In the early 1980s (’90s?) all televisions manufactured or sold (imports, too) by federal mandate had to be “Cable Capable.” A great convenience. Now, consider – and please recall by federal regulation, we now are all-digital in our media choices so that curious condition of cable – not to mention analog telephones and suchlike – rendered our lives easier and richer. And made it easier for our own government to listen to us.
Consider the copy on paper and on the air of the then-new fangled on-star and on-star type monitor devices on our autos available (back in the waning moments of the last century) as optional for the well-heeled. Did you catch the bit about the crooks put away by law enforcement with a “wiretap” warrant allowing them to listen in on the supposedly private – but oh, so criminal conversations? Much the same obtained back in the per-digital ages.
Consider: a cathode ray tube and a speaker make up, essentially, an old-style television. So? Reverse the polarity – if you will and while not a physicist I do recall learning about this in school – and you have not a CRT from which you may watch television but a camera from which you may (at the other end) watch who’s watching television. And that speaker? It’s a simple switch to make it a microphone. And that cable? Simpler still. A telephone in the old days could be listened to from outside by the cognoscenti with or without a warrant, even when the handset was in its cradle. Now, add digital and it’s even easier.
The government clown who admitted as much that we all are without privacy wasn’t just blowin’ smoke. My gripe is why not force anyone taking a government check to wear a fiber-optic sound-n-sight “wire” 24/7 365-¼. Then our monitors will be monitored as well. Put all that stuff on The Web.
The current brouhaha over who “tweaked” whom and how and why is just so much window-dressing to keep the on-air talent selling soap. Of course other countries – hell! other elements of our own country’s government – spyin’ on itself or each other goes back before Niccolo put quill to ink. Drum-beats in the jungle? Sure? Tell everyone. Sig-Int, it’s called by the techno-types. Signals Intelligence. But that first presumes the signal will be intelligible and come from an intelligent source. No?