Big Brother is already here
By Guest Writer for End the Lie
I see a lot of articles about the massive growth of surveillance and loss of privacy. The authors of the articles often say they’re concerned that a “big brother” society might be the result of it.
Might? You can absolutely count on it! If you’re a betting person you can bet big and win big, if you can find anyone gullible enough to take your bet, that is.
Technology gives authorities more power and I think we all know authorities love power. That’s why they’re authorities. People in positions of authority have more privileges and perks than the rest of us. From some Barney Fife-type right up to the president, people who get power like it. They want to keep it, and they want more of it. And that is precisely what technology does.
Take the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents for example. One day they are unemployed, then they answer an ad on a pizza box and almost overnight they have real authority, real power, and they can instantly turn your life into a nightmare.
If one of those minimally trained rookies singles you out as suspicious because of something they thought they felt when they groped you, or a shadow they thought they saw in your x-ray, the full weight of the legal system can come down on you immediately – including handcuffs, strip searches, and detention.
So in essence, everyone in the chain of authority is your master, no matter how low their official rank may be, because they can cause armed police to appear and take you away. People with very little training, no knowledge of the law, and no actual police experience now have enormous power over all of us. To make matters worse, the TSA is expanding its operations.
George Orwell, author of the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, wasn’t clairvoyant, he was just wide awake. He could see technology advancing, and being keenly aware of human nature, he knew what was coming. And it is.
Already the majority of citizens who are “plugged in,” that is connected to the various electronic grids through cell phones, computers, credit cards, etc., can be quickly traced – legally or not – to their current location within a few paces by anyone having some auspice of authority. That in turn can be used to predict future movements and can linked to databases housing the person’s entire life history, which includes their friends and family.
Everything you’ve ever done, said, purchased, or showed the slightest interest in is being recorded somewhere. Naturally there are almost certainly going to be lots of mistakes in the data.
Those of you who naively think they have “nothing to hide” should remember this:
“Under any condition, anywhere, whatever you are doing, there is some ordinance under which you can be booked.” – Robert D Sprecht, Rand Corporation.
It’s the people who think they have nothing to hide that are in for the biggest shock. Everyone has something they want to keep private if they just think about it. Everyone.
Privacy is all that stands between the average citizen and prison, and that’s why technology’s threats to our privacy are so serious and why we should all be a whole lot more than just concerned.
People can quote the Constitution as much as they want but the snooping by government and private industry will still keep growing. It’s as certain as the perpetual wars for resources. There’s just no way anyone is going to stop the surveillance trend.
The technology has arrived and the authorities have always wanted to protect their status and corral the citizens. What better way than to spy on everyone constantly – to run us all through turnstiles of one kind or another, check our ID, measure our stress, grope us and x-ray us, scan our retinas, take our fingerprints, tag and stamp us all like cattle and sheep.
“The NSS [National Security State] is an instrument of class warfare, organized and designed to permit an elite, local and multinational, to operate without any constraint from democratic processes. This allows the bulk of the population to be treated as a mere cost of production.” – Edward Herman, economist and author of The Real Terror Network.
And that’s what it’s all about. It has never been about security for the country, it’s about security for those in charge, the rulers and authorities.
They like their privileges and their roles. They want to keep them and they don’t want any pesky citizens challenging them. Our “superiors” hate to be questioned or challenged. They loathe it. It forces them to either back down, and lose the respect of their peers and maybe lose their jobs, or to punish you in some way. Guess which course they will usually choose.
To authorities, rebellion is a much greater crime than simple law-breaking. Challenging authority – insubordination – is one of the worst crimes of all. Any authority that doesn’t immediately put you in your place risks losing his or her authority.
“The function of any security checkpoint is to show who’s boss.” – Richard Ben Cramer
Every day I read of more advancements in surveillance technology and at the same time I read of more abuses by the police like heavily armed SWAT teams sent to enforce minor violations and ending up shooting people. On top of that they often have the wrong address or they conduct the raid on clearly false pretenses. You see, power begets more power, and more power begets more abuses of power. The two things are inseparable and create a kind of feedback loop.
