We Are Borg

Posted on March 29, 2018. Filed under: Politics, Technology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Are you kidding me?” That was the intrusive thought as I perused the electronics store looking for home security systems. My personal privacy is one thing I treasure, and, I wanted to protect my new hermit sanctum from uninvited and opportunistic “guests.”

My sense of what to expect in the way of suitable equipment was stand-alone motion sensors, site alarms, and, maybe closed-circuit camera surveillance, all of which would be subject to my personal control.

But, the systems on display here touted such wondrous features as voice control, inter-device wireless communication, remote viewing of my hermit cave from another city, even talking to a person ringing my doorbell from 200 miles away. And, it was touted, I had personal control of the entire security spectrum through my smart phone or other computerized device. Such control would be managed over Al Gore’s marvelous invention, the World Wide Web. YES! That would be the same internet that allows our identities, wealth, and reputations to be stolen… where employers can read your thoughts on personal web sites and fire you for being non-compliant with the employer’s views.

Another thought, chilling to my personal sense of privacy and control of my life, flashed through my mind on the heels of that hype: George Orwell’s 1949 novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four. Its distinction was the introduction of the term Big Brother, the name of an authoritative government whose power derived from the application of thought control over its citizens, a power facilitated by confinement and brain-washing of non-compliant persons.

It was the term “internet” that fueled my spine-tingling thought of Big Brother. That net would be the same place that has stored all the formerly private information about my financial dealings, my bank information, my medical information, my comments on Facebook and Twitter, my political affiliations and opinions, my religious convictions, my familial connections; even the kind of music and movies I see and hear, and the kind of things I enjoy and purchase at the grocery store. All known to the internet.

Yes, your personal calendar, though fortified against intrusion by that secret password known only to you, is vulnerable to any hacker’s eyes.

Oh, for the good old days of real privacy. Back then, your personal information was not sold or given away by businesses with whom you contracted, and the use of cash did not announce to the world your name, your address, your description, your employer, your location at the time you made payment, etc.

Cash is a private transaction, whereas credit cards and debit cards scream out everything about you over a virtual public-address system.

I just love internet sites’ declarations of privacy toward your personal business: Because we respect your privacy, we will not sell or give away your information to others… except to our affiliates and 3rd parties who can help us make another buck, and they have not agreed to anything regarding the privacy of your personal information.

That previous paragraph was my personal summation of what that 10,000-word, fine-print declaration of respect intimates.

Once, I considered myself to be “John Q. Citizen.” Now, I have become stamped on the forehead as “Grade-A Prime Marketing Prospect.”

I resist, but I know…

resistance is futile.

I try to remain apart, but, I know…

I will be assimilated.

Though Orwell missed the bigger picture, his Big Brother has jumped into the Collective Mind of internet feet first. NSA, FBI, FCC, KGB, and a host of other alphabet soup agencies and dot-com web sites gleefully mine the mother-lode of data held within that COLLECTIVE mind of internet.

Another chilling thought from the universe of Roddenberry’s Star Trek…

Resistance is futile.

You will be assimilated.

WE ARE BORG

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Come to Papa, razzi

Posted on April 21, 2012. Filed under: History, Humor, Journalism, Piss Ants | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Cave men understood the value of the story.  In fact, they invented the concept of the wall as seen on today’s social sites.  The excitement of the hunt, if not the sheer necessity of it, got those cave journalists in the mood to go to press paint.  (Say what you will about stone painting as a medium, but it has sure outlasted last century’s newspaper.)  Look!  There’s the stampeding herd, the flight of spears in the air, jubilant hunters all around…   and a hand print?  Researchers have discussed the significance of that, but, maybe, it was just a count of the take on that hunt.  You know…   5.

They even had moving pictures of sorts.  Those caves were dark, except for the light of dying torches and hearths, and the cave walls rough and uneven.  Together, the light and wall texture composed a lively show as the flickering flames sent shadows dancing across the paintings, imparting an almost supernatural feeling of motion right before all those sleepy eyes.  Every night, in the quiet time before sleep, the hunt — in motion and living color — was played out once again.  And, the narrator emphasizing, “We bagged five!”

We don’t do cave walls anymore.  We learned during the Renaissance how to do it right.  We want wall art, we just build a big, stone cathedral, light it with flickering torches and/or oil lamps, hire a da Vinci or Michelangelo, and watch those guys laboriously pound, grind, and mix select ingredients into just the right colors and textures, then turn ’em loose on those walls and ceilings.  WAIT!  THIS JUST IN:  a couple of cases of spray paint, a half-dozen taggers, a city-full of walls and overhead structures just waiting for proper treatment…   and someone in authority saying, “Don’t you dare!”  Actually, with that last example, there isn’t much story line, just lurid, flashy colors,, maybe even some drawings, but, basically, just meaningless stuff that shouts, “Hey, looky here!”  Which brings us to paparazzi and tabloids.

Paparazzo (singular of paparazzi, which is plural of paparazzo) is a character in a movie (La Dolce Vida – 1959) who was an obnoxious celebrity-chaser with a camera and a nose for scandalous and prurient news items.  “Obnoxious” in the sense that he got into people’s faces with that flash bulb and saw/reported only a salacious perspective in every activity in which the stalked celebrity engaged.  Subsequently, that name came to be applied to an entire class of…   can we say photo journalists?…   who regularly stalk and ambush celebrities as they go about their daily activities.  Privacy invasion (with those super telephoto lenses) is no biggie with them.  Nor is a shot in the mouth from a pissed-off celebrity who does not want the individual and his camera getting into the cab with him/her, or preventing her/him from exiting the cab.

Tabloids seem to be the place where all those paparazzi shots are displayed (including the one in the mouth).  Whether the photo journalist submits a story with the hard-won pictures or a tabloid “reporter” reviews the pix, then makes up a story from sketchy information provided by the submitter is a mystery rivaling “Sasquatch” and the “yeti.”  Or, maybe no one is consulted; a photo is submitted and a random story from file…   or somewhere…   is tacked onto it.  Like the old dime novels from the 1800’s that glorified famous and infamous celebrities of the time, an ongoing drama surrounding the big name is fabricated and published as a “developing” story.  Really, how many more times can I believe that Angie and Brad are splitting up?

Next up:  Veracity and responsibility

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