Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

11/26/2013 (8 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The serpent of public safety beguiles us to discard the warnings of our forefathers.

Nearly six years ago, the FBI was quietly awarded a $1 billion contract from the Obama administration. The goal was to develop a nationwide surveillance system that could recognize faces, voices, and prints as part of a stated effort to identify criminals and terrorists. Privacy advocates fear the system could become all-encompassing, eliminating privacy entirely.

Shall we eat the apple, despite the warning?

Shall we eat the apple, despite the warning?

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

11/26/2013 (8 months ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: Privacy, FBI, system, technology, spying, marketing


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Americans have very little privacy left. Although we still believe we have a fair amount of privacy, particularly in our homes, we don't. Our cellphones constantly record and report our GPS position, even when they're turned off. They also record barometric pressure, ambient temperature, and can be used to record sounds even if you don't have an app to do it with.

All that data is quietly aggregated by private corporations that want to know how you use your phones, where you go, and what you do.

Our computers monitor us, as do our social networks, but most of us know that by now.

Cameras and other electronic equipment capture the rest of our lives. Information can be teased out of our spending habits, our call logs, and even what paths we take to and from work.

Are you having an illicit affair? No matter how careful you think you've been, odds are very high there's a digital trace of evidence for it somewhere.

For now, nobody is suggesting that the next generation of surveillance equipment will be used to catch cheaters-too many people in high places committing that sin to allow that. However the new technologies will be used to catch criminals.

That might not be a bad thing, so long as what constitutes a criminal doesn't change.

The timeframe for the rollout is 2014.

Next year, the government will begin deploying technology to scan faces in public areas, microphones to listen for the voices of known terror suspects and more. Even the cleverest criminals will soon run the risk of being caught, no matter how carefully they plan their crimes.

This may seem like a positive development, but privacy is key to the American way of life. It is a value that is also enshrined in the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution. Unfortunately, Supreme Court decisions have eroded the Fifth considerably, making everything the FBI is about to do quite legal.

Privacy brings peace of mind and comfort. Sometimes our public selves are at odds with our private selves and revealing the private self can be painful or embarrassing to some. Perhaps our tastes are different from the norm. Not necessarily criminal, but perhaps unique. Privacy ensures us that at least sometimes, behind the doors of our homes, or even on a crowded street filled with strangers, we can be ourselves. Losing privacy means the masks many wear in public must stay on; a psychological trial never ends.

It's not that we have nothing to hide, it's that we want the right to hide if we feel more comfortable doing so. Would you like the arguments you have with your spouse recorded? Is it anyone's business outside of your home how much you spend on frivolous things? Should the content of your most intimate prayers be revealed to others?

While there is no doubt the next generation of surveillance equipment will help fight crime, we can also rest assured that at some point it will be abused. It always is. Even the NSA, with its awesome responsibility, has admittedly abused its power as unscrupulous agents tapped phone calls and other records belonging to their love interests.

Omniscience, like many other phenomena, is the realm of God. People should not have omniscience because they cannot handle it properly. Yet, despite the caveats, we cannot help but take another bite from the apple of knowledge, although we've been warned not to. We're Adam in the Garden, going back for a second bite.

The new systems will catch criminals, of that there can be no doubt. We're always thankful for justice. But the cameras and microphones will also catch you. Quietly, even unwittingly, you will be monitored by the penultimate voyeur, which is the government. Woe onto you who makes an enemy of someone in a powerful place, for your most private moments will soon be known.

Orwell was just 30 years premature on his date, and Genesis had it right all along.

A birth foretold: click here to learn more!

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2014
Sports:
That sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth.
Lay Missionaries: That the Holy Spirit may support the work of the laity who proclaim the Gospel in the poorest countries.



