Friday, January 04, 2013

There's Nothing Left That's Sacred Except The Suspicious In Airports

I've just been reading about the President extending FISA for an additional five years.  You know, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act allowing the clandestine gathering of information on just about everyone for just about any reason without a search warrent.

It's making me think about how little privacy we still have.  Consider social media where anything posted is 'out there'.  Anyone with any computer savvy can access it.  There is controversy now as to whether or not employers can demand an employees or prospective employee's pass word. Of course, one doesn't have to participate.

There are traffic cams posted all around cities.  Stores are swept with surveillence cameras.  Drones are being used as stealthy harbingers of death be one guilty or not. OR to see if cattle are laying waste too close to a water source.  The aim of course is to get the bad guys but all too often innocents also get hit. Hopefully when it comes to the cows they just move the herd, but one never knows. This is all pretty sophisticated gadgetry used behind the scenes purportedly to search out the enemy.

Have you ever wondered how many data bases might contain your name for having posted blogs such as mine or having tweeted something that triggers some code word  that make us suspects of some nefarious doing?  Those data bases must be huge considering how many eyes are upon us.

With all this sophisticated capability it brings to mind another pet peeve of mine.  Airport security where we're subjected to incredible intrusions of privacy.  Sure, sure.  No one has to fly.  Unless you have to!

I don't any more.  I'm not even sure if I can, though I don't know that I'm on any list as being suspicious.  I'd have a tough time of it.  I'd no doubt have too much shampoo or hair spray in my bag. I might forget to discard my bottle of water. I'm loathe to have strangers put their hands anywhere on my person.  I don't even want to think about full body scanners. Yet we all endure it because it's supposedly keeping us safe.

I have to ask, however, if we have all this ability to listen in on phone calls and monitor social media, isn't everything that needs to be known known without having to be pawed at the airport?  If it isn't quite that good yet, well, okay.  But if we can profile anyone any where in the world with our sophisticated methodology, why can't we profile those we profile in other places at the airport and leave the rest of us alone?

If it's okay to do all this behind the scenes, it should be perfectly okay to do it in a public venue.  We should alredy know if a person has something to hide.  After all, no fly lists come from somewhere.  I'd like to know why anyone who doesn't fit a profile has to be subjected to what amounts to mass profiling and those who do fit a profile are given a pass.

One would think the eyes have it but maybe they don't and maybe that's the problem. It should certainly raises doubt about selecting a bad guy from a deck of cards and sending a drone after him in a game of 'hit of the day'. What happens when one of those bad guys isn't one at all and they hit one of us? How could that happen?  Well, maybe the bad guy is wandering barely noticed through an airport while one of us tweeted an ill timed 'code' word.


John Dwyer said...

I read your post with nostalgia: "... the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act allowing the clandestine gathering of information on just about everyone for just about any reason without a search warrent." Nostalgia for good ol J. Edgar who did not need, nor want, and act of Congress. He's famous now, you know: We even named a building after him. Don't we all miss him?

Word Tosser said...

I saw on 60 minutes about 20 or so years ago, about in England, where there are 5 countries (we are one of them) in the building with a huge satellite pointing at the sky.. which could scan radio, phones and the new Internet for the magic words.. and zoom in on that person.. I thought it was scary then.. and almost impossible.. now, I guess that isn't so impossible.