Thursday, September 18, 2008

Jim has discovered the enemy... it is us!

I found this posted back on the "Bush Doctrine", and Jim was afraid that it was "off-topic", and I was afraid that it was back where nobody would see it. So, I gave it it's own posting

Thanks for your thoughts Jim, I agree with you entirely, but I have a feeling that whoever did this will be caught and prosecuted. One can only hope!

Jim said...
I know this is off-topic, but think it deserves some conversation.

I can think of few other situations that demonstrate the mass duplicity of our own citizenry than the prevailing ho-hum indifference to the breach of Gov. Sarah Palin’s personal email account. I would say the same thing if it were Barak Obama who suffered this crime. No matter where you position yourself in the political spectrum, this crime is cause for grave concern by all of us, and the perpetration of the crime should be met with unrepentant outrage, not with the ravenous glee I see coming from so many places.

Here’s why: Because that could have been you or me. It could be our lives’ modest secrets and confidentialities, now spread across the vast reach of cyberspace — accessible to everyone! Even accessible now to media, who are, to my mind, complicit, not only because of their lack of outrage, but also because of their eagerness to pour through the contents of messages and publish them. These communications were not obtained by journalism, but were stolen, just as surely as if your car had been driven out of your garage and to an LA chop shop.

The media seems to be more concerned with any alleged, unfounded possibility of untoward activity in the emails than they are the reality of the clear, and present nature of the offense of the stealing a family’s private life. “Invasion” is part of a war, and this is a real INVASION of privacy, a war on all of us.

So we need to get mad.

I can tell you with certainty that if your private email account was compromised and its contents posted in some extremely public place, you would be furious, and you would also have to spend a great deal of time worrying about what you might have innocently written to someone, and the prospect that the contents might show up later.

We ought to be mad as hell — Democrat, Republican, or independent — about what’s happened to Gov. Palin. This should act as a catalyst for better laws and broader protections of our private lives from the invasion of snoops who are no better than terrorist. Because this is a form of terrorism.

Why is your email mailbox any less inviolable than your mailbox on your house? I don’t get it. Millions of people use email as a primary form of communication. Why aren’t people more outraged by what happened?

I remember reading George Orwell’s book, “1984,” when I was young, and thinking, ‘Could there be a society in which everyone’s private life was examined by a government that used the information to control its people.’ The book, and people subsequent reactions to it, may have prevented 1984 in some countries, though Big Brother — the KGB, the Stassi, and prior to that, the SS and Gestapo — existed, in Nazism and Communism.

Who would ever have suspected that the Big Brother of our privacy-seeking society would turn out to be individuals. The video from the spy cameras that damage people’s lives by glaring up from public bathrooms toilet bowl or hidden recesses of dorm rooms where students are unwittingly caught doing private things, are, without conscience, put up on YouTube, the default throne of the Unrestrained Populist Voyeur Kingdom. Stolen photos and communication are put up on websites run by unprincipled people, such as the website were Palin’s mail was posted.

More often now, it is private citizens — not the the NSA or the CIA — who hack into email accounts or monitor cellphone calls, or who gaze at the private records, emails, photos, and videos of unsuspecting people.

The surveillance that is intended to keep us safe, to keep us from being killed, is hotly debated and despised because the ‘GOVERNMENT’ is doing it. Yes, we’re actually fire-walled from the government by laws. If the government ever published, without judicial approval, the contents of a private citizen’s email, or transcripts of cell or land-line phone conversations, an unending flow of furore and condemnation would roll across the land for years to come.

It turns out, however, that the government has made laws to protect us from them. So it’s absolutely absurd when anyone to complains about government spying, remains silent about far damaging breeches of personal security, enacted by private citizens.

I believe that the contents of an email box should be just as sacred as the post office, and that there should be strong enforcement of stricter laws, if they are violated by hackers, WIFI “wardrivers,” cell-phone eavesdroppers, and the camera voyeurs.

Could Orwell have ever imagined that private citizens, not government, would pose the greatest threat to our privacy and put us all under a vile, uncontrollable microscope? Despite his pessimism about government, I believe Orwell wrote optimistically about the behavior of individuals.

He was wrong.

We have felt the breath of Big Brother on our necks, and when we turn to see who it is, there stands one of us.


spyrock said...

my dad never gave me much advice in my life except to never do anything that i wouldn't mind seeing on the front page of the newspaper. i've done a lot of stupid things in my life, but then again i have no ambition to be president of the united states or be in a position to succeed a president in case of an emergency.
but i think my dad was talking about self control and keeping a high level of integrity. in other words, a lot of us are far harder on ourselves than a big brother might ever be,

Kym said...

Jim is right. Palin (however much I dislike her political point of view) is entitled to the same privacy I want. And I would be outraged if my emails were broadcast.

Rose said...

Thanks, Ernie. And thanks, JIm. Well said.

Ernie Branscomb said...

I think that this issue points out one of the reasons that we are lucky to be Americans. The U.S. is on of the few countries in the world where we expect a right to privacy.

Going through life is like playing poker, everything is a gamble, and if someone is reading your e-mail it is like playing poker while someone is seeing your cards.

Robin Shelley said...

The news tonight says the hacker is probably the college-aged son of an as yet unnamed Tennessee politician.

Rose said...

Email is never secure - and it has the half life of a nuclear reactor - you never know who it gets forwarded to, and you never know if it is printed out and kept forever, or saved on a hard drive. So you essentially have to be very careful ALL the time with email. Even if you aren't going to run for VP.

Still, she had a right to a private email acct. and an absolute right to privacy.

Why are people going stark raving mad about her? Is she going to absorb all the Bush hatred? I always wondered what was going to happen when Bush left office. What were all these people going to do with all this hate?

Now we know.

Check this out
Palin Pick Puts Many Women on the Verg
Margaret Cho (GROSS, be warned)
Palin unhinges feminists on the Left
Pissed about Palin

I mean this is INSANE.

Jim said...

The alleged hacker is the 20-year-old son a Democratic U.S. congressman from Tennessee.

Robin Shelley said...

Well, kind of what I said, Jim. Do we have a name yet?

Jim said...

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the following:
"Online blogs and several news sources, including the New York Post (headline: “Dem Pol’s Son Was Hacker”), identified David Kernell, a 20-year-old University of Tennnessee student and son of legislator Mike Kernell, as the person who gained access to Palin’s e-mail."

I can find no mention of charges being brought against anyone, but the FBI seems eager to get to the bottom of the case.

Robin Shelley said...

Thanks for this, Jim. I hope the FBI does get to the bottom of this. I also hope they string the little hacker up by his, uh, toes but I suppose that's beside the point.

Anonymous said...

I surely am having a great time reading this blog. This comment is posted by an outsider, a person born in Oakland who is just visiting your beautiful county for the holidaze. As far a reading someone else's email, it isn't cool, but keep in mind that this is the internet we are on. Nothing is private on the internet, so my advice to everyone is not to post anything private there. Other than that, I love it here in Humboldt county. There are no traffic jams. Road rage is low. Lines are short. I realize you natives don't want to see any new people moving up here. Sorry that the bay area is getting so crowded we are all getting pushed out. You can't imagine how it has all changed since I was born 60 years ago. This place is paradise compared to back home. Have to leave tomorrow, so good luck to y'all. It's been real nice.