The Snooping Question

Posted: June 23, 2013 in Chat
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The new reports on government snooping on populations of net and phone users raises a great many questions. UK’s GCHQ and USA’s NSA are alleged to be in cahoots in long-term snooping projects. The main information gathering has been underway for the last 18 months. Details of emails and ‘metadata’ are being copied and stored for future perusal.

What bemuses more than anything else in this operation is how all this greatly sophisticated technology is based on, depends upon, a rather medieval view of human behaviour.
It is like a super-streamlined futuristic vehicle that still runs on… internal combustion principles, or a nuclear reactor used for … boiling water, to run steam turbines.

I have this image of, in mercifully only a few year’s time, a TV (or equivalent for the period) entertainment show making fun of all our rather quaint and archaic ways. One of which would be this vast accumulation of redundant information. Why redundant? Because the basis that it was gathered on, the image of behaviour, was so laughably archaic.

The pressure to understand, to find explanations for extremist and seemingly mindless terrorist acts is forcing our hand at finding ways of coming to terms with what constitutes ‘normal’ human behaviour. I am thinking here of a multi-dimensional, that is multi-racial, multi-faith, multi-economic, understanding of behaviour.
This ‘forcing the hand’ is the way that developments tend to happen. The result is usually ad hoc, with a fill-in-the-gaps-later effect.

That we all have ‘weaknesses’ is still not fully accepted or understood. Our weaknesses are perhaps a major part of our empathy mechanism. They are still to us ‘weaknesses’, shameful, and suppressible defects of character, lack of moral fibre, backbone, or other semi-organic terms. Counselling is partly concerned with our owning them, embracing our content whether good or… less good. The result, when counseling goes well is one of empowerment, of humility (ouch – to churchy? Still relevant.).

Our strengths we tend to see when warped out of shape in competitive jobs, or by grief when catastrophe strikes. Between strength and weakness is, presumably everything else. This is usually the advertising image us, the us that is constantly streamed by every known channel at us: consumer us.
This is our point in time, our point of flux. The need for a sense of stability is also a basic, a given – it is in actuality an illusion of course, but the sense of it is very real to us. At present we are developing a new shape, maybe even growing up a little, taking on more adult responsibilities for other people, other foul-ups of previous generations.

No way will government or ultra-government analyses of our current activity help us on our way. If anything it just may hold us back a little.

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