Snowdon, Assange and Our Insatiable Quest

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June 25, 2013 by UtahMan&Wife

“Privacy” is all relative these days. Do any of us honestly expect to have very much of it in our digital age? Furthermore, do we really WANT privacy? Humans seem to have an insatiable quest to be known, and to make our voices heard. We want validation and recognition. We want a sense of importance, or at least substance. We have blogs, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, RSS Subscriptions, chat groups…the accounts and social media network options we connect with are endless!

Social Media Week 2012 SP

Social Media Week 2012 SP (Photo credit: Fora do Eixo)

Some folks have such an insatiable craving for popularity and fame, they will go to any length for attention – whether for good or ill. (pick your pop star) Other folks just find comfort in being digitally connected and sharing their brief sojourn on earth (UtahMan’s 80-year-old mother). I read today people check in & post on their Facebook an average of 6.5 hrs out of an 8 hr day! [The Great Defriending of Facebook, RYOT.org] people  (seriously?) Apparently so. According to my own personal cell phone stats, I spent the vast majority of my data plan last month using my Facebook app (due to tour I actually racked up overage charges. No shocker there. Guilty as charged)

FBI Headquarters.

FBI Headquarters. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Should we really be dismayed to learn our Government is collecting all our info and spying on us? Is that any different than Joe-the-hermit down the street looking through our photos, or Asad-the-baker in Qatar reading our Twitter feed? I guess we would like to pick and choose how our information is being shared and used. But, the ability to control our public presence is a fantasy. As soon as we boot up our computer and log into the World Wide Web, we’re broadcasting ourselves to the universe – sharing our “secrets” and info to the highest bidder (or, at least to anyone actually caring to notice). Even if we never got onto a computer, we are not immune. Grocery stores are tracking our purchases. Hidden security cameras are tracking our movements. Random people on the street are streaming videos or posting Instagram pics at any given moment with us potentially standing in the background. Unless we go live in an ice cave in Antarctica, we’re not going to be invisible.

Antarctica kayakers

Antarctica kayakers (Photo credit: Polar Cruises)

(Random Thought: Is the Witness protection program still actually operational?! Maybe they send everyone to Antarctica…)

Therefore, I find it laughably ironic that our Government expects to live by any different standard. “State Secrets”, “confidential”, “top secret”. Really?!? Not gonna happen. Unless, of course, they imprison or kill everyone who attempts to leak stuff first…

Enter stage left, Ed Snowdon. The “one who got away” (so far). Talk about a major case of USA “vendetta complex” going down! Can you imagine how much of our tax money and resources are being totally wasted right now trying to hunt one little computer nerd? Is it REALLY worth damaging major International relations and offending some major countries over this 1 man-child?

Truly mind boggling.

Message from UtahWife: “Attention, FBI / CIA / any other government spy acronym! Get a grip. There is NO WAY one attention-seeking guy – an independent contractor no less – has gathered enough “secret” info to topple the entire American government! (And you know it) He’s embarrassed your pride. He’s made you look like the sneaky bumblers you are. Some of you are going to lose your jobs over this. Hauling him off to a deep dark prison cell and/or “eliminating the problem” isn’t going to help the situation. Just sayin’. Now give it up and get back to work.” [P.S. Motherly Tip – If you choose to operate ethically, you’ll have nothing worth hiding in the future]

hmmm…Government + Ethics = In the words of Daffy Duck, “Ha Ha, It is to laugh”.

Daffy Duck and Marvin the Martian

Daffy Duck and Marvin the Martian (Photo credit: Mark Gilmour)

Discussion Questions:

#1. Do you think the FBI and other government institutions have the right to bar us from knowing what they’re up to?

#2. Do you think said government institutions have a right to prosecute (ie silence / torture / hide) anyone who dares to leak their info? (Is there a point, really? Creating “scare tactics” for future would-be leakers seems to just be creating an irresistible challenge). Furthermore, How much leaking of info is too much info? Who draws the line? Who gets to set “the rules”? [What ARE the rules?!?]

Quoting WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in today’s NYTimes:

“[The Justice Dept] and its accompanying FBI investigation are blinded by their zeal to get rid of publishers who speak truth to power. They believe US agencies can flout laws, coerce people into becoming informants, steal our property, and detail our alleged sources, without trial.”

English: Julian Assange at New Media Days 09 i...

English: Julian Assange at New Media Days 09 in Copenhagen. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He has a point. Do you agree? What say you, fellow humans? (not that anyone actually reads our blog…but, in case you, Joe or Asad happen to glance this way – just feel free to chime in) – Wife

P.S. On another random note: Happy Blog-iversary to us! WP just sent us a little digital trophy to commemorate our one year anniversary of creating this blog. Which means, one year ago we started officially tracking our weight-loss journey and fitness transformation. Wow. What a difference a year can make, huh?! You can check out our first blog post here.

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