Comments


More Politics & Policy

As hundreds of bills languish on his desk, push is on to 'fire Harry Reid' Watch

Image of The GOP now hopes to use those examples to build a case against Harry Reid and argue that his procedural stranglehold is the reason for the Senate's painful levels of gridlock.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The GOP is now calling for either the resignation or firing of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The Republican National Committee is launching a two-week "robo-call" campaign in efforts to nationalize Senate races across battleground states, arguing that each ... continue reading


DOES the President have the unilateral power to legalize illegal aliens? Hoyer: No Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Does U.S. President Barack Obama have the unilateral right to convert countless illegal immigrants to legal status? House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said that President Obama "can't legalize" the illegal aliens, but added that the president "can ... continue reading


RATCHETING UP SANCTIONS: U.S. Europe increase sanctions against Russia Watch

Image of Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said that he is not considering adding new sanctions. Australia lost 28 citizens on Flight MH17. Abbott said that at the moment

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

New economic sanctions against key sectors of the Russian economy have been announced by U.S. President Obama. It's all part of Washington's latest efforts to force Russian President Vladimir Putin to end his support for Ukrainian rebels. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


'Achievements and contributions… to building the very fabric of our nation and strengthening the core of our democracy,' Obama celebrates achievements of Muslims Watch

Image of A recent survey found that 72 percent of Muslim-Americans approve of the President, more so than any other religious group.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As the persecution of Iraqi Christians at the hands of Islamic jihadists continued, President Obama and First Lady Michelle released a statement this past weekend thanking Muslim Americans for their many "achievements and contributions...to building the very ... continue reading


U.S. Bishops say Obama's executive order 'implements discrimination' Watch

Image of Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, pictured, and Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo in a statement noted that the executive order, which will impact a fifth of the U.S. workforce, discriminates against faithful Catholics.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A new order by U.S. President Obama that forbids federal contractors from discriminating "on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity," has been denounced by U.S. bishops as "unprecedented and extreme and should be opposed" and, in effect, ... continue reading


Israel harshly critical of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, called 'an Alien' Watch

Image of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's apparent decision to use Qatar as a conduit through which to communicate with Hamas, effectively ditching an earlier Egyptian proposal which the group had rejected has stirred the pot.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The United States and Israel have been the staunchest of allies since Israel reached statehood following World War II - but this doesn't mean that the nations have always seen eye-to-eye. Indeed, the right-wing faction of the Israeli government are harshly ... continue reading


President Obama is 'mailing it in', bought the farm - spending lots of time golfing and goofing off Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Lackadaisical. That word is used to define "lacking enthusiasm and determination; carelessly lazy." Lackadaisical appears to described U.S. President Barack Obama as of late. The president is pending an awful lot of time playing golf while the nation and the ... continue reading


In President Obama's war on religious freedom the people suffer another loss Watch

Image of A July 21 executive order has dealt a huge blow to the cause of freedom of religion in the United States.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

President Barack Obama's July 21 executive order prohibiting discrimination based on sexual-self-identification has lead to strong criticism from several prominent U.S. bishops, calling the executive order "unprecedented and extreme." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Efforts against female genital mutilation could be thwarted by population growth Watch

Image of Due partly to community activism and legislation, the prevalence of FGM, which involves the cutting away of the external female genitalia, and the marriage of girls under the age of 18 has decreased slightly over the last 30 years, UNICEF said.

By Lisa Anderson, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Advances in fighting female genital mutilation, or FGM and child marriage could be offset by population growth unless the rate of progress increases, according to new data released Tuesday by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). (Thomson Reuters ... continue reading


FREE SPEECH VIOLATED: Tea party groups' lawsuit against IRS proceeds Watch

Image of Among the individuals named in the lawsuit is Lois Lerner, who headed the division that processes applications for tax-exempt status at that time.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

They're not going to take it - and they're taking their claims to court. A federal judge has allowed a lawsuit by 10 tea party groups to move forward against the Internal Revenue Service. The judge rejected a request by the federal government to dismiss all the ... continue reading


All Politics & Policy News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 26:1-9
1 At the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim son of ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 69:6, 8-10, 14
6 Those who hope in you must not be made fools of, ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:54-58
54 and, coming to his home town, he taught the people ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 1st, 2014 Image

St. Alphonsus Marie Liguori
August 1: Bishop, Doctor of the Church, and the founder of the ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter