Here’s why I’m not going to get my panties all in a bunch over this most recent ‘scandal’ about the US government (or so many other governments who are keeping their heads down til the uproar dies away) spying on its citizens: because I already did. In 2001.
At the time when almost every one of our elected officials were falling all over themselves to sign the Patriot Act – in most cases without having read it – so that nobody could accuse them of being terrorist sympathizers, a few of us got all worked up about it. I actually had arguments with other ‘liberals’ who thought we had to give up some of our civil rights so our government could keep us safe. Just temporarily, you know? They defended the government asking my library what books I’d checked out, or my doctor which vaccinations I’d asked for. They couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t want my phone calls traced, because, after all, I had nothing to hide, did I? But all of this, of course, was because they assumed this last question was a valid one: I had nothing to hide, did I? They couldn’t see that the question itself was irrelevant. It wasn’t supposed to be about whether I had anything to hide, it was about my right to hide whatever the hell I felt wasn’t anyone else’s friggin’ business. It was about the constitution and my civil rights. But at the time, they trusted that they would be kept safe. From terrorists, and the government. Anyone like myself, counseling righteous indignation and resistance, were seen as alarmists. Or worse: anti-American terrorist sympathizers. After all, the government was only going to listen to your phone calls if you were planning to blow something up, right?
Well, now the chicken has come home to roost. And Joe Citizen, who has been sharing his – and my – information every time he clicked that “agree” box when signing up to yet another FB or phone app, is now up in arms because the phone companies are doing exactly what he has agreed to let them do. In fact, at the moment, I’m ‘ignoring’ two app requests from FB friends who would be some of the first to scream about this latest info dump the government has requested from Verizon:
“Causes would like to access your public profile, friend list, email address, birthday, work history, education history, hometown, current city, religious and political views, likes and your friends’ current cities, religious and political views and likes.”
Excuse me while I don’t get all riled up about this one again. I’m too busy fighting for some of the other rights our governments are threatening, the ones we the people haven’t agreed to give up yet. And yes, if Uncle Sam is listening: Hi. I hope you’re enjoying my life. And no, I still have nothing to hide and it’s still none of your damn business.