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I want to believe President Obama when he says that secretly obtained phone and computer records will not be abused to harass the general public.
But I wonder.
I fully understand the war on terrorism calls for deep searches into people’s backgrounds and that many potential attacks have been thwarted because of them.
But what I’m afraid of is that we’ve taken one more step toward what George Orwell described as “Big Brother is watching” in his famous book “1984.”
We have no proof the information will be used for anything other than thwarting terrorism, but how do we know?
I hate to sound like some paranoid conspiracy theorist here, but what assurances do we have that future holders of such information won’t take it to a personal or political level?
Will someone knock on our door some day and ask why our relative chose to write their term paper about Osama Bin Laden?
Ironically, Bin Laden almost stopped using electronics entirely after he realized the United States was on to him. He understood the quickest way to get scrutinized was to communicate via the airwaves.
Sure, electronics have infinitely helped the spy business but huge databases can now be gleaned easily for all the wrong reasons.
The recent performances we’ve seen come out of Washington D.C. shrouded in politics does not exactly make me comfortable with pronouncements that we should blindly trust bureaucrats and Congressman with personal records.
We need to ensure that what Obama said is going on is exactly what’s going on and no more.
I don’t have a magic wand or idea to accomplish that. But I think the federal government owes it to taxpayers to forge laws or policies to ensure its credibility.
Otherwise, we have a wide open window for current and future government officials to make Orwell’s fiction a modern reality.