Video Digest: May 16, 2008

The government is watching you right now. Don't believe it? Meave Gallagher has the video to prove every little keystroke and phone call is being recorded as we speak.

When I was a crazy teenager, my mom read my journals to try to find out “what was really going on” (just like Rufus Humphrey did to Jenny on Gossip Girl). When my parents thought my brother was a teenage pothead, they searched his room, too (just like Lily van der Woodsen did to Serena on Gossip Girl. That show is so true to life). As furious as I was, that’s nothing, absolutely nothing compared to how the federal government and the communications corporations have been spying on possibly every single person with a computer. The private sector has gotten in on this as well, companies that didn’t—as far as we know—participate in information collection for Bush and Cheney. Espionage: not just for the Executive Branch!

“Domestic Eavesdropping”—ha! It sounds so precious. Uncle Dick and Lil’ Georgie listening at doors, putting glasses up to walls, their eyes popping when they hear something salacious. But, nope. Welcome back to the White House, Watergate thieves; it hasn’t been nearly as evil or untrustworthy around here without you. Please take this piece of the Constitution, for your personal use as handkerchief, toilet tissue, ear swab, etc.

Remember this gem from a couple years ago? The president isn’t spying on anyone, geez; he’s monitoring Terrorist Communications! That you may be sending and/or receiving! What are you afraid of the government finding? Anything you wouldn’t want your own government to know about, you probably shouldn’t have, anyway, pervert.

Mark Klein, AT&T whistleblower: “The entire data stream [phone calls, email, internet use] was copied into [AT&T’s] secret room. The splitter device has no selective capability; it just copies everything. We’re talking domestic traffic, as well as international traffic, and that’s what got me upset to begin with…Here I am, being forced to connect the Big Brother machine.”

Since the idea that a secret organization is monitoring our internet use applies to everyone by now, it’d be nice if they were a little more open about it. Then we could at least acclimate ourselves to this complete lack of privacy.

The conflict between the Student/Farmworker Alliance and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and Burger King, which the corporation escalated by planting spies in the S.F.A., began because Burger King refused to pay the C.I.W. one cent more per pound of tomatoes they picked. What will happen when farm workers are able to unionize? Big Food will do whatever it takes to keep those prices low; hiring an investigator implicated in an extra-creepy murder to keep tabs on one local group is, well, small potatoes.

And of course, all the crazy ways you can get burned using Facebook. Now even your friends who don’t add applications can suffer from identity theft (whoops). So if you would please stop asking me to play games or plant gardens with you, maybe we could socially network without feeling actively threatened by spyware, pirates, and Nigerian princes?

Don’t forget, Google knows everything about you. The question is, which is worse: every bit of information about you, in every conceivable form, from birth until death, in the hands of the federal government, or a private corporation? Or, of course, both.

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