Sunday, June 08, 2008

Really? The Government has nothing better to do?

Lately, I have noted a rampant paranoia among the general public. Somehow, they have gotten it into their minds that the government had nothing better to do than to watch us 24/7.

There was a discussion on Amazon about how they protected our 1st amendment rights by not releasing the names of people who have bought books from them. People seem to think that the government tracks what books you buy or check out from the library to see if you fit one of their profiles. A bomb-making book, sure, I can see that. (and in fact, I don't think they have any at the library). But according to Amazon, they won't release that kind of information anyways, so what's the problem?

The library doesn't track books. Except if you count giving you recommendations. For example, if I check out 3 books by Michael Crichton, the system recognizes that I must like him as an author and lists more books of his that I might like to read. Ooo, the evil Bush administration is tracking what I read to give me suggestions of what I might like to read. How awful! How dare they? My rights are violated!

Had a guy come into the library a few weeks ago, convinced that the government tracks everything we view on the web. I laughed and was called "naive". Come on, how can the government have that kind of money, resources and time to track every single webpage that we view. Some guy is sitting up in D.C. sifting through all those websites 24/7? Please... they have better things to do with their time. Certain websites might send off a red flag, sure, but they aren't watching us all the time or even the majority of time.

Once had this friend whose Dad was Arab. She was convinced that the government was watching her because of her heritage. She claimed that once during a phone call, a random guy cut into the middle of it and said "oops, wrong number". She thought they were listening in on her phone call to her mother and messed up, which ended up on him cutting in. She also claimed that they logged into her father's AOL account and deleted his address book. Trust me, you aren't that important. Lines get crossed all the time, and server glitches happen all the time as well.

So, the moral of the story is: The government is not watching you every minute of the day. Your books are not tracked. Your phone calls are not listened in on. Your email accounts are not hacked. And your websites aren't tracked.

Who does track you: Your credit card company to make sure your card hasn't been stolen. Your bank might do the same thing. Most likely, your supermarket tracks what you buy if you have one of those "saver" cards. Some movie theaters even track what movies you see if you have their points card. Does that mean they are violating your rights too? No, because most times you are getting discounts or coupons out of them, so no one cares. Does that mean the "evil" government is watching what movies you are watching and what groceries you buy? No!! They don't care. It's used for inventory, to track sales and to increase profit. And in fact, I am willing to bet that the retail industry doesn't care what YOU watch or buy either. They just want to know what most people are watching or buying.

So go back to what you were doing. Feel free to surf on the web and buy your books without having to feel like you have to look over your shoulder. Despite what the people in the government, like Hillary and Obama, tell you, they do not care about you. You can relax now.

But if you really want someone watching you all hours of the day, get a dog. You will be watched, tracked and your 1st amendment rights will be surrendered, because after all, their freedom of "speech" will trump yours. What they say goes. If they want food or to be walked while you're taking a nap, they will get their way. You might want to read the paper on a lazy Sunday morning, but they will have other ideas. You will be stared at as you eat your dinner and you will be followed as you move about the house, in case you have food. If the dog happens to be sleeping as you move around the house, they will keep one eye on you, tracking your movements in case you get food.
And if it makes you feel better, you can even name the dog "Government".

1 comment:

Marlene said...

Good post.