The recent flak over spying on American citizens without their knowledge and trying to understand the legal ramifications of using drones to kill American citizens in foreign countries suspected of terrorism has America talking. Regardless of your political leanings toward privacy or about being targeted abroad, preserving and protecting our rights of privacy and freedom has never required more public vigilance than it does now. Sadly however, we give away more information for free, than we ever could in the past, and we do it everyday knowingly and willingly with a smile on our face as fast as out fingers can type!
Andy Warhol in 1968 predicted that in the future, everyone would get fifteen minutes of fame. Little did he know the Internet would come along and expand that fifteen minutes into an eternity! Not convinced? Then check out the silliest or perhaps dumbest of your friends web page, twitter postings or Facebook pages! That page and those postings are going to be in cyberspace forever! Few realize or at this point seem to care that once that photo is tagged it is automatically plastered on similar sites and in servers around the world. Thus creating a world where those fifteen minutes of fleeting fame can become eternity and accessable to anyone.
Thus all the fuss as of late regarding keeping pieces of our lives actually private might really be all for nothing. Granted no one wants financial information publicly displayed, but in the computer age, we have all learned that people with nefarious ideas and plans can hack just about anything they want to. Given the fact we often use ATM’s, do our banking online, and order things we want on unsecure computers with our credit cards keeping private information of any sort private is getting harder and harder. Yet we are the first to cry foul, when we find out the the government is the one looking at our information rather than a corporation willing to give us twenty percent off if we give them our e-mail addresses!!
Who’s gathering the information, be it the free info we give away every day or the private we try to keep to ourselves makes a lot of difference to most Americans. While the Snowdens and Julian Assuages face lengthy jail terms over information they have released regarding the way and manner government tracs us, we wonder who is privy to that informaion and how are we protected from its release? Will it all be for sale someday?
In an age where anyone can become unhappy with their government and take what they define as necessary actions against innocent people, the governments excuse that everyone is guilty until they prove it so is just another erosion of our rights as Amerincans. The idea that we are all innocent until proven guilty cannot be tossed to the wayside the way we do the latest I-phone once a new one hits the market. We are a nation of freedoms guaranteed by a constitution and supported and enforced by laws based on precedence and need. To blanketly consider all guilty as justification for spying is wrong. Privacy exists as a basic tenant of our freedom, and without it we are no better or freer than those we stand against!
In the early days of mass communication all across America, everyone who used a phone talked on what was called a party line. Each person on the line had their own private ring, and when called answered appropriately. It was very easy for someone not part of the conversation to listen in, and in many instances, they did just that. While we seem to have grown leaps bounds from those days of open mike phone conversations so to speak, apparently the need to listen in remains just as much of a temptation as it did in the 1950’s. This time however, it’s a bit more serious than ever!