There’s a question that has been hovering over our heads for quite some time. Actually, it literally has been hovering over our heads, and it should raise significant concern. The news each week for the past year or so has been touting the increased use of spy drones by government and law enforcement agencies to monitor our own towns and cities, among other things.
When you add to this knowledge the admitted fact that many municipalities and certain federal agencies are increasingly employing spy cameras and eavesdropping devices on streets and buildings, monitoring emails and cellular phone calls and any other forms of transmitted electronic communications they deem “of interest”, the degree to which we are under encroaching surveillance is rather staggering.
So the $60,000 question is this: “Why does the world’s freest nation, the symbolic beacon of global liberty, need to invade the private lives of its own citizens to the nth degree?”
American’s national security has always depended on technical advances, as well as the indomitable Yankee spirit. We defend our borders and protect American global interests using the projection of military power combined with good intelligence gathering. We are all in favor of the use of spy equipment when observing the actions of belligerent nations or for ratifying treaty compliance. We laud the protection of our citizens from peril while at sea or in the air through technology that affords rescuers pinpoint accuracy and real-time communication in the event of a mishap. We believe we live safer lives, thanks to all this technology. Yet this wonderful set of tools is increasingly being directed towards our own citizens.
Why is all this domestic spying deemed necessary, and by whom? Are we in the midst of sedition? Is our violent crime rate so overwhelming that it warrants more internal security than Erich Honeker ever dreamed of?
This is the age of disclosure where many of our day-to-day transactions leave an electronic trail easily intercepted and observed by anyone, government or private, with the technical means to do so. I remember the uproar over GoogleEarth photographing our homes and neighborhoods in 360-degree panorama and making them available to everyone on the Web. Why no uproar over drones taking pictures of your backyard barbeque, or worse, your bedroom?
Knowledge is power. Every government regime in history that has sought to accrue more power to itself has done so at the expense of the privacy of its citizens. Every American should be asking to whom is all of this power accruing, and to what end.
We are not “safer” as long as this trend continues. No less a statesman than Benjamin Franklin said that those who would surrender a little liberty for a measure of security deserve neither. Unchecked government power ALWAYS becomes despotic. We need to pull the plug on this abusive surveillance before we find out that more of our freedoms are gone.
Image courtesy of www.flyingeye.fr/drone.html