Hijaking the American Conciousness…Are Facebook’s Privacy Settings Alarming?

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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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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?

“From Thine Own Well” by Norm Hamilton…#BookReviews

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About the Book

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They said it couldn’t happen here—but it did!
Water resources have become scarce and individual freedoms cast off. A society has been brought to its knees by a series of FIPA agreements. Economic ruin, contaminated watersheds, earthquakes and human relationships paint the picture of a Canadian society that has been altered, seemingly irrevocably.

Those international accords effectively brought the Canadian government to collapse and ruin—forced into dependency on corporatist rule. Unrestricted fracking and irresponsible mining practices caused major watersheds and underground streams to become contaminated, the precious fluid, noxious.

The sole purpose of The Coalition, a regulatory body created by the world-wide conglomerates that governs the country, is to ensure the profitability of its corporate members.

In Yukon, Canada’s far north, a baker’s dozen of unknown, everyday people and one dog are loosely thrown together in an effort to combat The Coalition and its impact on Canadian lives and the environment. Though small in numbers, their resolve is immense … and palpable.

The representatives of The Coalition vie for power and status while attempting to maintain control of the populace. Their numbers include those who would dispose of the others and some who, in spite of themselves, find love.

The Yukoners include a married couple, young singles and elders. The action-filled scenes are interspersed with tender moments and imaginative solutions while relationships bloom within their ranks. Together they confront the corporate menace.

Join Landon, Nora, Galen and the others who, through no design of their own, have become the unwitting hope for Canada’s future.

The year is 2036 …

Review

heartratingfilledheartratingfilledheartratingfilledheartratingfilledheartratingnotfilled

4 out of 5 loves

It is always exciting for a writer to take on a political, social or environmental issue in their work. Norm Hamilton does, just this, as he chronicles the struggles of the people of the Yukon against “The Agreement”—a contract that allows Chinese businesses to extract natural resources from Canada without regulation–and “The Coalition”—the group of people who protect this right.

Although it may seem to be a cautionary tale for the dangers of destroying the environment, there is much more to it than that. Hamilton highlights what “could” be the downfalls of society if “lust for money” becomes a motivation for people and countries to destroy themselves in pursuit of a fat checkbook and a prominent seat in the world market.

What is more important is that “From Thine Own Well” accomplishes all this while still being a really great story. It’s never slow, never boring and doesn’t at all feel “preachy” to me. All in all, I think this is a really great addition to the Dystopian genre and would recommend it to anybody who enjoyed reading “The Giver”.

You can find the book on paperback and kindle at Amazon.

AND…as an added bonus, anyone who comments on this tour post will be entered to win a FREE Ebook copy of this novel!!!!

About the Author

Norm Hamilton (1951-) lived in Whitehorse, Yukon for 40 years and is currently normresiding on Vancouver Island with his wife, Anna, where he is meeting people and experiencing new adventures to write about. He is a writer and a photographer and is currently enjoying Lack Cowichan, B.C.

Norm has written one non-fiction book, “The Digital Eye.” It is a compilation of articles for people wanting to improve their photography skills or for those who want to learn digital photography.

His latest project is a novel titled, “From Thine Own Well,” a story about a dystopian Canadian society, brought about by unrestricted gas fracking and irresponsible mining techniques. It all began with a FIPI agreement in 2012 that left the federal government open to lawsuits-that they lost.

Norm’s books are available in paperback and Kindle at Amazon.

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