Enemies, Foreign and Domestic

A Confederate Yankee

bill mayersBy Bill Mayers

It’s certainly uncomfortable for most of us to recognize, but the enemies of America have won significant victories, from the Sept. 11, 2001, monsters to the Brothers Tsaranev. And while America is by no means nearly defeated, the consequences of those victories impact us all. There is evidence that we’d better be paying a whole lot more attention to those consequences if we value our freedoms.

What they did is frighten us so severely that we’ve stopped monitoring everything our government is up to.

Edward Snowden, whatever you think of him and his motives, did us a service by exposing the extent of our government agencies surveillance (read “spying”) upon not just those overseas entities who might pose a threat, but upon us and our fellow citizens, as well.

A respected fellow veteran suggests that “If you don’t have anything to hide, you don’t have anything to fear!” Well, respected sir, I do have much to hide, and so, in fact, do you. I’m not so concerned about the government prying, but about non-government entities spying on our private business: yours, as well as mine.

Numerous sources have recently pointed out some truly mind-blowing new technologies that make spying on us cheap and easy. We already know the various government security agencies can and do monitor our telephone conversations and our other electronic communications, too. Telephone your cousin in Canberra last night? Big Brother knows.

E-mail your hubby at work this morning to remind him to pick up bread and milk on his way home tonight? Big Brother knows … and also knows where hubby is most likely to stop for those items, which brands he’s most likely to pick up, what size carton and loaf, and whether he’ll put it in the trunk or on the seat beside him for the rest of the trip home.

‘So what?’ sez you. Well, again, I doubt the government is going to be particularly concerned. But how about the rest of the neighborhood? How about the bakery and the dairy? And do you really want all your neighbors to know that much detail about your private life?

I said earlier that technology exists, and is in use, for the government to know all about you. Trouble is, history shows us that none of such technology remains forever and solely in the hands of the powers that be.

How long did it take for the Internet and all its capability to get into the hands of anyone who could afford the puny price of getting online? How long did it take for the cell phone to become like another part of our living bodies?

Two recent developments have begun to make privacy a past tense. The first is the advent of drone aircraft. We ham radio addicts have actually been building and operating such aircraft for decades now. And recently, the technology has become so simple and inexpensive that kids in grammar school can afford to purchase or build, and operate, the same sort of aircraft.

Aircraft that can be outfitted with miniature television cameras that can transmit what they see and hear back to a recorder hundreds of feet to several kilometers away.

Do you want the local hormone-crazed kid peering in your young daughter’s or your wife’s bedroom window and recording everything that can be seen and heard as if the kid were standing on a ladder within a foot of the windowpane? Newflash: da kid can do it! Such spy drones aren’t entirely unnoticeable and silent; however, micro-miniature electronics have made drones of this nature and capability smaller than a hummingbird and even quieter.

More recently still, scientists have begun to learn how to “program” living insects such that humans can make those bugs go anywhere they can fly or creep to, outfitted with even tinier cameras and microphones. That bumblebee drowsing on your windowsill could, within a year or two, be just as capable of spying on you, cheap enough and easy enough to operate that your neighbor across the street could keep abreast of your every move, and even record the sound of your breath, to say nothing of private conversations with your broker, your banker, your physician, your mistress … hmm…

A word to the wise, folks: we really need to keep track of such things, and force our legislators to enact regulations to keep critical parts of our privacy really private. Who has access to such technology and what they can do with it is as critical to America’s liberty as is, well, as is our military and counter-intelligence capability.

William D. “Bill” Mayers RT, RN, of Sullivan is a retired senior U.S. Army Corpsman. A certified healthcare professional since 1964, he holds two professional licenses, including that of Registered Professional Nurse licensed in New York, Alaska, Virginia and Louisiana. He has four children, two stepchildren, three grandchildren and is an avid analyst of current events.

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