2009-07-16 / Sam Bari

The reality TV network

You can’t beat a system you can’t understand
By Sam Bari

I remember my father telling me that old chestnut, “Most people will not go for a day without breaking a law.” I do not doubt that he was correct.

We have all stood in one place for a half-hour or more, waiting for a bus that was behind schedule. By doing so, we could have broken a loitering law. And how many of us have not damaged government property by walking on the grass in a public park?

Whether we are aware of our transgressions does not matter. We more than likely broke a law. In today’s world, that could have dire consequences.

Why? Because now, all of those seemingly meaningless and outdated laws are enforceable, even if nobody is around to see a crime being committed.

For this, we can thank the U.S. government and all of its little subsidiaries from state to county administrations — and, ultimately, every municipality down to the smallest village in the nation. They are all participants in the latest and greatest television production company of all time — the Big Brotherhood Television Surveillance Network.

Welcome to the most real of all reality television programming. It’s life in America, as seen through the ever-vigilant eye of none other than Big Brother. The Orwellian prophecy knows no bounds. The watchful eye of Big Brother has been unleashed and it is haunting us with impunity.

The old “Smile, you’re on Candid Camera” slogan has taken on a new meaning. It has evolved into, “Smile, you’re always on government camera.”

The various echelons of management across the country are responsible for surveillance cameras on every street corner, especially those with traffic lights. The cameras are also located in every tollbooth to allegedly catch cheaters. Cameras are the latest version of unmanned speed traps, a most efficient revenue generator. They can be found on highways from coast to coast. These cameras are costing taxpayers hundreds of millions so that Big Brother can become a formidable reality.

For those who aren’t aware, cases concerning the legality of uncontrolled surveillance are being tried today in widely-divided courtrooms on both sides of the issue.

The seriousness of the effort to equip the country with the latest surveillance technology can probably be found in the halls and offices of the Capitol Building in Washington D.C. Here, lobbyists stalk congressmen to convince them that they are peddling products designed for the greater good.

Recently, a high-tech holding company acquired majority ownership of a company whose primary focus is to commercialize and market its proprietary technology in the compressed digital video recording (DVR) industry, for use in the $20 billion homeland security surveillance sector.

Technology providers to the 2002 Winter Olympics, correctional facilities, hospitals and many government agencies ranging from the Secret Service to the Army Corp of Engineers and the Department of Homeland Security, have used this technology.

The development of highlysophisticated digital video systems offers advantages over the outdated and cumbersome VHS technology. Multiple cameras can be integrated into digital systems, allowing real-time DVD quality, remote access, remote operation, two-way audio, instant retrieval and compression for long-term storage, just to name a few features.

Broadcast quality images can be generated from spy cameras that are small enough to be incorporated into a tiepin or a button on a shirt, and can then be operated without detection.

The economy going down the tubes, wars on three fronts and the possibility of an impending catastrophic natural disaster dominate the news. Although these matters are legitimate causes for concern, they are also convenient smoke screens that easily distract the masses so that little attention is paid to sweeping compromises that chip away at basic freedoms, such as the right to privacy.

Many feel that allowing unimpeded use of sophisticated technology is just opening the door to the “ultimate security measure” of a tracking device being implanted in, and a DNA sample being taken from, every citizen and resident in the country.

But there is another threat to our privacy. Not everyone is aware that the locations of cell phones can be traced unless the tracking feature is disconnected or turned off.

Many people died so that we can have our freedoms, and I am not willing to give up any of them. I don’t know about you, but I kind of like having a right to privacy as I muddle my way through life in this system we can’t understand.

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