By Chris Bremer
Copy Editor/Digital Communications Editor
It is easy to stare into our open laptops and curse as our 21st century, tech-heavy society slowly transitions into the Orwellian dystopia generations have feared for half a millennia – but before you rub that sticky note onto your iMac’s camera, realize that’s just not the world we live in.
With the newest batch of information Wikileaks dumped at the feet of the United States population, sensationalism of wiretaps infringing the rights of the orangest, most powerful man in the world and rumors of microwaves watching us, it’s hard to distinguish how monitored we really are in this post-modern age.
One thing we do know is everything done on the Internet stays on the Internet – and it can be traced back to the user. From Google searches to emails, if a stranger wants to look into one’s personal online usage, they can. But this doesn’t mean our patriotic, freedom loving, flag waving government monitors its citizens, does it?
Certainly, yes it does. Our country is constantly scouring online searches, analyzing and assessing threats that may endanger the safety of the American public. However, what the US government does not do is restrict the public’s freedom to access information.
Privacy is a guise – something anyone who uses the Internet truly lives without, for as stated above, the majority of one’s actions online are accessible to the public and do not disappear; our jobless 20-something year-olds who Instagrammed that one drunken photo back in college can attest to that.
However, this does not mean we live in Russia. There is not a knock on our door when the wrong phrase is typed into a search engine.
Our freedom of information has not been infringed. We can find an answer to each reasonable question that pops into our heads, for although our online activity may be monitored, it is not censored.
Now some may read this and think it to be absurd, stating that we have a right to privacy; no governments, advertisers or creepy individuals should be able to violate that right, and we cannot just accept that it’s happening. Government’s have wrongfully violated the privacy of their citizens under the guise of public safety before, after all.
And there may be a point to this. Although notions of smart TVs and microwaves monitoring the public may be sensationalized, the technology is here and we cannot sit back with complacency and allow it to unfold. As a society, we have to demand more transparency from our government and remain vigilant as our technology advances, less our rights be trampled.
But we also have to remember that we sign an invisible contract each time we go online. People can monitor our online use, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that our government does the same.
The difference is that it is done to protect our public, and does not censor our access to information.
So, yes, it may make us uncomfortable realizing that some of our depraved, embarrassing online usage may have been seen, but don’t let that strike you with fear. Take the necessary precautions to ward off creeps attempting to steal information and breathe a sigh of relief.
Big brother doesn’t care what you Google.