Tuesday Tirade: Privacy, The NSA, and Cereal

Over the last few months the hot button political issue has been the revelation of the NSA listening to your phone calls. Ok, twodont-worry-cell-phone-tapping things come to mind:

1) Duh.

2) So what?

I’m am sick and tired of the American public sensationalizing everything. No thanks to the news media either. Oh, but Dan, you say, privacy! They’re invading my privacy! That’s wrong! It’s unconstitutional! What would George Washington think?! Get over it. Our first President lived in a very, very different time. Society was different. Government was different. Most importantly, technology and weapons were different.

Don’t whine about privacy when you’ve got so much personal information on your Facebook page. People are constantly posting photos of their kids, their vacations, their house. And some even go so far as to list their home address and phone number on their profile. And let’s not even get into how many people still click on phishing links in emails and have their identities stolen or their online accounts hacked. When you’re stupid enough to not use the internet correctly you don’t have any right to complain.

But my conversations are private!
Let me get this straight: you’re so bent out of shape because the NSA may listen to a recording of your conversation with your grandma about what to get grandpa for Christmas? Is it really that much of a problem the NSA now knows your wife wants you to pick up some Special K at the grocery store since you’re stopping for milk anyway? Think about the conversations you have in general. What super-private information are you offended the government now knows? Oh no. You have a UTI. Gasp! Your best friend’s sister is cheating on her boyfriend with his best friend’s sister’s brother. Wait, this isn’t new information – you read it on Facebook two hours ago.

Not to mention people are constantly talking on their cell phones, out loud, usually loud enough for anyone to hear, in front of dozens of people, everywhere. Sounds like privacy is really an issue for you.

Look, if the government listening to phone calls stops one single act of terrorism from overhearing people talking about an attack, then I don’t care if they listen to me say goodnight to my wife while she’s away on business.

And if you’re going to continue playing the offended idiot, then maybe you shouldn’t talk on the phone so much.

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2 thoughts on “Tuesday Tirade: Privacy, The NSA, and Cereal

  1. I must respectfully disagree with you. It is not just a matter of what the government hears or what I have to hide. It is a matter of the government’s attitude toward its citizens. The notion that the government needs to record and be able to sift through any and all conversations you have over a electronic device is frightening at the very least. Terrorists will find ways to communicate indirectly and bypass this. They’ll obfuscate their conversations or avoid using the phones entirely, so who is this really targeting?

    People have not changed as much as you think they have in 250 years. The 4th amendment was written to prevent the government from becoming an oligarchy. The British law enforcement could effectively enter your home and confiscate whatever they pleased whenever they pleased on the basis of determining whether you were doing something unlawful, even if they had no reason to believe you did so. The result was that the British used this as a form of harassment to stifle legitimate descent.

    People are not “whining” because of the “loss of their privacy.” They are afraid because the government has decided that its citizens are untrustworthy and must be treated as potential criminals rather than respected as citizens. That is an utterly dangerous attitude for a government to have, and such an attitude divides the people from its government and creates mistrust between the two. Think about it. How much do you really trust the police in your neighborhood today? People have come to expect government officials to abuse their power, and if we allow that abuse to continue (as we have for so long), then the time is ripe for even more abuse, to the point where we lose our freedom. Don’t laugh at the idea of losing your freedom, either. History has proven time and time again that it is a fleeting thing; it is so easy to lose and so difficult to gain. That day could be decades away, but people are right to be terrified at the steps being taken in that direction.

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