Hey, you, who are reading this. Not you, my regular reader/fellow blogger. I am talking to the other one. The person who is actually watching me write this first draft on blogger, whilst I leave behind innocent - but incriminating, in that person's eyes - cyber-footprints.
I am talking to you, Big Brother. Or Big Sister, or Big Voyeur. You, who are watching me write about you.
It is not that I am afraid of you invading my privacy. I am one of those people who have nothing to hide. So, no fear there, but I am concerned, you see. Concerned that you could make some kind of rash decision based on information you think incriminates me. It is all subjective, I know, but that makes it worse, because, on the one hand, what are the grounds for your surveillance? The words I have just typed? Or the thought that just crossed my mind? You can read the former but you can’t see the latter. On the other hand, are you not supposed to protect me? So, why are you tracking my activities? What kind of protection is that?
The type of protection that, according to you, will stop terrorists from killing me. Under your aegis I am meant to feel safe. You are like a, one-size-fits-all, gigantic blanket that makes all its citizens cozy and warm. Like Pink Floyd’s Mother, but, let us change the eponymous character for the real villain of this story, NSA: NSA's gonna put all its fears into you/ NSA's gonna keep you right here under its wing/ NSA won't let you fly, but it might let you sing. Only the melodies NSA decides, obviously. For NSA, think also GCHQ, but that quite didn't have the same effect with the Floyd tune. It goes without saying that NSA will then build the wall. A circular one, like Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon. Like the one in Cuba’s Isle of Pines, Presidio Modelo. But it is easy to mock the Cuban government for its zealous surveillance of its citizens. After all, I got used to it. I had to, I had no other choice. Yet, the US, the UK? The supposed “land of the free”?
The problem is that we are not free, are we? That is the awful truth. In Cuba I was in the hands of the government and here I am in the hands of powerful corporations. Google, Facebook, Skype, it is like a roll-call of our modern interactive, networking life. The way we communicate. And all the time the CIA is there, behind our backs. Watching us. To the person reading this blog post before I hit the “publish” button: what do you get from this? Do you get a kick out of it like Stasi agents used to do in the former GDR when they spied on unsuspecting folk? Or do you really think that you are fulfilling your patriotic duty by keeping an eye on what I write, what I order from Amazon and what I watch on You Tube? I know that your unintended goal is to make me go gaga. To turn me into paranoid wreck, looking everywhere. I admit that ever since the story about NSA broke out recently I have been checking behind me occasionally, whether I am out running or on the bus, or on my bike. I could become a real-life Will Smith in Enemy of the State in no time and I wouldn’t even be able to get support from a Gene Hackman-like agent. To top it all, our Foreign Secretary William Hague said last week that every intercept had to be authorised by him personally. What is it with this government and centralised power? I thought totalitarianism was a feature of rogue regimes like North Korea, China and Cuba. In a country where we get a new parliament every four or five years we, citizens, should have a vote on whether we want every conversation we have, e-mail we send or clip of cat falling over we see on You Tube, scrutinised. The legality of this process seems also to escape NSA and GCHQ. I cannot be the only person who sees the surveillance of millions of American and British citizens as unlawful.
So, there you have it, Mr Big Brother, or Miss Grand Sister, I now come to the end of my post. I would like to know what you achieved by spying on this draft. Please, take your mask off and join us in the comments section. My cyber-sisters and brothers await you. We have the questions, you owe us the answers.
Next Post: “Killer Opening Songs”, to be published on Wednesday 26th June at 11:59pm (GMT)