Sunday, July 20, 2008

Exhibition for voyeurs

I'm behind. Too much work and not enough time, but I did catch up a bit yesterday. After all, that is what weekends are for. This morning, however, I stumbled across this and picked up on some forums where people are ranting and raving about their privacy and concerns about Big Brother. Where were these people when so many other privacies were invaded?

I do see their point, but they fail to see the benefit in such a system. Sit down and close your mouths. I haven't lost my mind or gone over to the dark side and there is no pod in my basement. I don't have a basement. Copyrights have been on my mind a lot over the past two weeks while I have delved into a very tangled and ugly situation and it suddenly hit me as I was reading the article that these printer dots, purportedly used by the federal government to track counterfeiters, offer a benefit for writers in proving when their work was published, but only if it was printed out on a laser printer. The only problem with this particular method is the same problem the Feds are going to have when they track a counterfeiter, that of determining who owned the printer during the time of the counterfeiter.

Electronics increasingly have the shelf life of a May fly, either being traded or sold because something newer and better with more bells and whistles came out or broke down and needed to be replaced so that some enterprising and handy mechanical genius could find it or buy it and fix it, thus rendering the search for said counterfeiter a tortuous trail laid by a madman and putting all later owners in the position of a visit from the Feds to confiscate their their lives until the truth is known. But isn't that the way things usually happen?

This information has always been available. We have all been harboring tattletales in our midst without knowing it and once again the federal government has invaded our privacy without our knowledge. Do you really think it is the first time or that it will ever stop as long as government seeks to control every aspect of our lives? Not as long as there are electronic strips in paper money, phone companies that keep track of all calls coming and going from every phone in the country, credit cards, driver's licenses and identification cards with magnetic strips that keep track of every use and so on and so on. The technology is already in place to monitor every household through cable TV, telephone and electronic equipment that uses such technology to connect to the virtual highway. We think we are safe behind our firewalls and passwords, but safety is an illusion. Security is an illusion and none of us are safe as long as we think the government is prying into our affairs and keeping track of our every move.

We have become a nation of peeping Toms: Nanny cams, baby monitors, YouTube, celebrity gossip, blogs, etc. Why do we think the government, made up of people like that, would be any less susceptible. We put it out there and then gasp in astonished horror when we find out people are watching when really we are exhibitionists begging for voyeurs. That doesn't mean I am not an exhibitionist, too; I have several blogs and put some of the details of my life and a lot of my thoughts out there, too, but I'm not surprised when people take me up on my tacit offer to peer into my life and think they know me from the crumbs I scatter. I do, however, keep the shades full and completely down on some aspects of my life.

How fascinating it must be to be able to peer through the windows into someone's life and decide from those watchful moments that you really know someone or what they are like. Personally, I think it's delusional to think you can really know anyone you don't spend a considerable amount of time actually getting to know by conversation, debate and sharing those intimate details that don't make it to the virtual world. There is a world of difference between what we see and what we actually get and so few people pony up with the truth or honest details of anything, always protecting some private corner of their lives and sharing it with a few intimates. Few people have the guts to put their real selves on the line unless they cover or edit out warts and all. Don't mistake their heart felt declarations that they, too, have a dark side or that they suffer from depression or angst or brood over lost loves and roads not taken; we all have been there. That's not news. It's the difference between someone looking at a closet full of clothes and saying they have nothing to wear and someone who has no closet and a paper lunch sack containing their earthly possessions.

Am I worried about dots on the pages of my laser printed manuscript pages or that Big Brother is watching? No. I never doubted he was there and would use all the tools at his disposal to keep track of me -- when he got around to it. After all, what's an exhibitionist without voyeurs?

That is all. Disperse.

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