our homes but now even our cars are becoming portable tracking devices, with tools like sync we need not also bring our phones with us to be tracked. George Orwell would be turning in his grave if he knew what we have allowed our country to become. But perhaps that is why he wrote 1984, not as a warning but a vision based on the growing compliance of the citizens of this country.
So after reading all this, you are probably asking, “Well, what can I do about all of this?” That is a good question. And the answer is a bit harder than you would think. The first is to remind people why we make those jokes I initially mentioned. While funny, they are very serious, and people need to be directly told that yes, we are being spied upon. We are being monitored, and yes, we should be damn angry about it. As always, we should make the issue of citizen spying a vital issue for the election, not just something that certain politicians might preach while the rest ignore. I hope to write a follow-up article in which I will go more into detail about the steps you can take to protect your privacy.
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