George Orwell merely saw the obvious
The future of surveillance is very easy to predict because human nature is so predictable. Authorities like power and more surveillance means more power for them. More surveillance means more income for the companies that build it. More surveillance means more jobs for people who maintain and enforce it – technicians and private police forces. And because of the poor economy there’s a huge labor market from which to choose workers and guards for our prisons. Let’s not forget, prisons are now a source of cheap labor for big industries as well.
So being concerned only over the growing surveillance and policing is like being only concerned about the flames shooting from under the dashboard of your car, or being only concerned about the swarm of carpenter ants emerging from your kitchen cabinets.
You can absolutely count on surveillance growing and becoming more intrusive, and you can count on big industries and government being in charge and promoting it more and more. And of course the people who control the surveillance technology also control police forces.
The ultimate goal of cell phones, smart meters, biometrics, GPS, the internet, etc. is to connect everyone to a common electronic grid so that everything we do and everywhere we go can be monitored if some authority somewhere chooses to do so.
What appears to most people to be clever inventions and conveniences are likely to be the instruments of our captivity. The authorities, whether it is governments, corporations, or a mixture of both, will have us all on a very short leash.
Who are the authorities? Who might be in control of all this security? Smart, dedicated professionals obsessed with fairness, accuracy, and protecting civil liberties? I think we already know the answer to that question.
I’ve been trying to be optimistic but the tide is increasingly apparent; there is little the public can do to completely stop the growth of the police state. Do nothing, and it grows. Fight back, and that will be used as an excuse to expand it as well.
We can only hope that there is sufficient independent spirit left in people to quietly resist and undermine the apparatus enough that it might fail because of maintenance costs, as some of the red-light cameras have.
With virtually every article I’ve seen on this topic, there has been people who have commented “privacy is dead, get over it,” or words to that effect. I’m not exactly sure what to do, but I am certain that denial, complacency, and meek submission won’t help.
There’s an old proverb that says, “A fool and his money are soon parted.” Well the same goes for a fool and his freedom. Privacy is part of freedom and when you lose one you’ve lost the other. Free people must resist the constant intrusion into our private lives by faceless bureaucrats and corporate profiteers as much as possible. Without resistance nothing can possibly get better, only worse. And there’s no bottom to worse.
For a vivid glimpse into the very near future I strongly recommend the Masterpiece Theater series, “The Last Enemy.” It’s well done and entertaining but it’s also an unsettling look at things to come.
The Last Enemy (one minute preview)
“About 90% of Americans are walking around with a portable tracking device all the time, and they have no idea.” – Christopher Calabrese, lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union’s Washington office, “What Your Cell Phone Could Be Telling the Government,” By Adam Cohen, 2010
“I can tell you that everybody that attended an Occupy Wall Street protest, and didn’t turn their cell phone off – and sometimes even if they did – the identity of that cell phone has been logged, and everybody who was at that demonstration, whether they were arrested, not arrested, whether their photos were ID’d, whether an informant pointed them out, it’s known they were there anyway. This is routine.” – Privacy SOS
“The most common characteristic of all police states is intimidation by surveillance. Citizens know they are being watched and overheard. Their mail is being examined. Their homes can be invaded.” – Vance Packard, American journalist
“Every object the individual uses, every transaction they make and almost everywhere they go will create a detailed digital record. This will generate a wealth of information for public security organizations, and create huge opportunities for more effective and productive public security efforts.” – EU Council Presidency paper
“The technotronic era involves the gradual appearance of a more controlled society. Such a society would be dominated by an elite, unrestrained by traditional values. Soon it will be possible to assert almost continuous surveillance over every citizen and maintain up-to-date complete files containing even the most personal information about the citizen. These files will be subject to instantaneous retrieval by the authorities.” – Zbigniew Brzezinski, United States National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter from 1977 to 1981, and adviser to every administration since
“If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.” – James Madison, 4th President of the United States; member of the Continental Congress; helped frame the Bill of Rights
Edited by Madison Ruppert
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