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America gets up in arms when it’s privacy issues are at stake. How dare you know that about me! However when someone slips through our net and blows up a building or car, they exclaim, how did you not catch him in time?
Soon to be announced if not already out there, is our nation’s now no longer classified Trap Wire System. In the reports of its inception this package was held up as the ultimate surveillance tool. Cameras across the country would capture data from cities, highways, tolls, parks, public arenas, and everywhere else there is a camera, encrypt the data, then send it to a central point where it gets incorporated with all other data already compiled on every citizen. That data including public on line events such as dating services, chat rooms, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, as well as corporate files, employee rosters, and the vast cesspool of corporate data gleaned each and every time you use your credit card.
On every adult citizen, a computer can spit out a file of facts that even that citizen doesn’t know… The computing power is unparalleled. You are sitting at the stoplight, and for no reason a camera goes off, you think weird, no one tripped it. and instantly your face has been identified, your file pulled, and a program knows you buy Colgate toothpaste 39% of the time. And it knows you are on Zoloft. Your credit score is 593. And you are cheating on your spouse of 27 years with a 19 year old who gets something from Victoria Secret every month…..
A song comes on the radio and your mind jumps to it and you go on never thinking of that random event again…….
Of course there is the other side of the story. You pull up to the light right beside the dufus mentioned above. The same thing happens. You wonder too. Your picture triggers an alarm because your image was last seen in the lower Philippines having been traced there from Manila before paying for the boarding of a private boat off Gov. Lim Ave, then going dark 18 months ago. The alarm is because you were once an acquaintance on the third level of a Detroit sheik who propagated militancy. The file shows you worked with explosives on construction sites, you were terminated at one time being blamed for some missing C4. You denied you had anything to do with it. The camera notes that your car is low in back, and alerts other cameras on the route your are traveling that you will soon be entering their view. Your facebook page shows you liked Iran and support Assad of Syria. Your high school psychological profile says you were quiet and brooding. Your license plate is registered to a car reportedly at the gas station on Rt.273 undergoing lengthy repairs. You are unmarried. You don’t date, and your credit card has a large cash balance, yet you spend very little and that is only on food, gas, and a furnished apartment in Christiana Meadows. As you drive by a transponder, your new phone signal gets captured, and all your calls are now being pulled up. You spoke with a person of high interest, 2 times this morning, for a length of one minute each. Your visage is updated to all local cameras and all transportation portals, and put at the top of each face recognition program. Someone is dispatched to scout your apartment.
You see. That is the dilemma. We enjoy our safety, and abhor our loss of privacy.
If you haven’t noticed already, on your emails sometimes you have these buried within the routing: Abraxas and the others you see will say, Stratfor…. Bloggers are very used to seeing these on a rather regular basis. They are everywhere across the net.
One thing noticeable during the Olympics was that the Brits live this way all the time. They are used to it and prefer the cameras and intrusive software over a coordinated attack on their trains. And no one can blame them. But what the Brits have, and we don’t, is a set of rules regarding this capturing of information. If someone violates this code as did Murdoch, then the ramifications are severe; perhaps bringing down an entire corporate empire. The CEO, Vice President, and quite a few others all charged with illegal actions.
And that is the lesson we need to take. Accept the surveillance but know that if anyone, anyone breaks the code of privacy… you are going to be filthy rich for the rest of your entire life at their or their employer’s expense…. For if that is truly the case, going back to the original story up top, if you got busted for your too hot to fail 19 year old lover, and lost your spouse, for $83 million, you really wouldn’t mind too much… My bet? You would see it as a blessing in disguise. And if you still loved your spouse, don’t worry. When you are worth $83 million, she won’t go far.
This has to become the future of surveillance. Here is why.
I’ll use Facebook as an example. I can always tell when one a friend has to hand over their password to their employer. Whereas they used to be so lively, responsive, and fun, they suddenly stop posting anything showing their personality. Their presence on line becomes reduced to “look at my kid”; “here is my dog”. Whereas you used to be able to talk to them about their spouse, their parents, how they were feeling, how they liked their job, how they were doing in the lover department, how their head was, what hopes and dreams they possessed, how drunk they got, suddenly their presence is as chilled as someone passing Checkpoint Charlie in the 60′s. There is a rigidity that they must conform to. There is a corporate mentality that they must express, and most deal with it by staying silent.
That is not what America is about. America is about freedom, about life…. about liberty….. and about the pursuit of happiness…… What once was open air on the internet is now poisoned with carbon particles, so much so that it is hard to breathe.
We can’t lose our nation’s fun-loving identity. And we can’t stop protecting ourselves by our newer and newer technology. So, what we can do (and we can easily do this), is not to constrain the surveillance, but penalize any misuse of the data that gets captured.
And make the punitive damages so huge, so grand, so big, that American citizens will actually enjoy having their privacy breached when it comes time for the judge to make the monetary judgment. Which means we need to rethink all things private, and that includes the intrusiveness of the press into private lives…
I’m always saddened when someone suffers because of something got out of control on their social media, and everyone gangs up on line, saying, “well, you shouldn’t have put it on the internet.”
Really? REALLY? A person should never have a light moment with an acquaintance, one of those few joyous moments we as people treasure forever, because someone they don’t know, someone they never met, might hack into their account, and spread it across the world?
That is ridiculous. The internet IS us. If we want a fun moment, we have the right to exercise it.. Back when I was growing up, laws were passed and on the books to control the positions that went on within the bedroom. That has fortunately faded away into being ridiculous. The same needs to happen on the internet. And the easiest way, the simplest way, is to have huge, gigantic fines, ones that are so big they will bankrupt anyone, and everyone who breaches another’s privacy.
So what if some entity knows you use Colgate 39% of the time. If no one else ever knows that they know it, as far as impacting anything in the real world, their knowledge of that minutia, doesn’t matter.
We need to start the process. We first announce the problem; we offer a solution; we educate the public; we elect responsible legislators, we pressure responsible legislators, we get legislation signed, and then, we relax and really enjoy the rest of our lives.
It is past time that our personal privacy be now given a price tag that is equal to what it is worth. Something in the range of tens of millions comes to mind….. Hell, you can get $90 million for spilling hot coffee in your lap…..
This is a guessing game. It’s supposed to be fun. You do the guessing. I’ll reveal the answer at some point in the future. Bottom line, I am interested in how this plays out. (To keep answers out of moderation, no links please.) You may use the categories above for some helpful hints, but knowing me, don’t expect to find the answer that easily.)
1) Foreign policy/defense: I want American imperialism rolled back and American interventionism halted, as the same time we begin to pull free from the military/industrial complex by slashing the budgets for defense and homeland security to reasonable levels.
2) Civil libertarian issues: I want to see gay marriage legalized; drugs decriminalized; Real ID abolished; the Patriot Act gutted; and immigrants viewed as human beings. I want intrusive government the hell out of my life.
3) Fiscal sanity: I want a government that stops growing and taking an ever-expanding bite out of my paycheck; I want to see wasteful programs cut, and to have Congress faced with the same sort of imperative the Delaware General Assembly had to face this year: balancing the budget.
I thought it was a fluke. But two times in one day. It is like watching a losing team make two unanswered baskets in a row…….perhaps there is hope……
I first heard in on Allen Loudell’s interview during the evening commute. In what must be the second most original question ever asked of Mike, it went something like this…..
“If you woke up and we had bombed Iran…..and were at war…..would you still support the Bush administration?” And the answer he got, with all the double speak and twist and turns, was “no.” That would be the last straw.
Not to put words in Mike’s mouth, but the implication I got, correct me if I am wrong, is that if irrationality were to strike the White House so hard as to bomb Iran, we could count on Mike’s vote to impeach…….
The second sign of Mike’s split, was culled from what no doubt will be forever called the “splooooge” article by Jason at Delaware Liberal. In that amazing piece of work, Mike had this gem to say.
“I have long disagreed with the way this administration has misjudged the crucial diplomatic aspect of this conflict,” he said.”
I have to back Jason up when he says “then show us the votes, Mikey.” Saying one thing to a Rotary Club is one thing; going on record as bucking this administration by tubing the legislation they wanted, by voting against it, is what we are paying him to do. He hasn’t done it.
But as I said, he is down 30 points at the half…..It’s time he goes into a full court press against the Bush administration , if he wants any hope of pulling a win out of 08.
Let’s hope these two baskets are the start of a streak……….
One small thing that happened this past year but had great consequences over local politics, was the eradication of Hannity from WDEL and the instillation of 1) an additional hour of local issue talk radio under Fulcher, and 2) what may be called a radio news magazine, under the responsibility of Allen Loudell. I , for one, have changed my priorities during the afternoon commute. (It became official when I set all my car’s am settings to one station.) Instead of listening to new musicians trying to break out, I stay tuned to new information, trying to break in……
But what has most impressed me, is how much the political landscape has changed.
Talk radio used to be a cliche for right wing ranting. Today it is the bloggers right arm in holding our officials accountable. Biden, Carper, and Castle have all had to answer questions bounced back and forth between the blogs, on live air. Also there has been a steady blend of blogging and guest appearances between the two mediums. I have been lucky of late, to have caught interactions between officials, and fellow bloggers, while they are happening live on this radio station. Not only is it informative, but entertaining. (No wonder the right wing became addicted to it……).
Media is often criticized for being one way. The studio beams itself into our little world, and we never project back. It is exciting that the symbiosis that has taken place here in Delaware, gives citizens a way of pushing back. The evolution has been subtle, and only by the comparison between last year and this, can one appreciate just how much, removing Hannity from the “big station’ has changed the local mix.
Today there is much more accountability. Officials who often worked in a vacuum, whether in the capacity of serving the city, the county, or the state, now may have their actions illuminated, analyzed, and disparaged over the airwaves for all to hear. The combination of blogger sleuthing, and the ability of talk radio able to get guests to respond live to questions, has brought some degree of accountability to this states officials.
Both the News Journal and Comcast Newsmakers, seem to cater to the persons being interviewed. In those mediums, glossy and shallow answers are allowed. That is so not so with talk radio……
The change with Hannity was a small thing, but it seems to have made a big difference. Hat’s off to those individuals with backbone who were responsible for making that move……………………..
Based on what was heard before the House Armed Services Committee, our now famous embassy in Baghdad was built with slave labor.
“Mr. Chairman, when the airplane took off and the captain announced that we were heading to Baghdad, all you-know-what broke out on the airplane. The men started shouting, it wasn’t until the security guy working for First Kuwaiti waved an MP5 in the air that the men settled down. They realized that they had no other choice but to go to Baghdad. Let me spell it out clearly: I believe these men were kidnapped by First Kuwaiti to work at the US Embassy… I’ve read the State Department Inspector General’s report on the construction of the embassy. Mr. Chairman, it’s not worth the paper it’s printed on. This is a cover-up and I’m glad that I’ve had the opportunity to set the record straight.”
That was before Waxman’s committee on oversight of the building of the new US embassy in Baghdad. These men thought they had signed up to work at Dubai hotels. One man said he was excited to began work as a telephone repairman in Dubai. Once landed in Baghdad, they were loaded onto buses and smuggled past American security into the Green Zone. Whereas Americans lived one person per trailer, they lived 25 to 30 to a trailer. They worked on scaffolding without shoes or harnesses, and they could not leave….While there, six or some scaled the wall of the Green Zone. Why? They wanted to find better work. 1st Kuwaiti sent security out to find them, found them and brought them back to the compound. They were told that they were property of 1st Kuwaiti and could not be employed by any other construction firm……..
Understandably this is delegation in the Third World. Understandably it is abrogation. “We do not have to concern ourselves with that…..let 1st Kuwaiti do it.” We gave up our oversight. It wasn’t us; it was our hired help.
But more shocking was the reaction of the 2 Republican congressmen, from Va and Ca. Obviously they were under Cheney’s orders to shore up the failing defenses. They accused the whistle blowers of perfidy and treason. They were however totally unconcerned over human rights abuses. From their questioning all could see that they were solely concerned that Republicans were going to get blamed for this fiasco. You are damned right they are.
Watching them pounce all over the witnesses, churned my stomach like watching maggots swarm over a dead fish. Even had they just briefly shown an appearance of shock or outrage, that would at least offset their complicity in such actions. But no, they were unrepentant. They cared not that our country paid for the kidnapping of employees to build our embassy. They badgered the witnesses who fortunately, because of another court case, could retreat behind the statement “I am not legally permitted to answer that question.”
These poor Americans, shocked that the America they saw abroad, was not the same America about which they were taught in school, stood up and tried to do something patriotic. What was the result? The exposure to all the world, that the America represented by republicans in Washington DC, is also not the same America we learned about in schools.
“In essence, you Republicans are saying that it is ok for the United States, to be an enabler in the trafficking of human beings.”
And to think,…. our favorite son, Delaware’s lone Congressman, a republican, is one of them………..
Time for a change?
Recently in Delaware, a well know auto parts company did a comparative study and decided that Delaware was ripe for expansion. The acquisition costs were low, taxes low, and competition was archaic and outdated. They received the required financing and moved in.
They built a new store every 120 days. Gradually they had received all but the most loyal of its competitor’s regulars. They began to set the standards of how business could be run. Were one to write a textbook on how to succeed in acquiring a new market, they would have been the most quoted source. Comparatively their service times per transaction were faster, their customer satisfaction results the highest, and their return to the bottom line was better than those same company’s stores in other states.
Every opportunity was met with success. Investors as well as customers were happy they had moved in.
Then, almost inexplicably, the upper management decided to buy a local strip club that was up for sale. They tackled the purchase with meticulous detail. They wined and dined, then cold shouldered the prospective seller, until he, desperate to unload the property, gave it up for a song. No one is certain as to why this company would go into a venture half-cocked. Some thought it was for reasons, deep, secret personal reasons, that guided the chief executives decision. But for a song, the place was acquired and a great party was thrown to celebrate the new diversion. It was even whispered by some, that all entertainment costs charged to the auto parts conglomerate, would be at cost, if even charged at all. Those few who fearlessly stood up to the executive and challenged him to explain his weird choice of action, were chastised publicly and told not to worry, it would pay for itself ten times over……
But no one knew how to run it……Apparently upper management was so concerned with the acquisition and the possibility of future profits, that in their rush, they had failed to plan for its management.
“Don’t worry. We will do it” they said. They chose a bright young parts manager and put him in charge. Since the facility was intact, they placed want ads for employees and prepared to open their doors. But being new to the porn arena, caused many of the local entertainers to become a little leery of signing up. “Let’s wait and see” was their approach.
Desperate, because of upper management pressure to get something done immediately, the young part’s manager asked some of the company’s most loyal employees to moonlight for him in their off hours………Opening day was a flop.
Jeers, hoots, holla’s were shouted at the dancers. The locals treated them with contempt. Who pays to see a middle aged pot bellied male clerk, dance around in a thong? Not only did the employees get shouted off of stage, but they failed to receive tips as well. Desperate, the young parts manger made deals from his car’s window with hookers off of Route 13. He asked them to come in and fill his roster. The hookers would do so only if he stipulated that they could ply their other trade within the club’s walls. He felt he had no choice but to agree.
Costs were running 200% more than anticipated. They had underestimate the clientèle. Southern businessmen, these locals were not. Heroin was sold openly.
They had bitten off more than they could chew. Those who had supported the diversionary financial venture, began to come under fire by stockholders. Over and over the CEO reassured them that all would work out.
Close it down to stop the financial bleeding he was told. No he insisted. That would be a failure. He would not do that. Instead we will staff it with all our employees. Every employee will work half a day at one of the stores, and the other half would be at night, inside the strip club.
As the staff levels increased, operations stabilized. However the client base hemorrhaged. Most nights were devoid of customers. Occasionally a group would arrive from out of town. The strip club soon sucked up more profits than the auto part’s stores could afford. For the first time, the company dipped into the red. It never recovered…………
Then came the vice squad. Arrests were made and prostitutes and management were incarcerated. Fines were levied against the holding company. There was no money left to pay them. Under court order, the doors were closed.
For whatever the reason, whether it was due to loyalty, or trust in his past brilliance, or personal fear, no one stood up to the CEO. All who came to advise him, left with head hung, hat in hand……No one pushed back…at least not hard enough…….and as the result,…..the entire enterprise was eventually auctioned off to pay the creditors no more than 18 cents per dollar invested……….
Moral of the story: Extravagant adventures sometimes end where you least want to go……Planning make perfect……
Relevance of the story: I’m sure you are smart enough to have figured it out by now.