I’m working on a Dystopian novel, right now (I know, who isn’t). Not surprisingly, the story is centered around government control and the role of technology in all this (and of course, keeping to my writing style, there are religious and spiritual undertones to it, as well). With this in mind, I thought I would respond to an alarming story reported, right here on WordPress, which seems to be getting some notice on my FB feed.
Let me start out by saying that this is not a new news story. Although the blog post was written on August 7, 2014, the story was originally reported by the Huffington Post on December 1, 2013. I have linked that article but I will not call out the blogger who rehashed the story, because that’s not cool.
So, what’s the hubbub?
The story reports that the Facebook Messenger App is a personal security risk, because of the permissions you accept when you install the app. Verbatim, those permissions are:
- Allows the app to change the state of network connectivity
- Allows the app to call phone numbers without your intervention. This may result in unexpected charges or calls. Malicious apps may cost you money by making calls without your confirmation.
- Allows the app to send SMS messages. This may result in unexpected charges. Malicious apps may cost you money by sending messages without your confirmation.
- Allows the app to record audio with microphone. This permission allows the app to record audio at any time without your confirmation.
- Allows the app to take pictures and videos with the camera. This permission allows the app to use the camera at any time without your confirmation.
- Allows the app to read you phone’s call log, including data about incoming and outgoing calls. This permission allows apps to save your call log data, and malicious apps may share call log data without your knowledge.
- Allows the app to read data about your contacts stored on your phone, including the frequency with which you’ve called, emailed, or communicated in other ways with specific individuals.
- Allows the app to read personal profile information stored on your device, such as your name and contact information. This means the app can identify you and may send your profile information to others.
- Allows the app to access the phone features of the device. This permission allows the app to determine the phone number and device IDs, whether a call is active, and the remote number connected by a call.
- Allows the app to get a list of accounts known by the phone. This may include any accounts created by applications you have installed
Users are flocking to uninstall the app and citing their rage…informing their friends….placing a little piece of tape over their cell phone cameras and microphones…setting up late at night wondering what sensitive information the government has gotten their hands on…looking out the window for the swat team to arrive on the lawn, at any minute…barring doors and windows….You know, the basic protocol that is required for such instances.
Not so fast, McDuck
Now, don’t get me wrong, I believe in a healthy amount of distrust for the government and I admire the gusto of the American people as it pertains to personal security issues…but I’m way too old to buy into this shit. Firstly, we cannot buy into the fact that the Facebook Messenger App is solely to blame for the sensitivity of our personal security.
I have long-since accepted that everything is Public. If you own a computer or a cell phone, your personal security is as risk. If you have a profile on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, ect…if you have a WordPress blog, your information is “shared”. If you go to the grocery store, convenience store, bank or otherwise step outside your door, (it’s very likely) that you’re being recorded.
This is the world that we live in. Do we have to like it? No, we don’t but what can we do about it? You have chosen to be born at a time in history where nothing is private….so why are we so alarmed when we find out, in fact, that nothing is private? The only choice you have, if you want a private life, is to go completely off the grid. If you chose to do this, you would have no way of subjecting yourself to Huffington Garbage articles. Congratulations, you are free of paranoia (except, of course, the paranoia that exists regarding being eaten alive or freezing to death in the dead of winter).
Secondly, In order to really buy into the hype, I would have to assume a few things.
- I would have to assume that I’m doing something wrong. What is gained by the US government spying on my every move; listening to my conversations; or generally knowing what I’m up to on a day to day basis? All I have to say is that someone out there has about a million shots of me writing on the toilet, walking around in my underwear, and doing fingerpaints with my children…riveting stuff this is…and because I’m not the leader of a drug cartel, I really don’t care if anyone knows exactly what goes on in my life 24 hours a day.
- I would have to assume that the government (or whoever) actually gives a shit about me. I’m pretty sure, with the billions of people in America who “live the public life”, that I’m pretty low on the radar, here. My credit score is in the crapper so good luck to the poor sap who tries to steal my identity. I’m pretty much a hermit and I think I lead the most boring life on the planet. I’m not a drug lord or pedophile…I think that whoever it is that is accessing our lives has bigger fish to fry than the single mom starving artist.
That I don’t want my life to be public. Maybe this is specific to the artists, writers and bloggers out there that actually want to be known. I spend a lot of time trying to draw attention to the things that I post online. I want to be known…I want to be heard. I want people to care about what I have to say. This really is the beautiful thing about the technological and interconnected society in which we exist. So, I would like to speak directly to the Lords Of The Internet here…If you’re listening….if you’re really watching my every move, could you please make sure that a couple hundred thousand (or billion) internet users would do the same? Thank you, AC Willis….
The Real Issues At Hand
So, once you settle on the fact that your enrollment in society ensures that you are part of a real live Truman Show, you can begin to look at the real issues at hand, here. The real issue is Propaganda. I haven’t quite wrapped my brain around the hijacking of American consciousness by the enemy (the internet) and American media. When I see my friends and followers flock toward what I refer to as garbage news sites, I have to SMH at them. I have learned that any news story which plays directly into the fear and hate that has been instilled in the hearts of my fellow Americans is far more profitable than any message of hope, love or unity.
I almost feel like we’re in a huge time machine and we’re moving backward…erasing all the progress that has been made in the avenues of higher level thought…and replacing all the walls that have been knocked down, regarding the tolerance of anyone who is not one of “us” (“us” being the target audience for fear based propaganda…I will not make a guess there, because we all know the “us” I’m talking about). We are, now, nearing a point of segregation not seen in American since the turn of the century and popular news outlets and religious groups are more than happy to feed into this.
Any citizen who buys into it is nothing more than a puppet in the largest societal magic show in the world. It’s basic slight of hand…Whoever is controlling the information (whether it’s the government, private political parties, or corporations) is saying “Look here”…and we’re looking. Meanwhile, the true crimes against our society lay blanketed below the fog of hate and fear that we feel for one another….below the paranoia we feel on daily basis…
I have free will and so I am able to post this…I am able to tap out of the collective unconsciousness of my own society and open my eyes. I am able to see what is really happening…I am able to decipher the truth for myself and share my ideas with others. I am free but only because I don’t believe everything I read on the internet…only because I think for myself.
We will never change things if we are not united…I have said it a million times…but again, there’s really nobody out there who is listening, is there?