[Editor’s Comment: SurvivalBlog does not endorse the concept of the “number of the beast” being associated with any form of technology; however, the information presented in this article is of import to anyone who is concerned about the collection of private information and government oversight.]
Listen carefully. I’m about to tell you something that they don’t want you to hear. I’m also about to tell you something that you most likely don’t want to hear, so you may want to sit down for this.
You don’t need your cell phone.
There I said it.
You may say, “but they are so convenient, and what if there’s an emergency?” It may be that convenience is the most important thing to you. You can check the weather and traffic on your smart phone, and you can use it as an airline ticket to scan in for a flight. It has a camera, and you can take cool selfies with it. It may be that you are, for whatever reason, unable to handle emergencies by yourself. Maybe you don’t want to take the time to take a basic first aid class. Maybe you don’t want to deal with the stress of stopping to help at the scene of an accident because there may be blood and it may be icky. It’s easier to just call 911 and let someone else handle the problem. If either of those are the case, read no further, and may your chains rest lightly.
You do know how they can use your cell phone, right? This article by Jose Pagliery was widely read.
The article discusses secrecy surrounding the employment of technology that collects data and tracks cell phones. This article and others make it clear that broad amounts of data are scooped up in the process of looking for criminal and terror suspects. Allegedly the byproduct is scrapped and the constitutionally-aware law enforcement agencies using this technology are careful to protect the privacy of the individual, but there’s no evidence of what procedures are in place for protection of constitutional rights. It’s not even clear how or if warrants are obtained to conduct these huge sweeps of information.
For many there is little new in the article. Many understand the vulnerabilities of the cell phone to outside interception and tracking, as numerous articles have been written in the past. A simple Internet search yields plenty of interesting material on the subject. It’s a subject that is worth self education. It should become clear to anyone that any information, data, or voice put out into the ether is subject to interception, tracking, and exploitation. The next big question is who is doing that exploiting, how are they doing it, and for what purposes are they doing it?
Here is an articlethat touches on the scope of law enforcement use of techniques in cell phone surveillance.
This article discusses the conflicting policies and legal concerns of those implementing these techniques. In an ideal world, if you didn’t do anything wrong, you don’t have anything to worry about. However, we all know this isn’t an ideal world, and the founding fathers knew that also. The Fourth Amendment is designed to protect people from an over-reaching government that may be run by corrupt officials.
For the record, I want to say up front, I’m glad cell phone technology exists. I am glad we have cell phone technology in the world today, and I’m glad we have the means to track phones and use them to monitor all kinds of illegal activity and hopefully catch bad guys before they do bad things. I hope also beyond hope that law enforcement officials apply for warrants and abide by constitutional constraints, but I won’t hold my breath. Use of this technology is vital to our national defense. Its implications in thwarting terror attacks and criminal acts is clear. It doesn’t really take much to do it properly and have the oversight necessary to preserve liberty. I hope that those who are involved in chasing terrorists and criminals never lose sight of the fact that the whole point is to protect the American way of life and freedom. If, in the process of hunting terrorists, we throw away our liberties, then the terrorists have won and we’ve just exchanged one enemy for another.
We all know that cell phone data that is retrieved can be misused by a government, which has not been immune to exercising abuse of power. We know that prosecutorial abuse and investigative misconduct are an unfortunate part of our government. This country is great, and our government is (when run properly) one of the best in the world. However, we have to maintain vigilance and be constantly on guard against failings of the system, and more importantly, failings of the individuals of which it is made. The cell phone is a great convenience, but it’s also a great impedance to self reliance and is a potentially grave threat to personal freedom.
So why are we using them? Why do we just roll over and accept this?
The answer is because we want to. It’s because we’ve embraced the technology as a necessary evil, and many of us love them, even denying the evil side and believing that we are all sophisticated enough to see any evil.
It is easy to say we need them for “emergencies”, and that is a valid and life-saving application. “If it saves just one life” is a common cry, and clearly cell phones have saved lives.
Most of us who were born before the advent of cell phones remember a time when we saved our own lives or worked together as neighbors and community to save each other. Who is it that we call on a cell phone to save us? Generally, help comes in the form of a government entity. This is not entirely a bad thing. Valiant fire/rescue personnel and police departments save lives daily as a result of cell phone calls, but are we becoming too reliant on government to rescue us? Has it become too easy to push three or four simple buttons and wait for the cavalry to come over the hill? Are people willing to push a little harder, to climb a little farther and take more risks because they know rescue is only the push of a few buttons away?
I would suggest that we are being, as Kruschev said we would, ruled by invitation.
Try spending a day without your cell phone. You can do it; I know you can. The question is about willingness. Are you willing to set aside the convenience and the safety net and delve into the world of self-reliance? If you can make it a day, then try a week. Try spending a week without being leashed to that thing. Maybe you wind up not getting a call from your significant other about the fact that the kids ran through the milk faster than expected. You get home and he/she is standing there arms crossed, toe tapping, and a stern look. You might hear, “I tried to call you. We were out of milk. You should have picked some up on the way home.”
Well, you should have some shelf stable milk on hand just in case any way, but that’s probably another article. I’m trying to point out that this will ultimately be a family project. Right now, nearly every family of every socio-economic class in this country (and many other countries) are totally dependent on the ability to instantly communicate.
If you can do it, if you can lay that thing down and walk away for just one day, you may find yourself, sadly, in a new world. Once you put your cell phone away and look up at what is going on around you, one of the first things you will notice is how everyone seems to have their heads down. You’ll notice that they all look like a bunch of antelope around the water hole. They look like prey.
Everyone is eager for the latest app, the latest bells and whistles of the latest product, and all the pretty lights so shiny. It is truly amazing what smart phones can do. All that technology is in the palm of your hand. What used to fill rooms is now right there, so small and so available to everyone. No question goes unanswered by accessing the Internet in the palm of your hand. The smart phone is a source of knowledge, and knowledge is power. Is it really empowering? Is it really making us more knowledgeable? Are we really this easily led and manipulated? Who is it that is turning us into such easy prey? Is it big government? Is it evil corporations? Or are we all just collectively dumb enough to be doing it to ourselves? I’m not a particularly religious man. I don’t know much about things like the number of the beast or the ways of the devil, but if I had to guess, such things wouldn’t come to us in the form of bar code tattoos or numbers on our foreheads. Even implanted chips seem obviously obtrusive. Personally (and I admit this is my own uneducated opinion, tainted as it is by my own well-founded paranoia), I think that the devil would be sneaky about it, just like Kruschev said about ruling the world by invitation. I think the number of the beast would come to us by invitation of the masses. The number of the beast could well start with an area code.