COMMENTARY | What does it mean when an old ACLU video from 2004 makes the rounds again? Eight years after its first appearance, the video has gone viral. Why now?
The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) produced the video back then to expose the erosion of privacy. With new technologies collecting data and creating huge databases, personal information no longer remained private.
The ACLU used the video to aim criticism at President George W. Bush for his Patriot Act policies. Although these policies intended terrorists as their targets, ACLU stoked Americans with the idea that they, instead, were the targets. Americans with something to hide had something to worry about. So did Americans with nothing to hide.
As it turns out, it was bad then but worse than that now. Regular Americans then had their personal data collected, with the concomitant erosion of personal liberties as a result. Our privacy was invaded upon boarding a plane or entering government properties. But all were in the name of national security and not too bad if it were left at that.
But the current resurrection of the eight-year-old video tells a different story. It raises awareness of a different threat. Because it has gone viral within the time frame of the Obama Administration, it reminds us a more serious vulnerability.
Our personal data is as available now as it was then, despite the privacy policies that we are required to read, accept, and sign off on, as if they protect any privacy at all. The difference is that we are now required to provide personal information. And the government uses it for social control and expanding its powers over people.
The video suggests that people might be controlled or “propagandized” by government using the information available on each of us. Examples abound.
- We are urged to eat less meat and more vegetables. Guys become automatic enlistments for Michelle Obama’s veggie nutrition program.
- Our occupations are known, whether we are employed, and if we are union members. Go to government if you want a job. Enlistments for entitlements or public pensions can’t be far behind.
- Medical histories expose our health vulnerabilities. National health programs such as Obamacare find support when the government accesses our records.
- Our cell phones expose where we are. No more errant husbands hiding from wives. Worse: No more hiding from the IRS on April 15. Worst: They’ll find you in Texas where you finally found a private sector job.
- Government agencies restrict our choices and control our decisions while we continue to believe we are making them for ourselves. Proof: We’re getting to like those dim curly light bulbs.
- Vacations abroad lay risk for citizens, who might not be allowed back into the country. An illegal alien who can cast the correct vote is waiting in the wings at the border crossing.
The list goes on. Interpreting the eight-year-old video for its implications today is more alarming now than it was then.