I’m an Internet savvy sort of guy, or at least I fancy myself one. When I got out of the army I spent eight months working on a Microsoft network engineering degree, MCSE. I feel like I came into the Internet at a good time during both of our lives, and have remained relevant enough with it to make the observations and comments for this write.
“The Internet; Bringing People Closer Together” is a slogan I recall. I get that, or so I thought I did back in the day I first heard it. Yes, at any moment of the day I can communicate with my peeps via email in near real time, or for that matter I can FaceTime them for real time audio and visual presentations. That is what the Internet meant to me for the longest time; the ability to affect real time world-wide communications. The world was ‘becoming smaller’ because of it.
I wasn’t quite around yet when there were no telephones, so I can only imagine how it could have been to endure those immense lag times snail-mailing folks for chit-chat, or God forbid for the exchange of critical time-sensitive news and information. Enter copper line telephone (POTS) and hello technology revolution. People were brought yet closer together; the world got ‘small’ again.
With the birth of the Internet (thank’s, Al Gore and never mind DARPA and Xerox) communications technology made a watershed bound. Thanks to the Internet you are more likely to know ten times more people, and be in contact with many times more people than you would have in the BI days, ‘Before Internet’.
Here in the DI days (During Internet) we have been brought so close together and the world has become so ‘small’… boy are we close together, and my God how the world shrank. I just heard a news blurb about the Ukraine. Well, I got a guy in the Ukraine; let me chat him up and get the ground truth poop. Call me on my Apple wrist watch latter and I’ll give you the skinny. What’s that, you already got the skinny from YOUR guy in the Kraine?
Are we being brought close together, or are we being chorded together tighter and tighter with a staunch wane in personal space? Is the Internet only enhancing our communication so marvelously well, or is it creating a virtual overcrowding of the planet? There is a fission-fusion yield of information out there trying to shove its way into your already over burdened conscience if you let it.
Do I really need to know what Xiao Fang Wei in the Tse Chuan province of China had for lunch—its rice, it has always been rice, and it’s always gonna be RICE!
It seems (to me) that we know way too many Internet people, and far too much about each other. The more we know about each other, the more opportunities we have to offend each other politically, racially, and faithfully. We gots us cyber hate, cyber dating, cyber pedophile stalking, cyber bulling, cyber larceny, cyber black, cyber brown, cyber gay, cyber cracker-ass gypsy trash… don’t you sometimes just want to tell the Internet to kiss your cyber ass?
I could craft a doctorate thesis on the aspect of human nature as it pertains to cyber social interaction and emotion. Actually that right there, I just wrote my thesis statement.
I see it so much on FaceBook (to the effect):
Purporter: “I believe, that if we just join hands, we can work through our differences together.”
Responder: “Well, I believe that too, just not the need-to-join-hands part.”
Purporter: “Well you either agree with all of it or you don’t, you racist Godless piece of crap; I’ll kill you!”
In semi-secure anonymous realm of the Net, it can be zero-to-jugular in a second flat, and some folks are looking to shave off those last few tenths of a second from their last year’s olympic qualifying time. The Internet really is a double-edged cyber sword, isn’t it? You can chop someone down with a fore stroke, and slice yourself real good with the back stroke.
Isn’t it really such a magnificent fantasy world, that the internet creates for a select audience? ‘Be All You Can Be’ is a former US Army slogan. I offer this suggested slogan fit for the Internet: ‘Be Anything You Want to Be’.
Internet: Sam Slip-Knot can enter a chat room and pontificate about combat strategies in the Levant, boasting of his many ISIL fighter kills and bountiful booty plundered.
Reality: Sam Slip-Knot delivers pizzas in residential neighborhoods in Skunk Hollow, TN; he was once arrested for solicitation of a minor by an Internet predator sting.
Internet: Christopher Crap Stain, knows much more so than the mere knaves who populate his ‘Go Ask Chris’ blog, what really is the answer to racial tension, socio-economic inequality, and global warming.
