“The Lives of Others”

“Das Leben des Anderen” is a 2006 German drama that describes in painful detail what life was like in the communist East Berlin of 1984, almost six years before the fall of the Berlin Wall, how ordinary and not so ordinary citizens were spied upon by their government, using agents of the infamous Stasi, the German Democratic Republic’s secret police. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3_iLOp6IhM
The movie is not important because it showed how a famous actress was spied upon, her life, trials, and tribulations and the secondary minions who answered to the Kommunistische Partei (Communist Party). It is important because it shows the drab and meager daily life of fear, uncertainty, and horror that people in general endured under communist regimes.

Like the actress in the movie, homes were bugged; all telephone conversations were recorded and listened to. All incoming and outgoing mail was opened, read, and copied by small bureaucrats whose job was to report anything out of the ordinary and catalog their daily blogs.

The secret police did not have sophisticated wireless technology to spy on citizens like we have today. They also did not seek nor need warrants to record everything people did or said in their homes, cars, on the phone, social media sites, or by email. They had the oppressing power of government on their side and technology was not so advanced.

Passports were seldom issued for travel, however, when they were, travelers were highly scrutinized, their families held hostage, their meager possessions, and bank accounts. There was no TSA or DHS with its modern technology but Stasi was equally successful. Instead, people were frisked and their bags searched when exiting large department stores. When everybody was so equally miserable, poor, and hungry, theft was a huge problem.

People under communism were asked to divulge to the Financial Police (that would be the equivalent of the IRS) what they owned, how much money they had hidden in the house, how they purchased certain goods, and why they ate sometimes better food than what was available on the market. Community organizers, not unlike ACORN, patrolled the streets, and, in exchange for better rations of food or a small monthly stipend, one individual was assigned per bloc of apartments to record the comings and goings into each apartment.

GPS tracking in our smart phones, cars, boats, appliances, cable TV, cameras, social sites, credit card purchases, online purchases, flights, and reward/special customer grocery store shopping enable faceless individuals to track us and our lives daily.

If you have Verizon phone and cable service, a judge just ordered them to turn over all their data daily to the federal government to be stored without a warrant or a reason. Perhaps you think you are safe from this intrusion. The NSA data storage center in Bluffdale, Utah can handle a lot of storage, estimated to be 5 zettabytes of information.

Satellites can take pictures with extreme accuracy. Drones can spy in your bedroom as you sleep. Smart meters relay information to the mother ship about your gas, electricity, water consumption, your appliances, whether you are home, if you are using medical devices, and sports equipment. Appliances can talk to the grocery store and place food orders for you. You and the utilities companies can turn off your electricity, water, A/C, and gas whether you want it turned off or not.

IRS, who abused its power as a tax-exempt agency, will now be in charge of your most sensitive medical information, with the power to deny medical care once the 15- member death panel is fully staffed. Currently it only has one member, HHS Secretary Sebelius.

Your boss monitors your email usage and content, and blocks your access to certain sites. Businesses owned by people with liberal leanings firewall sites that contradict their views. YouTube takes down videos that offend liberals, thus stifling freedom of speech. Academia censors conservative professors by denying them tenure. Facebook censors conservative users constantly, no matter how polite their posts are. Big publishers often turn down good conservative writers. MSM promotes political correctness and liberal views, preventing any polite opposition from exercising their freedom of speech.

If you consider how much territory political correctness occupies in the center of our lives and how much government bureaucratic control dictates what you do on a daily basis, do you still think you are free? Your brothers and sisters are watching you – they are empowered by non-elected government bureaucrats to spy on the “lives of others.”

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