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Monday, July 6, 2015

Eyes and Ears in the sky

I recently learned the government is using fake cell phone towers attached to the undersides of small planes to listen in to our calls. Before you conclude this is one of those far-out conspiracy theories, let me assure you it was on the nightly news. And not the fake news like The Daily Show.

But then the lines between the fake and real news have started to seriously blur. For example, the biggest laugh on TV news, real or fake, I’ve recently had was on NBC—I’ll call it “Real News”.  

Standing in front of the Alps, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, her arms spread wide, was chatting with a sitting President Obama. Cut to Julie Andrews standing in a similar picturesque spot in the Alps, singing “The Hills are alive…” from “The Sound of Music”. You also can catch the clip on CNN. It left me wondering if Chancellor Merkel can sing. And do the Alps actually inspire those types of expansive gestures. But I digress.

Back to governmental faux cell phone towers on small planes which I guess should not come as a big surprise.  We were being lulled into thinking it’s safe to talk on our phones again now that the more extreme parts of the Patriot Act have expired. 

In principle, I take my civil liberties very seriously. In practice, I secretly have been hoping some elements of our federal government are listening to my phone calls.

First, my cell phone doesn’t work very well. If government agents can hear anything on it they have better hearing than I do. But that’s another blog post.  And second, I’m not making any illicit use of my technology, so far as I know. Though I do occasionally get a notice, “illegal operation” when I press the wrong buttons on my Blu-ray player.

If only some agency of the federal government were listening to my calls, and could hear my calls and also stay awake, (a couple of big “if’s”) someone with authority would be able to hear all those robo-calls we get at dinner time: trying to sell me land in the Florida Everglades; telling me they can fix all my computer problems if I’ll just give them my password; and—my favorite--I’ve won a free Caribbean cruise in a contest I didn’t know I’d entered. If I ever win anything I won’t accept it because I won’t believe the person calling to tell me I’ve won.

Just this morning someone called and tried to sell me banquet services. I don’t know if it was a real person or a robo-call. But the voice would not shut up long enough for me to tell them I didn’t want any banquet services. Sorry to be rude if it was a real person. But I hung up.

If the NSA is listening or reading this—I do have one request. Would you please pass along the robo-call problem to the FCC or the Consumer Affairs people--or whomever handles these kinds of complaints? After all, I signed up for the no-call list, so while you are trying to make us all safe from terrorists could you please also make the stupid robo-calls stop?

And if government agents were listening recently, just like me, they were treated to over two hours of musac.  I was on hold with Southwest Airlines trying to correct an error to my reservations that occurred when their site crashed during their big super sale—the one they were not prepared to handle. How about passing that problem along to the FAA or whomever handles airline complaints?

Right about now I know I’d feel a lot safer if all of the government were listening in.

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