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RIGHT TO PRIVACY VANISHES IN THE U.S.

by Doretta Wildes, ©2013, blogging at DorettaWildes

(Jun. 12, 2013) — I have always disliked large public lavatories, even the clean ones. The constant flushing noises, the echoes, the odors, the leering mirrors, the knowledge that strangers can hear and observe your personal business. I’d imagine it’s far worse for men.

I’ve been struck lately by how very much our current techno-culture resembles a public lav. Our culture’s deadly combination of vanity and exposure so like the mirrors beneath a shock of fluorescent light. And you never know who’s hovering over your stall, watching, recording, targeting.

“How dreary – to be – Somebody!” Emily Dickinson wrote in her paean to obscurity. In our time, it’s dreary to be anybody, because the protective cloak of privacy, along with the fourth amendment, has been torn forever from us.

The past week’s revelations about the NSA and the corporations that collaborate with such agencies certainly remove any doubt that, to the false gods of the state apparatus, the citizen is a corpse to be examined: vulnerable, exploitable, devoid of consciousness. Naked. At least God had the good grace to hand Adam and Eve some clothes.

What is it about voyeurism that keeps it safe from recognition as a cardinal evil? It’s more likely to evoke titters than censure, on par with sexual exhibitionism, which has become the media-imposed norm, the craving of the quietly desperate.

Yet, voyeurism is not just the seamy side of megalomania. It is megalomania, the perpetrator a ravening madman, dripping drool on your diary.

And yet, simply revealing what our government has become–a drooling, megalomaniac crime network–could get the hero of the day, Edward Snowden, murdered.

Snowden is the young genius who exchanged his comfortable, voyeuristic position as an infrastructure analyst with the NSA for that of a truth-telling fugitive. He exposed PRISM, a surveillance technology that his employer and the FBI have used to download everyone’s personal and social media files and illegally tap and record everyone’s phone conversations. It out-monsters everything Orwell wrote about, with an appetite for data that grows more voracious over time.

Snowden, young though he is, apparently began to detect the millstone around his neck. To quote him:

“I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. That is not something I am willing to support or live under.”

“I don’t want to live in a world where there’s no privacy, and therefore no room for intellectual exploration and creativity.”

Note the word “creativity,” because that, along with much else, is a targeted enemy of the state, whether presided over by an Obama or a Bush or a Clinton. Human creativity poses as great a threat as faith itself.

Listen to Snowden offer a factual, coherent statement in the face of chilling personal endangerment by clicking here.

Technology works both ways. Fortunately, a company called ixQuick currently offers a web browser (Startpage) that doesn’t sell out to government agencies. To come is a new impermeable email service that you can sign up for.

Eluding the public prison/toilet that life in the US has become won’t be easy, but like anything worth the trouble, it’s a project that deserves the best in each of us. More than technology, it will require a steadfast state of mind, one that isn’t sidetracked by flattery or fear. Not all of us will make it out. But for those who do, how wonderful it will be simply to vanish–assuming the rightful status of private personhood, that of the creative, faithful Nobody.

I wish all of us, including Snowden, the very best of luck.

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