With all of the news coming out about how the US government has been spying on its own citizens, maybe George Orwell should have titled his book 2013 and set it in America. We do seem to be steadily getting closer to the sort of country where Big Brother is watching us, for our own protection, of course. Just looking at the headlines at the Drudge Report, we have the NSA tapping into the user information of Apple, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Facebook and others, the Post Office has been photographing mail, the NSA has been intercepting Americans phone calls and e-mail, and who knows what else. It is as if every idiotic conspiracy theory put forward by the tinfoil hat wearers is turning out to be true.
Of course, it is easy to go overboard over all of this. So far, there has been no indication that the government is actually spying on innocent citizens, at least not yet. The programs that have been uncovered do have a legitimate purpose. By having computers sift through billions of pieces of information, intelligence specialists can uncover terrorist plots, sometimes before they are even planned. We like to think that we have free will and we decide our actions, and we do, but our decisions are predictable if you have enough information. Any one working in sales or marketing already knows this. What the government is doing is simply taking the sort of data collection that advertisers do a further step.
The question is though, do we really trust the government with so much information? Can we rely on the people in our government to work for our protection and not use this information for partisan advantage? As the revelations about the IRS’s selective enforcement of the laws against the TEA Party might suggest, perhaps we should not trust them.
Meanwhile, It wouldn’t hurt to remind everyone that what you do on the Internet is never really private. Take it for granted that anything you post on Facebook, tweet on Twitter, or send in an e-mail can become public knowledge. Oh, and not to be paranoid, but you may want to cover up that webcam that came with your laptop. They could be watching you.
- NSA Conspiracy Theories Turn Out To Be Totally Correct (marketfailure.wordpress.com)
- Is Big Data turning government into ‘Big Brother’? (cnsnews.com)
- NSA Whistleblower: The Government Is Still Telling You an ‘Outright Lie’ About Its Spying Programs (theblaze.com)
- Is Big Data turning government into ‘Big Brother?’ (wtvm.com)
- Barack Obama, Meet George Orwell – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
- Big Brother is here, and his name is PRISM (gizmag.com)
- The US Government, Private User Data and Tech Companies (mikedudas.com)
- “Big Brother” On A Scale Even Orwell Never Imagined Is Already Upon Us (youviewed.com)