Reality: Chris is 33, lives in his mothers basement, collects Nancy Drew mystery novels, and is known to frequently belt out Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody at the top of his lungs, whilst clad in Saran Wrap.
An Illusion of Privacy
Now that I am established in my position in the up-and-coming Counter Human Traffic (CHT) task force, I find myself inching closer to the avant garde technologies of secrecy and subversion. I am learning how to navigate the Net anonymously and stealthily… you know, with anonymous stealth. I use a tunnel with Point to Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP), then I encrypt the tunnel, then I put the tunnel onto a Virtual Private Network (VPN), and to trim it out I run the VPN through a Tor Browser; I’m a PPTP wrapped in a VPN stuffed in a Tor—Frank Abagnale couldn’t catch me!
Ah, you see there… all of this virtual crowding that the Net inflicts on us gives rise to a concern, one that we didn’t have years ago, for our personal privacy. I categorize two basic schools of thought on the pretense of modern privacy:
1.) Those conspiracy theorist who think the government is spying on us all with those street intersection speed cams that are actually looking through our car windows to record our conversations by lip reading like the freaking HAL-9000 computer.
Those are the same people who think the Russian Mafia is breaking into their gym lockers while they are on the Stair Master and rifling through their possessions .
Those are the same people who think robots are stealing their luggage at the airport.
Those, my friends, are the same people who think that the Zar and the Tsar are two different people.
They are one-and-the-same people who turn off their iPhones and pull out the SIM cards at Starbux so that the government can’t turn on and tap into their conversations while they chat you up about jack-freakin-squat!
They are clearly the same individuals who play loud music in their hotel rooms while they engage in a confidential conversation, then proceed to yell to be heard over the sound of music.
I have it on good faith with Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost that those people, are in fact, the same ones who run Surveillance Detection Routes (SDR) on their way to Quick Mart to buy a YooHoo and Snickers bar. They will never be safe enough, or happy.
2.) Those people who affect due diligence with regard to the safeguard of their personal information, but otherwise have nothing to hide.
“Did you hear that the government/FBI is monitoring our internet activity???”
“Oh, snap… then they know about the plot I am involved with to try and translate the song ‘Un Marinquin a Tout Mange’ Ma Belle’ into English on our Cajun French FaceBook page, and the set of one hundred vintage Richie Rich comic books I bought on E-Bay… Oh, and then there’s the troop of surplus Sam’s shopping carts I bought, also from E-Bay, neatly nested in the backyard. Certainly satellites have vectored in on them by now—turn on the porch light, dear; we’re about to have company!”
There was a remark I heard just yesterday from a highly savvy Internet guru: “It’s absurd to maintain that ‘having nothing to hide’ can be a reasonable assumption of privacy.” I belong to group two above, and I do also agree with the guru’s remark. I feel that having nothing to hide is safety, but not privacy.
Where then, pray tell, do I stand on the issue of modern personal privacy in today’s Dick Tracy, Spy vs Spy, Mission Impossible world? Ladies and gentlemen: I have, after great anguish and gnashing of teeth, fully resigned my subscription to the tenuous notion, that the government of the United States of America (from sea to shining sea) gives one tenth of a nominal gnat’s ass, about seeing me bite off my toenails with my teeth, and spitting them across the living room as far as I can… all while in my underwear.
I leave you with these parting words of a sage:
E-Bay, my friends, is a virtual garage sale, loosely based on Albrecht Einstein’s premiss that matter, can be neither created, nor destroyed. E-Bay has exponentially increased our resolve to retain our worthless junk for an eternity… just at somebody else’s house.
It puts me in mind of a fruitcake at Christmas (that’s right Christmas) time: there really only ever is one cake, that keeps getting passed on and on… it will never be gone; only the hope remains that when the music stops, you’re not the one stuck with the fruit cake.
I urge you too listen to this song written by Sir Paul McCarney in 1971, paying close attention to the lyrics. If the world was this bad in 1971, how can we ever stand it today?
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