Surveillance

 

Surveillance. It’s in the news everyday. FISA, the Patriot Act, Metadata, Warrantless searches of nearly everything you do electronically. Skype, YouTube, Twitter, email, Google, and so forth. Cell phones have GPS capabilities and can be hacked to function as listening devices even when turned off. Since most cell phones and computers also have cameras it is even possible to surreptitiously watch events secretly. In fact Edward Snowden revealed documentation that proved our own government has huge databases of all of the above. You might think that such information is not at all threatening as long as you are not a terrorist or a criminal. You would be wrong. Privacy is an essential part of freedom. If you thought that everything you say and do is subject to surveillance how free to voice critical opinions would you be. Think political correctness on steroids!

 

There are laws meant to protect “Whistle blowers” with the idea that evil acts of government should be exposed. But that law often fails to protect people that expose evil Examples are seen in the IRS scandal, the Fast and Furious, scandal, the VA scandal, and the NSA scandal. We could go on and on. Do you think being active in a pro-freedom movement such as the Tea Party would be more or less likely to make you an object of interest to the government?

 

Nobody would willingly publish information as to their passwords, their social security number, drivers license number, or allow video cameras to be placed in their home. Under surveillance people don’t need to be forced to comply they comply simply through intimidation. There is the pretense of freedom but it is not true freedom. And here is a truly scary observation: What starts off as an outrage ends up as the, “New normal.” In time, we might even welcome the invasive surveillance because it keeps us, “Safe.”  But listen to what one our great founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, had to say about this subject. Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

 

To make matters even worse, all this surveillance has done almost nothing to make us more secure. Consider this from Glenn Greenwald, author of No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State.The record is indeed quite poor. The collect-it-all system did nothing to detect, let alone disrupt, the 2012 Boston Marathon bombing . It did not detect the attempted Christmas-day bombing of a jetliner over Detroit, or the plan to blow up Times Square, or the plot to attack the New York City subway system —all of which were stopped by alert bystanders or traditional police powers. It certainly did nothing to stop the string of mass shootings from Aurora to Newtown. Major international attacks from London to Mumbai to Madrid proceeded without detection, despite involving at least dozens of operatives.”

 

Mr. Greenwald goes on to make another point. “In fact, mass surveillance has had quite the opposite effect: it makes detecting and stopping terror more difficult. Democratic Congressman Rush Holt, a physicist and one of the few scientists in Congress, has made the point that collecting everything about everyone’s communications only obscures actual plots being discussed by actual terrorists. Directed rather than indiscriminate surveillance would yield more specific and useful information. The current approach swamps the intelligence agencies with so much data that they cannot possibly sort through it effectively.”

And the fact that they have more than they can handle may be the only good thing we can say about these surveillance programs. Surveillance is not intrinsically a bad thing. Surveillance by governments and most other organizations however, is always a bad thing. So, now let’s talk about the exception and start with a few scriptures.

*   (Mat 10:26 NIV)  "So do not be afraid of them. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.

*   (Luke 8:17-18 NIV)  For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. {18} Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him."

*   (Luke 12:2-5 NIV)  There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. {3} What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs. {4} "I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. {5} But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.

*   (1 Cor 4:5 NIV)  Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.

*   (Heb 4:13 NIV)  Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

 

The point made is that you are always under surveillance! This surveillance makes the surveillance we just talked about seems puny, weak, ineffective, and almost laughable. I am talking only about the surveillance capabilities. Government surveillance as we have it today is a serious threat to our entire way of living. It is not justified. On the other hand the surveillance of God is totally justified. It is for our own good and is not to be feared. Unlike government surveillance God’s surveillance is not turned on good people to be used against them. Just the opposite is true. Perfect justice requires perfect knowledge, perfect understanding and perfect reasoning. Only God meets that criterion. Everything God does is good and just. There will be no mistakes come judgment day. So I welcome surveillance but only the surveillance of God.

*   (Eccl 3:17 NIV)  I thought in my heart, "God will bring to judgment both the righteous and the wicked, for there will be a time for every activity, a time for every deed."

*   (Eccl 12:14 NIV)  For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.

 

So tell the government to mind their own business because they too are under surveillance!