As Usual—Americans Missed It!
There is much gnashing of teeth about the government accessing Internet files as there should be, the problem is that Americans are about 30 years late in getting the news.
It may be even more than that, but I became aware of the Internet in 1984 and immediately recognized its power. No one knew because of poor marketing and lack of vision. It may have also been that the only real users were the government, universities and some military contractors. However, a guy named Bill Gates came out with a piece of crappy software called Windows 3.0 in 1989 that allowed access to the Internet, but when he introduced 3.1 the Internet became alive. By the way, telephone numbers have been available on-line for years.
1984! For those that attended high school before that date, it held significant attention as George Orwell’s “1984” predicted how “Big Brother” would meddle in every part of our lives from birth to death. Part of Orwell’s writing predicted that corporate entities would control the world and we would be at their mercy.
I worked for the Xerox Corporation when it formed a group along with DEC and Intel to set a standard for Ethernet. It was a free licensing deal in order to grow an entity that had the potential to rake in scads of money with no real issues. Everyone thought Xerox was crazy for the giving away the licensing for free, but time has shown that the move helped start the Internet boom.
Still, everyone breathed a sigh of relief as Orwell’s predictions didn't come to pass. No “Big Brother” watched over our shoulders and all was right with the world. Apparently the sighs of relief were premature and short on insight.
Orwell’s “1984” came right on time and with all the suppressive machinations he predicted, only Americans didn't realize that that their new toy was a Trojan horse. It was the beginning of a massive invasion of privacy and Americans willingly went along with the program. Anything and everything there is to know about you and your business, family and more is on the Internet and most gave it away freely.
Even a simple hacker like me can access your files, including social security records, health records, credit records, political leanings, likes and dislikes and more.
Yes, “1984” came and went, but the things it predicted are real and are in place right now. You are being watched. How do you think the FBI makes a bust on a terrorist cell with seemingly no information? Our bits and bytes are spread throughout the ether and anyone with a little computer knowledge can steal your life, including big business and the government.
In 1981, I left the print journalism business as it became clear that newspapers could be bought off. I was at the Tulsa Tribune when it came to light that Richard Roberts and his wife were on the verge of divorce. This was a truly juicy story seeing that his father, Oral Roberts, chose Tulsa, OK to build Oral Roberts University. I saw that story killed when threats of advertising being canceled overrode good old muckraking journalism. It was my first time seeing it happen, but I saw many more instances after that. When the fear left their eyes knowing the press was there, I left the newspaper business.
Within a year of my departure, newspapers started being bought by major corporations and the others were starved out of business. That was “1984” and the change is obvious to those that worked real journalism when stories were reported no matter where the chips fell. It was called the Fourth Estate, the watchdog of American business and government. Those days are long gone, replaced by lapdog,”star” reporters that wouldn't know an investigative report from a sack of excrement.
Now, we are told the news, meaning that whatever the corporate owners want to tell us and in the way they want to tell us is what we get. Journalism died in the 1980’s and it has never recovered, at least not in the major printed media. Today, the best news comes from the Internet. The rest, especially television is “Big Brother” selling propaganda and diverting attention from the "really" important news.
We didn’t escape "1984," we just didn’t recognize it when it came. Americans have been sold lies for the past 40 years and still there is no recognition of the change. For example, the Pat Tillman story marks an obvious manipulation of the news, but half of Americans didn't believe the story was altered! Independent news organizations are poison to big business and government, that’s why they are controlled. The pundits, reporters and news anchors are all chosen carefully to give the appearance of real journalism.
Real journalism died with the Nixon administration. Business and government decided then that the Fourth Estate got in the way of operating outside the rules, so, now we have hours of worthless news on any channel available all repeating the same thing--nothing. The differences are minor, but the impact is great. Telling a lie over and over makes that lie seem truth and the undereducated American public buys it almost every time. The arrogance of ignorance and homage to hatred makes Orwell’s “1984” an easy task.