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Is big brother listening to you?

October 28, 2013

Are the world’s government agencies monitoring your phone calls?

Of course they are.

What is all the fuss about? Do you really think there are real people listening in, sniggering over your call to your lover, your excuses for not turning up to work or being late home from school? No way. Think about it. That would need a large proportion of the world’s population.

So what is happening? Well, as best I understand it (and neither the CIA or MI6 have confided details to me) computers using the best available voice recognition and decryption software check for certain words or phrases. Let’s guess at things like “explosion” or “attack”, for example. IF they detect such words the computers will analyse more of the message and, if appropriate, alert a human. I believe most western governments not only admit to this technique but also claim it has enabled them to detect and pre-empt the actions of criminals and terrorists.

What if such monitoring was banned? I would imagine said criminals and terrorists would take advantage and freely use electronic communication in planning their activities and  fewer such activities could be detected and prevented. Is that what you want?

Have you texted, emailed or said anything in a phone call which relates to criminal activity? No? Then why on earth should it worry you if these communications were automatically scanned?

OK, let’s not be too blasé. With power comes responsibility. Governments have always had the power for good or evil, to protect or attack the populace. (Think China, Syria today or most others over the centuries). This extra power is no different. Do you trust your government to do what it can to combat terrorism, drug crime, child trafficking etc and not use its powers to persecute minorities or individuals who disagree with official government policy?

Yes? Then let them use the tools to do that job well.

No? Why?

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