Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Good Ways to Catch the Attention of Homeland Security

Just how paranoid are you? Have you ever stopped a moment before signing a petition because you thought that would get you on a government watchlist? Do you suspect that the FBI is monitoring your internet usage? I have to admit that I wonder if the government knows that I'm a member of Amnesty International or the ACLU. According to this press release, the FBI is keeping files on the ACLU and other organizations. I think that it is safe to be a member of Amnesty International, though; they won the Nobel Peace Prize several years ago. Last night, I googled how to make homemade bombs. Besides tempting fate and possible FBI interest, I wanted to find out whether or not it was an overhyped media story. Well, no, it's not. In about 15 minutes, I found a website with recipes for different types of explosives, detonators, timing devices, advice for concealing bombs, etc. As I have a B.Sc. in chemistry, I wouldn't recommend trying out any of these recipes without seriously researching the subject since God only knows what kind of loonies wrote this. Still, some of the directions looked plausible. Is there spyware on my computer that is secretly recording every keystroke? Is Microsoft gathering this data and turning me in to the NSA? All countries face the problem of balancing freedom vs. security. The Patriot Act contains a good many provisions to intimidate citizens without providing any gain in safety. However, I am not sure if any government agency is actually using these laws in a substantial way to curtail civil rights. The FBI is pretty lame compared to the Gestapo or Romania's Securitate. They're undergoing massive restructuring, loss of authority and a $100 million botched computer system upgrade. I don't worry that a government agency is out to get me. I'm not important enough. Damned few people are important enough to justify the resources required for surveillance. No security service has ever existed that could spy on everyone all the time. In the grim example of Romania's Securitate, citizens were so indoctrinated and fearful that they reported their own neighbors for suspicious activity, but that still required the government to investigate, arrest, interrogate, etc. It is far more efficient to intimidate the majority of citizens into slavishly obeying the law by making a few well-publicized examples. Go ahead and sign petitions, write critical letters to the media, attend protests, and generally bitch and complain about the government. They can't put everyone in jail. If you don't exercise your rights now, that encourages the government to curtail our freedoms.


Blogger Jeff Huber said...


And that's precisely the motivation behind the phony-baloney Patriot Act: to make the general public afraid to protest.

Good deducing!


7/28/2005 08:21:00 AM  

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