They’ll Be Watching You   15 comments

It happened almost without our realizing it. How did it start? Who authorized it? How do we get rid of it? Should we get rid of it?

I’m talking about the Surveillance State or, as I like to call it, institutional stalking. So are my fellow authors on the Open Book Blog Hop. Check out what Kelli Williams has to say on her blog and while you’re at it, maybe pick up a great book to read.

We’re interested in your opinion as well, so if you want to join us for the blog hop, click the links below.

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So, first, “nanny” spying. It wasn’t an option when my kids were little, so I had to rely on this quaint old-fashioned value called trust. Before I left my kids with someone, I got to know them a bit, so that I came to trust them with these precious humans. I turned down some people I knew pretty well because something in my gut said “No.” If I’d had a camera, maybe I wouldn’t have done that and I don’t think that would necessarily have been a good thing. I’m not sure our world is improved by the lack of trust and, generally, these nanny cams seem to mostly end the owners’ marriages, which makes me wonder who it is the installers are not trusting.

I used to work for a mental health agency that hired a paranoid supervisor who installed cameras in the residences to spy on the workers. They were absolutely no good for catching the client who murdered our coworker because they were all in the office focused on the workers. I was asked once to go through the tapes. What did I find?

Nothing! My coworkers were boring. They did their jobs. I learned that I am not a stalker at nature and that I have no desire to ever waste a day going through surveillance tapes again. Ever! I also solidified a vague feeling that I had that I don’t like this technology.

Ah, but these cameras and other surveillance catch criminals and terrorists! Do they?

Most Americans are deeply suspicious when government tells us that we should trust it with our privacy because “they” know what is best for us. That’s what the Obama administration tries to tell us as deep in the Utah desert, the National Security Agency (NSA) has built a $1.5 billion complex to collect and analyze data from the Internet. This complex quite literally could withstand a nuclear war, so our petty protests mean nothing to it.

Yeah, yeah, yeah — the Patriot Act is no more … but that didn’t stop the stalking. Stalkers don’t stop when you tell them to because they don’t care about you. And all of the changes in law will not affect their behavior.

To a certain extent, some of this is our own fault. We all give up a great deal of privacy whenever we choose to go out on the Net. Google keeps massive amounts of data on all of us and a good many of us have voluntarily allowed Facebook and other social media sites to pretty much track our every movement.

For the record, I might tell you I live in Fairbanks, Alaska, but I have my location blocked because it’s nobody’s business where I am at any given moment. Not Google’s … or Amazon’s … or the NSA’s. I may never fire a shot in a bloody revolution, but I will exercise my liberty to the fullest extent that I can within my capabilities of doing so. Every time Google or Facebook or whatever says “Let us know your location so we can serve you better”, I click the box that says “Block location”. I don’t have a GPS on my car or my cell phone. Nobody needs to know where I am!

Big Brother is watching you and just because it’s the government does not make it any less creepy than any other stalker. Just because Facebook asks permission does not mean you should comply. If a flesh-and-blood stalker asked you for permission to stalk you, would you say “since you asked, oh, sure”? I doubt it. So why do you allow these companies to do it?

Where I believe the surveillance state should exist is exactly where it hasn’t existed. Body cameras on cops and government officials would get my vote. They’re our employees and besides, if they want to watch everything we do, why shouldn’t we return the favor? It might curb their tendency to shoot unarmed civilians and generally tyrannize any citizen they come in contact with. Of course, some government officials may struggle with paying their bills when they can no longer take bribes. And, yes, I would stick body cameras on Senators and Presidents, make them wear them 24/7 and make the footage available to the public online. Fair is fair and they are ALL our government employees. If they want their privacy, they don’t have to take the job. I’m giving them far more choice in the matter than they have given us.

This philosophy undergirds much of my book Life As We Knew It and the series Transformation Project. The surveillance state is all over the book to where my main character even asks “Is there really anything resembling privacy anymore?” He is told that, no, there really isn’t.

And THEN terrorists blow up the world.

OP-DEC: Operation DeceitNo, I don’t believe the surveillance state keeps us safe. There are cameras everywhere in the United States and Europe and it didn’t stop the Boston Bombing or the Paris terrorist attacks. The invasion of privacy hasn’t stopped school shootings or mall mayhem. About all it does do is make it easier for law enforcement to issue speeding tickets. Maybe if the cameras were turned on the officials instead of the people, they would be effective. Otherwise … nope!

But wait! The day of drones is coming and that will just facilitate easier spying on we the people. So … what do we do about it?

No, that’s a question. What do you think we can do about it? Or do you think it’s a good idea to allow the government and Amazon to stalk our every move? Maybe you can convince me I’m wrong. Feel free to share. All opinions are welcome.

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15 responses to “They’ll Be Watching You

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  1. The day is coming soon when the skies will be permanently full of drones. We won’t even be able to walk to the garden gate without being caught on camera.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Here in Alaska, there are Constitutional requirements for privacy so much greater than that of the federal Constitution, that there are no traffic cameras allowed. The City of Anchorage tried to install them 20 years ago and the state Supreme Court said “No way!” DOT, my employer, installs them for traffic control, but there’s no film connected to them and they can’t transmit images. All they do is sense traffic. People call us all the time asking if we have video footage so they can argue tickets or get the real dope on an accident. We have no video.

      But … we’re a primary testing site for drones, which require cameras to function. So I can see the arguments in the future. If you want Amazon to deliver your package, you have to permit camera drones, which will transmit images, which will be stored. Pretty soon, Big Brother is tracking us and we agreed to it so we could get our purchases faster. We’ll debate it for a week and then opt for those faster deliveries. Privacy be damned!

      Liked by 1 person

      • No traffic cameras? Goodness me, I think I want to move to Alaska!

        Liked by 1 person

      • You’re welcome to come visit anytime, Stevie.

        Like

      • Unfortunately, we have drones and plenty of them. Alaska was one of a handful of places the FAA authorized to test drones. Drone require cameras, so … It’s a “neat” way to get around the law. The military bases here have argued for more surveillance and we keep saying no, but people get really stupid when they’re waiting on their Amazon shipment, so the military will just file a FISA subpoena for the drone footage and … viola, no more constitutionally-protected privacy.

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  2. Reblogged this on aurorawatcherak.

    Like

  3. The Bush Administration created the Patriot Act, not Obama. They also made billions off the military industrial complex they built the Iraq war for. That said, surveillance and a bunch of other things are distractions keeping us fighting while the 1% takes everything and 99% kill each other off. Cameras don’t help or hinder that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, Congress created the Patriot Act. The Bush administration executed it and the Obama administration expanded it and is continuing to expand the surveillance state under a new law that pretty much does the same thing. A tyranny by any other name strangles just as well. There’s no one particularly blameless on that score.

      There are any number of problems affecting the United States and the world in general. We can strangle the vitality right out of the economy by trying to make everyone equal and at the same time also take away everyone freedom to live as they choose. And when we’re done with revisiting the social experiments that failed in the Soviet Union and China, we can regret failing to learn from history and thus repeating it.

      Of course, while we’re regretting it, our children will be living in poverty under subjugation, so I’d rather not repeat the mistakes of the past and try something different … like economic freedom and liberty. It’s been a while since we’ve done that … long enough that nobody living still actually remembers what it was like.

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  4. 1984 is here and gone far beyond what even Orwell thought

    Liked by 2 people

  5. And watch out for Windows 10! If you don’t change a LOT of settings, information on what you’re doing on the computer goes right to Microsoft. (So they can—AHEM—”improve your computing experience.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep. We first encountered that with my husband’s tablet, which is Windows Jellybean. My son and I spent all of one evening going through it until it started demanding that we let it broadcast a location.

      Windows 10 was not as difficult, maybe because we’d done it before or maybe because Microsoft knew from the Jellybean experience that people object to being tracked.

      Like

  6. I literally clapped when you said there should be body cams on the police. I feel the same way! I have respect for what they go through on a daily basis but I’d feel a lot safer knowing that “my word against theirs” wouldn’t be an issue in case something happened to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know people who have been assaulted by police officers because, they claim, they had the audacity to refuse to allow a search of their vehicle, which is completely legal if you’re pulled over for a simple traffic stop. Cops can ask and gain voluntary access to your vehicle, but you don’t have to give them access just because you ask. But these folks found themselves physically assaulted and then arrested for failure to cooperate. In the one case where the guy had the presence of mind to hit “record” on his cell phone, his lawyer was able to present it at trial and he got off. He didn’t resist arrest, he didn’t threaten the officer. He simply said he didn’t consent to a search. Body cameras would take that form of abuse away from police officers and that would be a good thing.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Reblogged this on Nevada State Personnel Watch.

    Liked by 1 person

    agent provocateur

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