I’m walking around laughing at the gigantic fuss, furor, and scandal over the latest invasion of our privacy. I think this months villain is Microsoft. Last month it was someone else. Government? Corporations? Amazon? Google? They are all spying on us. You knew that, right?
So last night, when we were nicely tucked into the most comfortable bed in the world, I said to Garry:
“Can you think of any government anywhere, or any time in the history of humankind, during which governments have not spied on their citizens or subjects?”
He honored me with a thoughtful few seconds before answering … or maybe he was just twiddling with the remote control.
“I think the way it works is this. First, we invent heads of state. Kings, presidents, emperors, whatever. Next, they invent a secret police so they can keep on being the head of state. The only thing that seems to change is the technology. And the quality of the dungeons.”
“I think it’s a mistake to try and monitor all those emails and phone calls. I mean, they are just going to be buried under data. Lots of jabbering kids yakking with friends, people arguing with customer support, and boring conversations by people like us. We never say anything interesting on the phone. We hardly talk on the phone at all. Our email is pretty dull too.
Americans have an ongoing need to be outraged about something. We require a constant level of civic hysteria, maybe to keep from being boring. Scandal keeps ratings up and gives talk show hosts something to joke about. It gives liberals and conservatives something to accuse each other of doing, even though every administration has done pretty much the same stuff and always will.
I’m wondering how long this is going to stay on top of the news. It has been years … at least five so far and I see no end to it. Apparently it never gets old.
Nothing will change. Governments spy on citizens. Citizens are outraged. The outrage is ignored. Eventually, everyone moves on — until it pops up again.
I’m having trouble getting myself worked up over this.
I remember Richard Nixon. I even remember J. Edgar Hoover. I’ve read history. I know traffic cameras track us. If anyone is looking for me — or you — I’m sure they’ll have no trouble finding us.
My government spies on me. Corporations spy on me. Everyone collects my personal information and uses without my permission. That’s the price I pay for being connected and computerized.
They were spying on us during the 1960s, albeit less efficiently. They were spying on my parents and their friends in the 50s and 40s.
Obama didn’t start this. Bush didn’t start it. FDR didn’t start it. Abraham Lincoln didn’t start it. It’s been going on as long as there have been governments and it will never end.