I wonder what our world would look like if we had maintained the mindset of our early forefathers who fought so hard for freedom? Of course I know even then the soon-to-be-formed nation was split almost down the middle over whether to revolt against the King or try to work within the system. I am glad for the choices they made, but feel more than a bit let down by our handling of such a great inheritance. Since this is a radio blog I will not get into politics (or history), except to say our modern culture’s willingness to give up freedom for safety is disheartening. As Benjamin Franklin famously said, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
Once again I see a report about another encroachment upon freedom, like so many others in recent years. Freedom and privacy are all but forgotten concepts these days, and we are willing participants in their demise. Of course the irony is not lost on me–I have the freedom to write this, which is a good thing; but I also know it is now stored forever in a multitude of places, and who knows when something I write might someday come back and bite me in the tuckus. One of the things I like so much about radio is the relative privacy it gives. Obviously anyone listening in on a particular frequency can hear what is being said, but how many people actually listen to simplex frequencies or their 2-meter rigs or their mobiles?
The same is true for HF – there may be someone somewhere listening to a conversation on a particular frequency (I listen to others a lot on HF) but it is still relatively private. I do not mean to imply I need the privacy–I just like the idea of privacy as our forefathers did. No doubt the NSA and the CIA and a dozen other government entities are listening to all of the bands all of the time since recording whole swaths of spectrum is as easy as 1,2,3 these days, but in general, there is likely not a written record of what we say on the air.
A story I ran across this morning just underscores how little privacy we have in the modern world, and it is all being done in the name of security:
Britain Seeks Greater Access To Citizens’ Online Activity
Wed, 11/04/2015 – 9:09am by The Associated Press
In reality ever since computers became a part of our lives privacy was doomed. It may surprise some folks to learn the Kroger cards we use (or whatever brand of grocery shopping discount card you use) is designed to track our purchases to tailor both the advertisements and the coupons based on our shopping habits, but also the aggregated information is also sold around the world to determine who buys what, how to target specific shopping demographics, and much much more. The information can also be used by law enforcement types to track behaviors and personal habits. Might we someday get a knock at our door from a “well-meaning” government-sponsored nutritionist with suggestions on how we can eat better? Or maybe future insurance acceptance will include a review of our nutritional purchases available on computer because everything we purchase using our cards is on file.
Of course I am just letting my imagination run away with me, but can you imagine what someone like Hitler or Stalin or Marx would have done with the information available to them from the computer data available today?! I wonder what Russia does with all of the information it receives???
Oh well, this is, after all, just a blog about radio. Hopefully my radio isn’t transmitting every frequency I have listened to or transmitted on back to some secret remote government location! Makes me just want to fire up my old “boat anchor” and play some good old-fashioned radio! Cheers! Robert