I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.
– Albert Einstein
What’s surprising to me, after watching the videos and reading the articles for this week, is how surprised people were that our government was doing this. We have read books and watched movies about this very thing for decades. The imagination that these writers have shared on paper and film are probably only the tip of the iceberg to what actually occurs.
It took me some contemplating, after this week’s material, to come up with an opinion. And, I’m sorry to say I’m just as two-faced, walking the line, as I was before. This is such a sensitive subject, with many angles to pursue. I can see President Obama’s dilemma with this when he was briefed on what the Program actually did. Unfortunately, the American people are not happy about the results, regardless of intentions.
First, I must say that if someone were to spy on my calls or messages, they would use them for a bedtime story. If there happens to be someone out there spying on me, they have the absolute worst, most boring job on the planet. I have nothing to say, write or take a picture of that the NSA would be interested in. Unless they love Food Network too. 🙂
With that said, if running my messages through a filtering program will allow an organization to prevent another 9/11 attack, so be it. If it will allow a pedophile to be apprehended, before committing a horrible crime, I’m all for it. Sign me up.
I know this is a silly, abstract suggestion but, how about an “opt-in” option for people who don’t mind being watched? The organization would get a far better idea of who might be up to no good, based on who doesn’t “opt-in”. Or, they will discover very quickly that some of these people just aren’t willing to give up their Constitutional Rights.
Googles’ use of personal information to market products was their core business plan. People have now realized that there was a price to use Googles’ services, even if it wasn’t monetary. That saying, “Nothing in life is free”, comes to mind. They made no disguise that they were targeting you with personalized advertising. I knew it wasn’t a coincidence that the day after searching online for outdoor cushions, I was bombarded with advertisements for outdoor furniture and decorative items. Something I wonder is whether Google’s Incognito mode also keeps information private from Google.
So, to the question “Do you view your position from the short-term gain or long-term, unintended consequences perspective?, I have to say both. I see both sides and feel like we’re between a rock and a hard place. If I were presented with an option between my own privacy and saving a life, I would give up my privacy willingly. However, I wasn’t asked. I really don’t know how my personal information is being used. Are bored analysts using our lives like reality TV shows or soap operas? Stalking their exes? If it were simply a computer scanning for suspicious behavior, that would be one thing. But there are human beings that are reading our private messages, listening to our conversations, looking at our pictures. That is disturbing.
It also saddens me that, somehow, anything can be turned into a weapon. Unfortunately, once invented, it can’t be taken back. It reminds me of the Manhattan Project and the thoughts that the scientists had running through their heads after the initial deployment of the atomic bomb at a testing sight in New Mexico. These men immediately realized what they had done, inventing this bomb. But, the damage was done.
Technology, in the right hands, has been wonderful for education and sharing knowledge. Unfortunately, in the wrong hands, in causes destruction. I think this is true for any discovery though, whether that be computer science, physics, medicine, etc. Discovering the secrets of a virus, initially to create an antidote and save life, becomes a quest for creating a super virus that destroys our opponent. We, as intelligent beings, are constantly battling to find that balance, where the discovery remains pure and unadulterated by wants and agendas. But, the wants and agendas pay for the research.