My Irish Up: Privacy? What a quaint concept!

Mike Corrigan

Mike Corrigan

By Mike Corrigan

BN Columnist

Under considerable pressure already from the CIA, and fearing a drone strike from Mr. Trigger Happy, I have decided to release all of my electronic records to Eric Snowden. I’m sure he can be trusted to do the right thing with them.

What’s in the files? In the interests of public disclosure, which seems to be the only kind of disclosure there is anymore, here are the files I have sent to Snowden. I certify all records are complete and unedited. (If Eric doesn’t believe me, I guess he can check himself.) There are: 3,426 outgoing e-mails, 132,423 incoming e-mails, 37 postings on Facebook, 26 orders to Amazon and 260 tracking notifications from same, 68 “comments” to sports sites and 21 “comments” to Yahoo! stories (2 thumbs up, total), 304 jpgs of the subject’s cat, and a complete Web history under accounts through Internet Explorer (45,986 items, 94.3% of them to fantasy baseball sites, 5.6% contribution requests, 0.1% communications from friends, acquaintances and Barack Obama) and Safari (all 12,621 listed to fantasy baseball sites). Phone records (approximately 1 call out and 1 call in per week, all involving friends and family, except for three incoming calls from the White House asking for money; also six poorly-typed text messages, total, subjects incomprehensible, possibly in code? [Agent Y: FLAG texts for decryption!]

Who cares? Good question.

What now? Americans have willingly and without prior consideration put all the details of our private lives out into the public sphere. We (well, everyone except me, who is still stuck at the Trac-Fone stage) daily use our phones and other devices to schedule appointments, surf the net, babysit our infants, diagnose our cars and our own sore throats and track our own movements and those of our contacts to the nearest square inch. People report every 15 minutes on what they’re doing (“Number 2!”) and where they are (“Shopping for a new phone! Old one’s a week old, already. YES!”) There’s an app to track your friends, with points for shopping in the coolest stores and eating at the correct bistros. You can receive instant alerts on your (gulp; guilty) fantasy baseball roster. In fact, there’s an app for anything. Pretty soon there’ll be an app that will live our lives for us, and report back to us (and to everyone else in the universe, of course) on what fun we'd be having were we the ones actually having it.

All of this electronic flapdoodle has just happened, no one planned it. The Internet was never foreseen as a worldwide webby-type thing, repository of all facts, opinions and lies worth remembering, plus a who-o-o-ole lot of stuff not worth remembering. All of this, apparently — the recoverable phone calls, the messages between lovers, our purchasing histories, and way, way more — is out there. Yes, Agent Y, The Truth is out there. But so is The Lie. And every single e-mail, text, phone call, jpg of my cat and fantasy baseball transaction is out there too, in some ominous cloud, which can rain out facts and figures on all of us at the click of a button. All communications are recoverable by computer geeks who can then put the information gleaned (Hmm, he’s just picked up Ben Revere for three teams; better do that myself) to whatever purposes they want.

Still, I have a hunch that, since the number one listed “hobby” of Americans is shopping, the purpose will be to sell us something else we don't need.

Julian Asange, Bradley Manning, Eric Snowden. These people remind us that there are powerful forces, that desire to keep government secrets secret, and your secrets as public as they want to make them. So, the question should be: how much information that applies to average citizens should be easily available, without a warrant or probable cause or perhaps even with one, to police, CIA, the U.S. government, the Chinese government, and to even more sinister forces, such as Rupert Murdoch? Actually, the question is moot. Given enough time and geekish expertise, anyone, just starting from the information you trustingly provided Facebook — which you have noticed too late, is a lifetime, unclosable account — can know more about you in half an hour than you know yourself.

Still, we really ought to have a public discussion about this, as CIA leaker Snowden suggested — but we won’t. We’re too busy texting about the shrimp Creole at Raoul’s and laughing at downloaded jpgs of my cat, who, let’s face it, is quite the character. Privacy, what's that? Big Brother is watching, along with everyone else. Only criminals have something to hide, right?

Well, I have nothing to hide — which is why Snowden now has all my records. Check with him if you're interested. Or heck, just read what I write in the newspaper, it all comes out eventually. In this country, in this world, in these times, actually questioning anything means I’m a dead man walking, anyway. They'll make it look like a heart attack. (— “What was this one’s crime, Agent Y?” — “He argued repeatedly for an actual representative democracy, where everybody’s vote counted equally.” — “Oh my God, how clueless can you get?”)

No, it doesn’t matter, everything will be fine. Only the guilty will be monitored. Trust your government, and trust any other government or powerful entity that may be interested in your corner of the cloud. No biggie. Because if the government weren't killing or torturing someone in your name, it wouldn’t be Thursday. Or Friday. Whatever.

Please follow and like us: