Right now Google Fiber contractors are digging a hole in the front yard. Little red, yellow and blue flags dot the neighborhood, marking gas lines and dig sites. Tree limbs are truncated to make way for new telephone polls installed by convoys of trucks with generic sounding company names on the side. My midnight bike rides are interrupted by men standing around drilling holes in the sidewalk, surrounded by flood lights and orange traffic barriers. The irony of Google Fiber’s rainbow bunny mascot is the installation work has scared all the neighborhood’s actual rabbits into flight. During my evening stroll I see entire warrens on the move. It is what it is, even if we mostly use that expression to mean I’d rather it were something else. I hope it’s not being too dramatic to say the whole Snowden thing threw a little cold water on the Fiber project for me. By tracking your digital breadcrumbs and analyzing your text messages and email drafts as you write them, Snowden alleges, the NSA can see into your thought process and analyze your “pattern of life.” This all sounds paranoid, the kind of thinking most often associated with drugs, secrecy or treason. But as these guys point out, “These days you don’t need drugs to be paranoid. You can just be paranoid and be totally correct.” So the Web and telecom networks secretly turn over data to the government — not a big surprise. But do we really want them burrowing directly into our homes? I guess it depends on what you’re willing to give up to be able to digitally record eight TV shows at once.
2 thoughts on “Little Red Flags”
Good point, WNTB. I think it’s just the overtness of having your yard dug up so mysterious entities / contractors can lay high speed cable in them that makes this project so odd. but you’re right… the government’s clandestine surveillance methods are much more widespread and ultimately more significant
The ‘who’ of your ISP has been irrelevant for over a decade; the Feds simply (covertly or not) trunk into any switch they deem ‘of interest’. America’s surveillance state –begun under Clinton, broadened by Bush and ‘legalized’ and further legitimized by Obama — is already firmly entrenched; the belief in the neutrality, much less ‘goodness’…as though ‘goodness’ was capable of offsetting the machinations of those weaving the Matrix into the ‘net…of one ISP over another is not only wrong-headed but dangerously naïve.
They’re already in your home.