“I’m looking through you, where did you go? I thought I knew you, what did I know? You’re thinking of me the same old way, you were above me but not today.” — The Beatles.
Back in ’89 while the Berlin Wall was coming down, the East German people, who were so tired of be spied and informed upon by the massive state security apparatus (Stasi) which had one in every six people in the country on the payroll keeping tabs on the rest, broke out and spontaneously marched upon the headquarters. They broke in and joyfully vandalized the place. They threw files out the windows, smashed portraits of Lenin and had a party like some kids today do when their parents are away, albeit on a grander scale.
Even my 82-year-old mother said that if she were there, she would have been delighted to put her sensible shoes though a picture of Honecker, the president at the time. Imagine if you will, Queen Elizabeth laying the boots to a picture of Hitler.
Technology is better now in that there are more bugging devices and cameras to get real-time intelligence on the public, but the mindset that the state needs not only to keep an eye on the pulse of the people but is justified in prying into their lives seems ingrained at the federal level. Are they trying to hide something? Perhaps out of control spending? Unsustainable pension obligations? Reckless expense accounts? It doesn’t matter. They want to spy with their little eyes.
The phone hacking scandals in Britain, the American IRS and National Security Agency, the Canadian CSIS, plus all the crime shows on the telly all paint different pictures of some perceived need for information but the question remains — why on the sly? Why not phone someone and ask, “What’s up with you?” and let them know they’re being watched rather than categorize everyone as an agent against society. Most people just want to get on with their lives and if the government wants answers, let them call. We’re used to it. Canada Revenue and Customs Agency can get anything from anyone anytime, except of course straight answers from senators.
We’re used to intrusion and my answer to them is: show everything. Lay it out. The big banks, cable companies, Telus, BC Hydro, ICBC and all the others want info and get it just so we can access their services, so what’s the problem? Give the security folks so much info that they, like the Stasi, they are overwhelmed by it all.
Privacy laws seem to cover for crooks and bad guys but what do we, as normal people, need to hide? If someone wants to plaster a 30-year-old picture of me smoking a doob on the Burf, go ahead. You get the picture.
But, if some malcontent wants to drastically alter things by blowing up the BC Legislature, or setting fires to create work, I say let them be spied upon. I’ve got nothing to hide, not like those Stanley Cup rioters.
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