It’s the sort of thing we would have expected the Soviets to do if they had survived into the new millennia: intercept laptop deliveries and install malware so they can spy on users. For those of us Baby Boomers who grew up during the cold war when we condemned the enemy for spying on its citizens, intrusions of this nature are untenable. However, I wonder if the millennials have been partially inoculated against feeling that same level of rage when they’re being monitored. A growing number of parents are keeping a close eye on their teens by installing camcorders in their rooms, tracking their every movement by way of their phones’ GPS devices, and demanding their children’s Facebook and E-Mail passwords so that they can read what they’re posting and what they’re receiving.
A teenage boy and longtime family friend recently posted a plea on his Facebook page for his friends to be careful with their comments. “My parents read everything I post and if they don’t like it they make me take it down. If they don’t like what my friends write, they tell me to unfriend them.”
Some parents have even installed the same type of spyware on their children’s computers that the NSA is installing on computers-in-transit: a program which allows the voyeur to monitor what is being typed on the user’s screen in real time. These young people will either become anaesthetized to those in power looking over their shoulder or they will find ever newer and more creative ways to elude surveillance.
When I recently had lunch with a university student who is majoring in a foreign language, she told me she would eventually like to work for U. S. intelligence. “Maybe I’ll become a translator and I’ll get to be one of those people who listens in on everyone’s phone calls. I know it’s wrong but it would be an interesting job.”
What’s bugging you and your office these days? It might just be the NSA. Good luck finding a pest control company to take care of that.
(Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org)