There have been a number of stories in the news lately that, on their own, may not appear to be related. But if you think about the common thread, I think there should be pause for concern.
As you may have heard, a number of Hollywood actors and actresses had their iCloud-stored nude selfies hacked, stolen and presented on the Internet for all to see.
Also within the past few months, the government’s healthcare enrollment site, healthcare.gov, was hacked in July, according to the government.
Meanwhile, players in the NFL and corporate CEO’s (among others) are paying steep prices for sharing their thoughts on gays in football and gay marriage, respectively. And NBA owners are losing their teams while some newspapers won’t even print the Washington Redskins’ team name anymore (you know… the Redskins). In short, when one is afraid to share an opinion for fear of offending anyone – and especially the penalties that can come with it – we have effectively arrived at thought control.
Privacy is gone, and we have been willing enablers. We all enthusiastically jump on Twitter or Facebook to share every detail of our lives. We all have our own blogs (irony alert) where we put all of our thoughts (more irony) for everyone to see.
And where we aren’t volunteering it, the government is insisting on moving all of our healthcare and personal records to digital format where they can be shared, and consequently accessed, by anyone.
Many think those who are afraid of what might happen to ones digital footprint are paranoid conspiracy theorists. They think they’re just one small person and who would notice them. But tell that to those who got involved in politics through the Tea Party.
In an effort to stop, or discredit, the Tea Party surge, the administration had the IRS refuse status to many of these groups and unnecessarily targeted them for audits in other cases.
Unlike our major political parties, the Tea Party wasn’t a group of establishment elites. There was a lot of grass roots support – people who didn’t expect to have their names on anything like it.
This scandal should serve as a reminder, if not an education, to all about what the government can do with all of the information that is out there on you. I know many are inclined to think it could never happen to them. But it can.
We like to assume our Presidents are nice people. We hope they have our best interests at heart. We don’t like to speculate that our elected officials are capable of evil.
But that’s what German citizens in the 1930s thought. Hitler was enthusiastic and had a cause. He gave the people a rally cry, and it was all about a strong Germany. But none of those people could have foresaw the Night of the Long Knives.
In preparation for the Night of the Long Knives, Hitler had identified those who might oppose or resist his movement. He fingered people who could possibly lead a movement of their own, and he had as many of them killed as he could. In the end, hundreds were killed and thousands more were arrested.
This happened. And it happened while the whole world sat silently by… until it was too late. And he did it without anywhere near the information we have available to us now about nearly every resident of the country.
If you saw Captain America: Winter Soldier, you know this was the premise of that movie. As a Marvel action movie, it might be easy to discount it as eye candy. But the real story behind it is that in this age of digital records, it would be easy to identify and predict those who may rise up or resist any sort of government power grab. The villains in the movie created a way to systematically kill those people in the millions.
Imagine if Hitler came to power today. His Night of the Long Knives could have gone very differently.
Meanwhile, you have Obama hellbent on destroying the Republican Party, and the Republican afraid or unwilling to fight back or make any kind of case at all for their philosophy.
Remember when Obama told a crowd “if they bring a knife, we bring a gun.” Sure, he meant this figuratively, but it does illustrate just how aggressive and passionate he gets when it comes to tearing down conservatives. Have you ever seen him that passionate about terrorism, illegal immigration or even ebola?
At this point, many start seeing paranoid fantasy. It’s hard not to. But what if? When anyone noticed, would it be too late?
These news stories and events trickle by us one at a time. But at some point, people need to start taking a holistic view and see the pattern emerging. It’s not just about Obama. There’s a lot of power to be had in our collective digital information. I’m not sure I trust anyone with that kind of power.