I always thought that George Orwell stuff was ridiculous. If you recall, his book “1984” was published in 1949 and depicted a society suffering from perpetual war, mind control of the masses and incessant government surveillance. Sound familiar?
Really, when the creators of America went about the work of building a new nation, they never imagined the lives that we now lead. We send fifty-page documents by e-mail quicker than it took them to manufacture just one sheet of paper. We also have the ability to communicate instantaneously with the entire world.
“One if by land, two if by sea” has been replaced by handheld devices that serve as cell phones, music players and — believe it or not — GPS tracking devices. That’s right, there are 277 million of us that use cell phones, and because of them our government can know exactly where we are at all times. And, to people living under the jurisdiction of the U.S. 9th district court, Big Brother doesn’t even need a warrant to spy on you.
This bizarre reduction in our American rights began in 2007 when the DEA sneaked onto the property of a suspected marijuana grower and attached a GPS tracking device to the undercarriage of his Jeep. A three-judge panel ruled that the DEA had every right to do so. They also violated his 4th Amendment rights by searching his house without asking for legal permission.
The judges ruled that since the defendant’s driveway was not fenced in, anyone — including a child trying to retrieve a ball or a delivery person leaving a package — could have access to his vehicle. That, they ruled, meant that he could not expect a right to privacy even though it was on his property. That, they say, gave the government the right to enter his driveway and do whatever they wanted to his car.
I have friends that say that only those with something to hide are concerned with privacy rights. But I have a carport behind my house. It’s frightening to know that as I write this, they might be under my car right now in hopes of tracking everywhere that I drive this week. That should scare you, too.
I have nothing to hide, but my vote helped elect the people that make the laws. They are supposed to work for us. Instead, they have created a system that allows them to take our money before we touch it (taxes), invade our homes without checks and balances, and to start and finish wars regardless of our opinion. It reminds me of why we separated from England in the first place.
The bad news for our government, though, is that if American citizens decide to rebel like our forefathers, and the government moves to put us on lockdown, we will learn about it on Twitter long before they show up.
— Eric Mayberry is president of SmartBoy Enterprises, a media and entertainment firm in Philadelphia. To take The Big Brain Challenge and debate this column, go to www.hugebrain.net.
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