The Big Chill

I fired up this blog in February, 2011. It seemed like a good idea for me to record reviews of the things and services I encounter in the course of daily life. As I began to develop the ideas I wanted to pursue with this blog, I began to think about the consequences…

I was one of those who had become fully aware of the extent of snooping of the Internet by the NSA prior to the whistle blowing of Edward Snowden in June of 2013. My awakening to this horrific development began in the 1990’s, when the NSA was having great difficulty getting their “Total Information Awareness” campaign going due to technological and budgetary limitations. The FBI had managed to get a “Carnivore Box” installed at every ISP (Internet Service Provider), and the groundwork was being laid with court-issued gag-orders served to the ISPs stating that they couldn’t talk about the boxes without risking extensive jail time. It was obvious that even these primitive snooping boxes had the ability to snoop nearly all Internet traffic, even if they were, for the moment, mostly limited to snooping email as a matter of practicality.

The rest was obvious. If it could be snooped, they would snoop it. If it could be recorded, they would record it, and store it away so it could be used for evidence (or blackmail) at a later time. J. Edgar Hoover, laying quietly in his grave, smiled. The only limitation was technology and budget – both of which were growing at a frightening pace.

And so it was that, as I mused over the practical aspects of this blog site, I realized I would be, in essence, testifying against myself on the Internet with every word that I wrote. What was I writing about? What did that say about me as a person? The FBI and, especially, NSA computers would be scraping my blog and analyzing my every word to see what kind of a threat I pose: to the state, to the NSA, and, possibly, to less consequential “actors”.

How did the Big Chill (the new reality that we live in a Total Surveillance Society, where concepts like Democracy, Capitalism, Freedom and the like are only illusions) affect this blog? Well, I’ll be reviewing concepts rather than specific items. Posts are more likely to be essays, like this one, rather than (possibly more useful) nuts-and-bolts reviews. Concepts will, I hope, be harder to hold against me in the future, should the NSA or its cohorts decide to go after me with information it’s stored from my past. The fact that I’m reviewing a specific item becomes “intel” which is exactly what makes the NSA types salivate. They can use it to profile and “predict” (remember the movie “Minority Report”?). It creeps me out to think that merely by living my life and giving up details about it, I’m making some peeping perv at the NSA salivate.

It’s taken a long time for me to absorb and process the new reality of being the target of relentless spying and surveillance. But I think I’ve arrived at the point where I can proceed. I hope you’ll enjoy my missives from this state of siege; the product of The Big Chill.

Posted in Essay