Turn it off, Part III

Whoa. The phone companies have been keeping records of all our calls! They have employees embedded with the Drug Enforcement Administration to comb information! And because it’s a company, not the government, that stores all these records, it’s legal!

May I be forgiven an “I told you so?” May I be forgiven for repeating, again, that we don’t know the half of it?

Think back to the beginning of our nation, when we learned hard lessons that economic power was as corrupting as political power. The East India Company was the target of the Tea Party, as much as the Crown. Railroads were broken up because they strangled the nation. Oil companies were broken up for the same.

A few decades ago, the phone company, Ma Bell, was dismantled. Wire taps had to be court approved. But we don’t use wires anymore! The Baby Bells have morphed into a technocorp, an oligarchy extending tentacles ever deeper into our lives. The lifeblood of our nation flows through portals of the internet, and they tap all communication with only a passing nod to courts protecting the Bill of Rights.

When oligarchs take control of vital services, corruption inevitably follows.

I was stupid when ranting on these “pages” about why there isn’t greater effort to promote competition in the telecomm industry. The government doesn’t want an effective “market!”  The oligopoly serves the government interest. It is easier to collude with four companies than a dozen.

A friend calls the government/corporate beast “Leviathan.”  2,000 years ago, Plato warned against the power of “Oligarchs.” The enemy is within the gates, and we have failed to defend ourselves.

We must not be stampeded into servitude by fears of terrorism or concerns about drug-fueled chaos. Privacy laws must be updated, and made ferociously effective.

About Erik Dolson

Erik Dolson is a writer living in Oregon
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2 Responses to Turn it off, Part III

  1. This is an area where the right/left paradigm breaks down. Libertarians of both left and right (yes, there are left-libertarians) are uniting in their opposition to Leviathan, while statists and control freaks of both persuasions will continue to erode our liberty and privacy for our own good. There is going to have to be a willingness to hop into the sack with strange bedfellows if we are going to have a real “privacy movement.”

  2. Also kinda fun to see the libertarian right and the anti-war left tentatively shaking hands on skepticism over the Obama administration’s (totally incoherent) Syria agenda.

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