Archive for the ‘surveillance state’ Tag

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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