News and Tribune


June 17, 2013

CUMMINS: We had privacy back in the old days

Almost everybody is hyper now, because there is no privacy. Throw your gadgets away and move to the country, what’s left of it, and you’ll be able to switch focus from cyberspace to your mind and heart, the center of your sanity. Our privacy has been transferred to Washington. We will regain it when Facebook and Twitter collapse from boredom, and when the Tea Party takes control of the IRS, NSA and CIA. These agencies control your internal revenue and your security. Not only do they rob you, they compile your data, pretending to look for terrorists. Washington knows more about you than you do.

I remember saying back when eBay began, “If you send your secret Social Security number out in cyberspace, a nerd will steal it.” We didn’t have hackers back in my day. Most folks were near normal. Back then, a hacker was a slacker, and if he cut corners, we took away his privacy any way we could. I also said that if you try to connect to the world instantaneously, nobody will listen to you. It’s too big and impersonal. You can’t change the Taliban’s mind using a handheld. About the best we can hope for is to get through life with a little privacy that gives you some room to think things through. If you want to connect with an entity, try God, who has yet to bless cyberspace.

Congress is holding hearings on your loss of privacy, as if they really care. You don’t hold hearings with your neighbors; “Did your dog poop on my lawn? I’ll have the evidence analyzed.” Congress wants to learn who did what, when and why. If they remember, they did. They passed laws to search for terrorists. You might be one. Maybe not now, but you’ll think about it when Congress listens to your phone calls, and adds you to the mega-data inside a monstrous bank they call Prism. They should have named it Prison.

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