Wednesday, August 25, 2021

What if wearing masks makes us more free?

     The funny thing is ...
     Not “ha-ha” funny, but sad and ironic funny, which is about the only funny we get nowadays.
     Anyway, as I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted, by myself, the funny thing is, if Americans actually cared about their freedom, they wouldn’t manifest that care by throwing these you-can’t-make-me, blue-in-the-face toddler fits over convenience store policies requiring masks.
     Rather than refuse to wear masks, as the extra contagious Delta variant rips across the country, they would insist on wearing masks in public, not merely to ward off infection, but to escape the net of cyber surveillance tightening around the public every day. They would wear masks now, and keep on wearing them should COVID-19 ever recede, an increasingly remote possibility approaching “when pigs fly.”
     Masks not only screen out viruses, but also add a fig leaf of anonymity that might be helpful soon. This week, the Illinois State Police, joined by the city and state transportation departments, announced they will install cameras to read the license plates of every car on the highways, in the face of a surge of expressway shootings. The idea is: it’s enough of a hassle to drive the Dan Ryan from Point A to Point B without also having to worry about another motorist shooting you and getting away scot-free.
     Will it help? More cameras doesn’t seem to be translating into more safety, just less privacy. Add highway license plate cameras to the police, business and municipality security cameras already in operation, plus private residence doorbell cameras. Sooner or later those cameras will all be hooked up to a central location. Mix in face-recognition technology, and we’re nearing, if not already at, the point where you can’t scratch your ear in public without risk of the moment ending up on a flatscreen monitor in some basement control room with your name flashing underneath. Someday, you’ll rub your lower back on the ‘L’ platform and your Twitter feed will start recommending Bengay.

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  1. Someday, you’ll rub your lower back on the ‘L’ platform and your Twitter feed will start recommending Bengay.

    Brilliant, and likely true soon.

  2. I was surprised by a neighbor, about 20 years ago, who said that he avoided all toll roads to avoid sharing his destinations and speed with the man. Cost was the reason I had expected. He wasn’t worried about illegal activities (or so he said), he feared that the state would start sending him speeding tickets.

    1. Since the Tollway has now gone to full electronic tolling, no more toll booths, if you don't have an I Pass or EZ Pass, they record your plate number & can send you a bill, if you don't go online right away to pay them.
      But if you don't have the I Pass, you still pay double what I Pass users pay.
      I expect the Illinois Tollway to start removing the wide toll plazas in the near future & just leave them as smaller ones as accident investigation areas.

  3. This was all brought on by the scofflaws, that part of the human race who feel they have the right to do as they please regardless of how it impacts others.
    This is not dissimilar to homeowner association rules. Many people don't like them because they don't like rules. I don't mind because I naturally follow them. Simple neighborliness.
    As long as people keep finding ways to skirt the rules there will be more and more ways to keep an eye on you.
    I don't like it but I don't care if somebody is watching me. I'm not doing anything wrong.
    My back is aching. I'll let you know if I start to get see Bengay adds on my computer.

  4. I remember my cousin taking me via the tollway to South Bend to see a football game when I was about 14 and he was a few years older. We discussed whether it was possible that the tollway ticketed cars that got from point A to point B so quickly that they must have been going faster than allowed. I'm sure now that such was not done, but it certainly could have been done even with primitive 1955 technology. Navigating the Dan Ryan expressway the other day, I wished that something of the sort were around to deter the maniacs driving 20 mph more than my speed, which was itself 20 mph more than the so-called speed limit.


  5. "There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live—-did live, from habit that became instinct—-in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized."

    ---"Nineteen Eighty-Four" (Ch. 1)

    So Orwell wrote it over 70 years ago.
    So it didn't become reality until long after 1984.
    So how do you like living it?

    The technology Orwell envisioned did not function in low light or darkness. Today, of course, it's a different story. It works around the clock. So it is not only totally conceivable, but more and more likely, that they DO watch everybody all the time.

    Privacy? What's that? Soon the word will disappear entirely from our lexicon, as has anonymity, being unobserved, and remaining unmonitored. Who needs Orwell's primitive two-way TV, when there are cameras and phones everywhere?


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