How Much Privacy Do We Really Have?


When news hit a few weeks back that the NSA has been essentially trolling our very existence through Verizon and social media (through the hilariously titled PRISM), what did we do? Nothing. Sure, we had a couple of angry Facebook status updates and even more hashtags and Twitter outbursts, but no one really cared. Have we become THAT unfazed, and ultimately, uncaring about our privacy?

Yep, it sure sounds like it. Privacy has been a vital part of the rich (and sometimes not so rich) history of this country. Privacy let us get away with that little thing in 1776. Privacy also helped us deal politics throughout the past two centuries, culminating in our dominance for a great deal of time.

Our lack of privacy has been detrimental, leading to debacles like Pearl Harbor, Bay of Pigs, and to some extent, 9/11. Not to mention it also aided in hiding away all those Communists during McCarthy's wrath, and shocking sex lives of our most famed celebrities (Liberace anyone?). Yet, somewhere in the past few years, we just let the collective curtains drop, leaving our naked and exposed lives to the people of the world.

This isn't even a domestic issue anymore, but a global one. Across the world what is behind closed doors is no more. Your house might as well be made of glass, especially with the information floating around the Internet. Once upon a time, I wanted to be a politician, but now I have no idea if I can even dip my toe in without being torn apart. That goes for everyone. And we let it happen.

Social media platforms have come and left very little to be deciphered, discovered or surprised with. We let the world know that we love Springsteen, have cramps and have a thing for sushi. Everyone shares stupid pictures of their tuna sandwich, and sometimes even small video clips.

Even celebrities, previously hidden behind a parade of publicists and managers have epic, public meltdowns (cue: Amanda Bynes, although it could be the biggest ruse of all time). It isn't Big Brother anymore, but Big Everything. And it is only because we are so willing to give it all away.

When all hell broke loose, just a few weeks back, we found out PRISM has been mining us for a while. That stupid picture you put up of you making out with a midget? Got it. That message you sent your mistress about that weird thing she does with her feet? Known.

Your calendar update involving your AA meeting? Yep. And how did we respond? Nothing. Huh? Sure, Facebook and Twitter (who wasn't part of PRISM; your tweets about your boss are safe) were abuzz about the situation, and the world news took a hold of it for days, but what REALLY was our reaction?

There was a quick Congressional hearing that had us being told 'hey, we invaded your privacy, but no worries, it was for your own good'. My own good? Is the only place I have for myself in the few inches of my mind? (thank your Mr. Orwell) Most likely, it will continue. And even more certain is the fact we won't fight it. As soon as the excuse of 'national security' hit the airwaves, this whole debacle was stamped with approval.

What it really comes down to is our attitude. We aren't protesting. We aren't fighting. We aren't rebelling. We are accepting. And at what point does it stop? Freedom and Patriot Acts came and went. Wars came and went. And now, our privacy left. Will it come back? Don't hold your breath.

Ali Abouomar

Photo Courtesy: Tumblr