Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Who Is Watching You?

Ever since the late 60s, the concept of our government invading an individual's privacy has been a popular subject for novels, TV shows, films and a small army of talk show hosts. People traveling on airplanes know just how much the government watches you, especially as you stand still with your hands over your head posing for an X-ray scan. Even if you aren't singled out for a scan, the agent with the wand can get very friendly in an effort to get to know all about you. Now, don't misunderstand me, I fully agree passengers boarding airplanes should not carry weapons or have more than three ounces of fluids. And in this I applaud the government's efforts to thwart would-be terrorists.

Driving recently through a construction zone, it was brought to my attention again how the government is watching me, or at least how fast I am driving. The sign proclaimed something along the lines of "Speed Photo-Enforced." I had a mental image of a giant photo, flashing red and blue lights, pulling me to the side of the road.

Wherever there are opportunities for substantial money losses, cameras are used to keep track of people and record any wrongdoing. That's why you see them in banks, department stores, casinos and (perhaps the joint with the largest potential cash loss) gas stations. Yes, our movements are watched and recorded, along with our e-mails, website visits, and phone calls -- often for training purposes.

Okay, we are being watched -- a lot -- by all sorts of agencies and identities. But that is not the most critical. An honest man has nothing to fear by being watched. I smile at bank cameras and chat with TSA agents. I even slow down for construction speed limits.

I do get a little nervous when my children watch me however.

My spouse and my children see me at my best ... and at my worst. They overhear the anger and they notice the disconnect between actions and words. I may tell them it's important to go to church, but if I play golf instead of attending, they get a strong message that golf is more important than church. If I bellow at them to stop fighting and encourage them to act civil, but then start yelling at the news about how I disagree with what is being reported, I send a strong message that my commands are not to be obeyed -- since I can so easily break them. If I promise to be at their game and stay late at work instead, then my children understand they are second place in my life and will treat me as a second-place father.

Guys, you are being watched by little eyes and heard by little ears. And for better or worse those little eyes and ears will remember.

Who is watching you?


Magnus Ward said...

I'm judging me. That's enough.

Magnus Ward.


Anonymous said...

Yes, who? Video cameras in the ceiling at the office, at the restaurant, at the college, at the stores...