Being mysterious has never been my forte. I’m one of those “open book” type people. I think I’ve improved, in recent years, but I’m definitely not hard to get to know. I’m a child of the ’80s, so I didn’t bloom into a young lady with all of my mistakes and awkward phases documented on the internet. Facebook became a thing right as I started college, so I can still remember when I didn’t know what all of my contacts were doing, and where they were at every moment.
But, like 99.999% of everyone I know, I fell into this mega-exposure of social media right along with the rest of the world. So, now, finally, America is taking a breath, looking back at the last twenty years, and saying, “Uh oh…what did we do?”
Fox News had a special on Saturday called “Your Secret’s Out” about this data era we’re in and how much of our personal data the government has access to. One commentator on the show brought up George Orwell’s famous novel, 1984, and speculated that Orwell’s prediction of the future likely never accounted for citizens willingly giving information to “Big Brother.”
We willingly turn on our “location services” setting to our 3+ apple devices so that anyone who knows our name knows our exact location at every moment. I never enable that setting, but now, you don’t even have to. I downloaded a texting app recently and noticed, after several days of using it, that it had a little symbol next to each person I was messaging and when I clicked on it, I could see which street they were on – which store even. I mean, this is like Jack Bauer-style technology and we ALL have it right at our fingertips. My 13-year-old cousin has it. Terrifying.
I recently heard someone point out that the problem with all of this easily accessible data is what could be done with it if its in the wrong hands. Whether you believe that the Obama administration qualifies as “the wrong hands” or not, the fact that we have opened the door to this invasion of privacy makes it so that if the wrong people get elected, we can lose our freedom just like that (insert snap here).
The fact that its gotten to this point will hopefully awaken complacent and uninformed Americans to the dangers of the path we’re on.
Toward the end of the Fox special I was watching, they brought up how we need to train our kids to use the internet. If we just “trust” our kids to make the right decisions online, and don’t become actively involved in what they’re on and what they’re saying to the world through these outlets, we might look back and see a generation of kids who ruined their lives with the decisions they made public to the world when they were just “dumb kids.”
All it takes is a picture, a video tape, a few words – and its out there…not going away any time soon.
All of this data mining, supposedly developed to make us feel safer, is actually doing the opposite. Have you ever misinterpreted the tone of a text message or email and sparked an unnecessary argument? Well, can you imagine a group of suits in Washington reading every snarky, sarcastic email you’ve ever sent?
It makes me think of “Meet the Parents” when Ben Stiller starts jokingly saying “Bomb bomb bomb, bomb-bomb bo-bomb” in an airport and gets whisked away by the authorities. Suits in Washington don’t know your sense of humor, or the sense of humor that guy you’re texting has. Do you really want to second-guess every word you type or say? Is constant and pervasive monitoring really going to make you feel safe enough not to look over your shoulder for bad guys?
All of this reporting of the NSA having access to all of our everything has me more paranoid than I was before I knew we were oh-so-“protected” by the authorities. We’ve all had bosses or teacher’s on a power-trip, so aren’t we smart enough to know that a politician on a power trip is capable of all sorts of evil? What if our next President not only makes decisions that go against Christianity, but despises the religion entirely? What then? Will we be afraid to text a Bible verse to our neighbor?
We have got to get the power in this country back into the hands of the people. What does that look like? Well, it looks like having privacy and freedom to make decisions in your life. Healthcare decisions. Education decisions. Religious decisions. All of these choices should be up to you – not the government that you elected.
We’ve got to continue spreading the message of liberty to our people and the generations that are rising up – generations distracted by the constant onslaught of new innovation.
Maybe we should all just delete our Facebook and Instagram accounts, take our money out of the bank, and learn how to live off the land. Maybe we all need to work on being a little more mysterious and stop encouraging the government to look over our shoulders and “Facebook Stalk” us. What do you say?