Starship Amerika and Obama’s GPS Surveillance (Cole in Truthdig)

My column in Truthdig is out: “Starship Amerika.”

Excerpt:

‘President Barack Obama is actually siding with police who want to use GPS devices to track you without a warrant. It always disturbed me when on “Star Trek” the captain asked the ship’s computer where a crew member was and was told the person’s exact location. Even civilians such as the ship’s physician and the empathy counselor were not immune from these inquiries, the answers to which could after all sometimes have been embarrassing. Is America heading toward being one big star ship, where government officials can casually inquire at will into our whereabouts and private doings? ‘

Read the whole thing.

9 Responses

  1. The question, is President Obama actually siding with the police who want to use GPS devices is terrifying, and threatens our rights with an INSANITY that drives people to do the unthinkable. There will be a revolution,or an insanity that can only end in total GRIEF. I’m ready to leave this country if this happens.

  2. I am going to issue a religous Fatwa on this issue. This Fatwa may not carry much wieght anywhere outside of the TwilightZone but I will issue it non the less.
    Warnings were issued by some on famous over two hundred years ago that secrecy is a poison to democracy. I do not remember who said it but even if some scum bag like Al Capone the idea that secrecy is a poison to democracy seems very sound to me.
    What the hell is privacy other than secrecy by another name.
    Privacy allows humans to do all kinds of evil things. If someone has nothing to hide the should not give a shit if the government is investigating them. Furthermore it is true that people have no expectation of privacy outside their home.
    Tracking someone by GPS is nothing more than a way for the police to do what they have always done only much cheaper than they did it previously. I have often wondered whether I myself have a GPS system attached to one of my own cars. I have also wondered if the government can track the GPS system that is built in to a car in the same way that it can track cell phones.
    What I have to say that is new and important is this.
    What is good for the goose is good for the gander. If the government can keep track of any citizen any ciitzen should be able to keep track of any government official at any and all times and find out everything that the government is up to at any and all times. Maybe the defense department can be allowed a very few exceptions to this policy.
    What that means is this if a drug dealer calls up the city and county and state and federal government and asks if he is under investigation the government has to tell him/her the truth! Now I can see investigators all over America falling off their chairs in laughter. They should stop and think! Do they want to stop hard drug trafficing or do they want to put people in prison! If a person is trafficing in drugs and they know that they are under investigation they are either going to have to at least temporarily stop their business, or take more precautions which would be even more suspicous, or find another way to make a living. Now I imagine that most trafficers are smart enough not to call the government and ask if they are under investigation. But the authorities could use a honey pot. They could place a list of all their active investiagations on a web site and monitor that web site to see who checks it. If it is a reporter so be it. If the URL traces back to a reporter it would be natural that a reporter would want to know this info. If it traces back to someone like me with no job then the police might have a reason to look deeper.
    What is really needed is America is not more privacy it is smarter police forces. Or at least police forces who will tell their bosses to go to hell when they are asked to spy on a peace group or say the NAACP and know that their fellow policemen and the DAs will back them up when they take their pitchforks and make some boss leave the office and never come back when these bosses becomes a puppet for politicians who are themselves puppets for corprate intrests rather good ciitzens trying to promote the general welfare by stopping corperations from creating toxic waste sites, creating criminal lending policies which lead to multi hundred billion dollar bailouts, and what have you.
    In short America and the world need policemen who know who their customers really are. They need to know that we are here and we are watching them.

  3. The question, is President Obama actually siding with the police who want to use GPS devices is terrifying, and threatens our rights with an INSANITY that drives people to do the unthinkable

  4. I was going to write exactly this comment until I saw someone took the words right out of my mouth in a comment on Truthdig.

    Posting here for the benefit of readers who might’ve missed the comment on Truthdig.

    “By Mijan, April 20 at 12:14 pm

    Hey, I know this technically has nothing to do with the political point you’re making, but if you want to use a pop culture reference to illustrate your point, you could at least be accurate about it.

    In Star Trek, all of the ship’s doctors, and even Counselor Troi, were all Starfleet officers. They were not civilians. In fact, they were senior officers with command training. Both the counselor and the doctor in ST: The Next Generation were qualified to command the ship. Additionally, being able to find out where your CREW (people who are VOLUNTARILY under your command) are on a secure, self-contained military vessel is different than tracking civilian citizens anywhere within the borders of a free nation such as the United States.

    While the point of your article is intriguing, your pop culture example is inaccurate and misrepresents the problem. “

  5. Unlike Babylon-5, Star Trek does not show anything close to real life security even on the office level, not to mention military and intelligence. Main characters of TOS and TNG are best friends, they don’t have any serious tensions with their command, no particular reasons for mistrust. So, this analogy makes no sense.

    More importantly, GPS tracking is nothing compared with Obama admin’s cyber warfare initiatives which are really harmful.

    Remember for example the STUXNET story which happened just before the Japanese nuclear disaster. STUXNET hardly damaged the Iranian nuclear program anyhow seriously. But spending resources on disrupting the nuclear installations rather than enhancing safety is quite irresponsible!

  6. I suspect the police has been doing this GPS tracking for a while without us knowing it. It is only now they make it public.

  7. Ok no comment has been made here for a while this looks to me like a dead thread. The reason that I chose it is because just as some articles posted here have nothing to do with the middle east I wanted to post someting off topic.
    Glen Beck:
    I never liked him. I never listened to him. I only heard reports about what he ahd said. Now I hear that Fox is giving him the ax. It seems that he left the reservation.
    He started to expose the Federal Reserve for what it is for one thing. Ok her also got carried away with the Rothschields conspiracy theory and George Soros among other things.
    The thing is when it comes to the Federal Reserve being a blood sucking sham you have an example of something that the rebellious right and the rebellious left actually agree on.
    As for the other stuff it is easy to fall for these Freesmason, Bilderburger, Trilateral Commission, and similar conspiracy theories. It is true that there is a conspiracy to promote these false conspiracies to hide the really really big conspiracy. The one hiding in plain sight. It is called the US military industrial complex congressional conspiracy, known as the US Government for short. Now off course not every one working for the US govenment has direct knowledge of the conspiracy. Hell there are probably even a lot Colonels that do not have any direct knowledge of the conspiracy.
    Yet because the things that the US government does are so distant from promoting the general welfare there is no way in hell that I can be explained with out the use of some kind of centralized conspiracy theory. Those who think that such results over decades can come about through the normal give and take of political infighting clearly lack a developed sense of pattern recognition.
    If a person needs me to quote examples to come to this conclusion all I can say I do not have time to type the public library in to this space. It would probably not do such a person any good anyways.

  8. I wonder if Obama even knows how to use a GPS or has used one before? All is good in theory sometimes but it helps to actually use something.

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