Land of the Watched and the Home of the Monitored

Lately I’ve been reading more and more stories about domestic electronic surveillance carried out by American authorities under the auspices of the Patriot Act. Apparently the U.S. government can tap your phone, monitor your movements via your cell phone, and read your e-mail, without notifying you and without a warrant. American library users should know that your use of library computers, your borrowing records, and your interlibrary loans [the latter was a hoax] are also being monitored without your knowledge or consent.

What surprises me is that anyone is surprised by this. Hasn’t anyone read 1984? Poor Orwell. He tried.

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13 comments on “Land of the Watched and the Home of the Monitored

  1. Susan says:

    The Dartmouth student has confessed that his story was a hoax–check DailyKos archives for the latest details.
    I've been rereading 1984–I've had Orwell on my mind for the last few years and this wiretapping thing definitely smacks of Big Brother. I think it's safe to assume our calls and emails to our daughter while she lived abroad were probably monitored.
    I'm hoping for an impeachment but I don't think it will happen unless Congress takes a shift toward the left in the next election.

  2. Sylvia says:

    Great. Just what we need, a prankster to make the left look paranoid. Sigh.

  3. Stefanie says:

    Even though the Dartmouth thing was a hoax it doesn't make me any less paranoid. It bothers me immensely that I even pause a moment to think about books I request from the library and what it might look like. I re-read 1984 about 2 years ago and it was so much more terrifying than when I'd read it the first time in 1984.
    I'm hoping for impeachment too Susan.

  4. Susan says:

    What gets me most about the library thing is that it is nothing more than an invasion of privacy. Anyone who wants to put knowledge found in library materials to ill use is much more likely to simply takes notes on the material, photocopy it, or steal it than check it out and have it on their record. Ineffective plus unconstitutional–sums up this administration's approach, doesn't it?
    That stupid Dartmouth student was probably trying to come up with an excuse for turning in a late assignment. Blame it on the Feds!

  5. Sylvia says:

    “Ineffective plus unconstitutional”
    I think that's what you get when a government is founded on ideology rather than reality. No doubt that's what Orwell was warning us about.

  6. I'm not so sure those librarians will give up their information without a fight – they are a tough bunch when it comes to personal privacy and the freedom to read. I can imagine them devising some terribly clever evasive technology, maybe a data jammer tucked away in their tightly wrapped bun activated by poking a pencil into their hair!

  7. Sylvia says:

    Ah yes, we mustn't discount the Power of the Bun! πŸ˜‰

  8. Susan says:

    Um, trying to think of a single person in the library where I work who wears her hair in a bun. . .
    can't do it. The world's doomed, doomed I say!

  9. Stefanie says:

    Folks at my library don't have buns either. They all either have piercings, tattoos, or glasses, some have all three πŸ™‚ We also have a metal kinetic sculpture in my library. I'll bet the clever bunless librarians have rigged it as an FBI security warning device or something πŸ˜‰

  10. KaneCitizen says:

    Hasn't anyone read 1984? Poor Orwell. He tried.
    The Oakland Tribune is having a drive to collect 535 used copies of 1984 so they can send one to each member of Congress.

  11. Sylvia says:

    Wow, that's excellent. I'll have to find a copy to send. Thanks for that, Kane.
    If anyone else is interested, the full address is:
    Oakland Tribune
    401 13th St.
    Oakland CA 94612

  12. bayareapolitics says:

    The Tribune will continue collecting copies of 1984 through the end of January… although copies have come in from across the nation, more are needed. Please help! 401 13th St., Oakland CA 94612

  13. Sylvia says:

    It just so happens I sent my copy yesterday. I'll post a notice about this.

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