Civil Liberties and Civil Society
We did a media project recently, about civil liberties during the U.S. civil war, so I got to thinking about our rights, and how they seem to ebb and flow with the tides of time.
It must have been ’63. I was waving the old rabbit ears, tuning in a black and white Cronkite, who was going on about that Commie threat. The news set looked shabby, like it was made out of painted cardboard boxes. I asked Dad, “Do the Soviets really tap the phones?”, and he said “Oh yes.” I asked; “Do we do that too?” and he laughed, saying;
“No Mark, we have civil liberties, and one of them is a right to privacy. They don’t have that in Russia.”
There are some rights, (AKA civil liberties) that we still have a good hold on here;
Right to trial, in court (habeas corpus)
Freedom of religion
Right to defend oneself
Freedom from torture
But this one; funny how it just slipped away without much fuss.
Right to privacy
We kissed it goodbye after 9/11/01. Here’s some we have earned, but still get plenty of pushback on;
Freedom of expression
Freedom of the press
Freedom of assembly
Gay marriage rights
LGBTQ equality rights
The Government, in its hi-tech helicopter parent mode, has a copy of your banking SWIFT codes, and a recording of all your international calls. If they want it, (via subpoena supplied by a lenient FISA court), they can get a list of every website you’ve been to. They can get into your iPhone, your computer, and they can turn your laptop CAMERA on you, whenever they like, without your knowledge. So, like Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, and Director Comey at the FBI, I now put a piece of tape over the webcam eye on my laptop.
Ugly but it works. Now if could only find a way to disable that darn microphone, before I get liquored up and yell something TREASONOUS at the TV in the privacy of my own home.
A helicopter parent can never be too careful.