This was in the LA Daily News today.
I was a stalker before it was illegal. Yep, that’s right. For those of you that don’t remember because you aren’t old enough or you’ve never been persistent enough with a love interest, stalking laws were passed in California in 1990 and much like smoking bans and strip malls quickly spread across the country.
The object of my obsession was an older guy. I was 12 and awkward. He was 16 and annoyed. I went out of my way to pass by his house. He went out of his way to be cruel so that I would leave him alone. I wrote his name on my Trapper Keeper 100’s of times. He high-tailed his BMX in the opposite direction when he saw me.
But those were the good old days of being tenacious. Now the cops get involved pretty quickly. It’s really taken all the fun out of it.
No, now you can’t stalk someone you love. It’s only big soulless corporations and the Bush Administration that get to do that.
One day I woke up and the line between ‘paranoid’ and ‘pretty sure’ had been blurred.
Take spyware for example. There are tons of bugs and ‘cookies’ that companies use to see where you’re going and what you are doing online. I’m outraged that these companies find out how truly boring I am. The fact that I spend the majority of my time online trolling myspace and pretending to read the BBC news site is none of anyone’s business. I have the right to keep those things private and to announce them in humorously self-exploitive articles as I see fit.
This is extremely valuable information that results in target marketing. And if your privacy is valuable to you, it’s as equally outrageous.
No hacking isn’t just for precocious tweens anymore. Now you have to battle corporations too. I currently have three (count them three) anti-spyware programs running on my PC. Even with FireFox and Firewalls – I still end up with more spyware on my machine than the total number Delay indictments and Abramoff bribe recipients combined!
In the middle of the War on Christmas it was leaked that the Bush Administration has been spying on us without a warrant. I say ‘us’ because we don’t really know who it is. It could be any of us. It could be me, because I pretend to read the BBC news site everyday.
They hate us for our freedoms? We’re striving for popularity!
Back in the good old days, only celebrities had to fight for their privacy. They were heavily compensated by movie deals, book deals and the free meals one gets when one is famous (or so I have heard). Mobsters and drug dealers were the ones constantly worried about being bugged. Only consumers who signed up for a club card got tracked by businesses. Now we are all subjected to these disclosures. And we don’t get any of the benefits like being famous, having the tax free income of a drug dealer or getting in-store discounts.
The one thing I know about civil rights is that if you don’t assert them, you may as well not have them. Our current president passed an anti-spam law, CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. He and the 108th Congress touted the Do Not Call List to prove they cared about American’s dinner being interrupted. I know this because I got a SPAM email about putting my name on the Do Not Call List. And as of the beginning of this year, it is illegal to anonymously annoy someone on the internet. But as far as the right to unwarranted search and seizures…it’s a technicality.
Think of George W. Bush as the ‘Let them eat cake’ leader of privacy issues.
In the last 15 years, the amount of legislation devoted solely to keeping our private affairs private has been vast. It’s the one bi-partisan issue we can all agree upon. We like having the freedom not to be watched by the government, crazed suitors or private industry. The system that we expect to help us combat these violations has become the biggest violator. So in a war for freedom, this battle has been lost.