Second film of the evening: “Terms and Conditions May Apply”

Currently watching this on Netflix, pausing to create this post. Yes, I am in quite a movie-watching mood again lately.

Film’s trailer:

There are probably free versions of this documentary out circulating around for those who care to search.

I am familiar with the debate over internet privacy and corporate submission to government when it comes to storing and sharing our information. This has definitely been a concern in the U.S. since 9/11/01 and then the passage of the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act by G.W. The topic used to scare the hell out of me several years back, but now I guess you could say I’m more used to the unease that comes with living in an emerging surveillance society. Certainly not okay with it, and it continues to distress me, hence why I don’t utilize most social networking sites. Haven’t been on Facebook since 2011. Never signed up for or used Instagram or Flickr and will not. Use twitter simply for sharing links and blog post titles. No longer on Pinterest and mostly used it for sharing and storing recipes when I was. Only use one professional social networking site and barely interact on there. BUT, not like that matters much when I do use Google products: for example, Search and Youtube. You can run but have fun figuring out how to hide online these days.

My thinking on this is mixed. On one hand, it doesn’t seem right that we should live in fear and censor ourselves out of distrust of our government. If they want information, I say overload them with crap to where we all wind up looking like a bunch of terrorists. Have fun sorting it all out, boys.  uh_oh  Fuck ’em.

But, on the other hand, I don’t have enough faith in my fellow citizens that they will rebel in such a fashion, which might leave a relative minority of us out here looking like the odd people out. Which then might draw unwanted attention from sources we wish to avoid. Being law-abiding doesn’t necessarily matter when it’s come down to preemptive action taken on the part of our government in a claimed attempt to prevent crimes from occurring. Meaning no crime needs to have been committed yet. You just have to look sufficiently suspicious to those who happen to be looking in on you. As one eccentric out here in the crowd, I don’t like the sound of that. Almost makes a person want to curl up in a hole and cut off interaction with most of the outside world aside from direct person-to-person communication with close friends if it must be this way. But alas, good luck trying to do that either since you must work and most of our jobs do involve engaging in online activity. And some of us are notoriously bad about keeping our pie-holes shut, whether online or offline.

Pushing for the government to remedy this problem is like asking the coyote to protect the hen house. Not likely to turn out as you hope. And this is the problem with Big Corporate and Government fusion occurring across all sectors and the lobbying efforts that continuously undermine the values of our political system and its process. It’s bullshit, I know. Hence why we better start thinking outside of the box since the old ways of protesting and petitioning for new legislation simply won’t cut it going forward. Though I won’t claim to have a clear idea of what alternative(s) might work. Just know that we have to get innovative in terms of creating them. Because we’re living in a new world with new rules. Seems we’re overdue on coming up with new responses and forms of resistance.

Or perhaps resistance is futile and it is coming down to being about every person for him/herself. Maybe. I won’t claim to know. Sounds pretty frickin’ Orwellian, if you ask me, but that’s my classic response to this sort of crap. Plenty of folks like to assume that they’re not breaking any laws and therefore have nothing to hide, so they don’t feel they should be worried about these encroachments on our civil rights. Naturally, I consider that a very naive stance.

I am reminded of a quote I’ve long appreciated:

The purpose of the law is not to prevent a future offense, but to punish the one actually committed.

Nevermind that Ayn Rand was the one who spoke those words. They’re still true regardless of one’s feelings about her.

Anyway, this past summer I finally gave into owning a smartphone and have felt queasy ever since. Found out that in years past by signing myself and my loved ones up on the National Do Not Call registry that I was actually offering up our private information on a silver platter. Looked up their privacy policy again tonight but don’t ask me to locate the bit that caused alarm a few years back since the site has since changed and it would take weeks to try to sort through and make sense of all those pages of documents. As is the case with most privacy policies and terms of conditions on most websites…hence why the documentary above was created.

I don’t know about all of you, but I’m willing to admit to not being smart enough to safely traverse through the obstacle course increasingly emerging in most-modern times. So much blows my mind and makes it clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that I deserve the label of “luddite.” And I guess I have to be fine with that to an extent since I’m not sure much will change during my lifetime for the better. Guess we’re going boldly where no humans have gone before, whether we like it or not or are prepared. Apparently that’s just the way things go. I’m all for getting hold of the reins of this government, BUT there are so many of us and few can seem to agree on damn-near anything. Plus, we lack the money that major corporations are willing to spend to sway the odds in their favor. AND we the American people have for several decades proven incapable of voting into office much beyond charismatic charlatans and idiots. SO…not sure what we’re expected to do at this point. Begging most government officials to care about our opinions way down here on the ground hasn’t worked in so long and nothing today indicates it ever likely will work going forward. Tired of feeling like a beggar devoid of power, made to prostrate myself before the “powers that be” in hope of ever having my voice counted. Pssh. Sick of that.

Sure, consider me pessimistic. On this subject I admittedly am. Not sure what else to tell us here.  *shrugs*

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