“Hello Mrs Miller, this is Harvey Johnson can I speak to Debra Sue?” Did you hear about Hugo and Kim; did they really get pinned? And are you guessing where I’m going? No, Bob and I did not play in Bye Bye Birdie in high school, although come to think of it, that would have been swell. But after hearing about our government’s secret court order to direct Verizon, my cell carrier and virtually every family member and friend’s too, to turn over their metadata, not sometimes, but on an “ongoing basis,” I was flabbergasted. Or to use a more British term, since the Guardian broke the story, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/06/nsa-phone-records-verizon-court-order Gobsmacked!
OK, slowly but surely I realize that privacy is becoming so last year. Everybody is tweeting, linking in, texting and Facebooking their lives away in public. But at least you can decide which picture goes up on Facebook. Look at me, I’m blogging to you right now, but at least I’m in charge of what I’m saying. I control what can be seen, and try to keep some sense of privacy by referring to my kids with pseudonyms. Now, I’m assuming, the NSA knows how often and how long I talk with the Bride. And who I’m voting for on The Voice!
Now you know too. I love The Voice, I admit it, send me to Gitmo.
Remember when I told you how our little town was the first in the country to outright ban the use of drones? Well that brave measure came from Charlottesville’s Rutherford Institute, a nonprofit organization “…dedicated to the defense of civil liberties and human rights.” It seems fitting that Mr Jefferson’s Village would host such an organization. And the Rutherford’s director, constitutional law attorney John W Whitehead, recently wrote a book that has a few tongues wagging. A Government of Wolves posits we are fast becoming a police state – think about the overused and possibly racist “stop and frisk” programs in big cities, and think about when the city of Boston was put on a lockdown after the Marathon bombing.
The book “…paints a chilling portrait of a nation in the final stages of transformation into a police state, complete with surveillance cameras, drug-sniffing dogs, SWAT team raids, roadside strip searches, blood draws at DUI checkpoints, mosquito drones, tasers, privatized prisons, GPS tracking devices, zero tolerance policies, overcriminalization, and free speech zones.” https://www.rutherford.org/publications_resources/on_the_front_lines/nprs_all_things_considered_weekend_edition_spotlights_constitutional_attorn
And this week SCOTUS rules in Maryland V King that the police can take your DNA just for being arrested! Secretly investigating newspaper reporters for possible security leaks is one thing, but as one intrepid news anchor named Roaseane Roaseannadanna used to say, “Well, Jane, it just goes to show you, it’s always something–if it ain’t one thing, it’s another.” Or as Former Vice-President Al Gore said in a tweet: “In a digital era, privacy must be a priority. Is it just me, or is secret blanket surveillance obscenely outrageous?” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-22793851