THE MINK COAT

Taking a Look at Powers of Escalation…

first draft…

When someone buys a ‘mink coat,’ they become the center of conversation whether they plan on it or not.  People’s judgments become group thought at a very rapid rate.  Once these group thoughts become incarnate, the ‘mink coat thought’ propagates in outward circles until more and more people are called on to give opinions.  Without realizing what is going on, verbal and electronic sharing or ‘surveillance’ occurs.

It’s not like a mink coat is unique. There is no one particular color which is acceptable.  Type, source, length and purchase point are all topics to discuss.  A quick look on a person’s or group’s social media space will reveal conversations and critiques which may be sampled and passed on.  Maybe the purchaser may provide the most information, self-describing their thoughts and spin that they want publicized.  Could this be too much information, or the data miner’s key that unlocks personal privacy for public consumption.

Citizen’s ‘mink coat behavior’ leads to two main types of privacy degradation.  First, friendly inspection and publication of viewed information and personal opinion discussions gets filtered again and again by familiar and unknown sources.  Why send out a human or non-human [ex. Drone] to record details when a chain reaction can be set in motion artificially through suggestion, or naturally by ‘marking’ someone as “strange.”  A person marked as ‘strange,’ no matter how normal the target appears to oneself, will never be allowed to display unique traits.  If one person tells a tale about another that they once killed someone, or that they have some exotic disease, they will certainly be watched for a long time for any extraneous behaviors.  This is the accused person’s ‘mink coat.’  We have unknowingly become less private, escalated over time by our own and nearby publicity.

Many people spend their day with cell phone camera ready and social media always open.  When someone gives the suggestion, or a person becomes marked as strange, a deputized viewer or group instantly morphs in paparazzi.  And since Hollywood is an unattainable place, why not make your own movie star park in your own hometown.  This behavior is guaranteed to make any life more enjoyable, until you witness how information can be used against you.

Less common forms of surveillance can become engrained in the watcher’s toolbox.  We have all heard about unsecured surveillance cameras being tapped to watch a target marked as ‘strange.’  Could someone’s radio be used as a two-way long distance telephone?  We all have heard how someone’s powered ‘on’ cell phone can be turned into a two-way microphone.  And since televisions are merely sound waves converted back and forth into light waves, can the television screen act as a two-way camera.  But wait, we all like personalized television programming.  I hope it doesn’t talk back to you too much though.  Too much customization ruins the original artistic intent.

Top of the surveillance food chain is remote listening to a person’s thoughts.  Human bodies operate on small amounts of electricity.  Professionals call both simple and complex thought brain waves.  Waves of electrical energy permeate inside and outside of the skull.  These waves can be listened to from varying distances, depending on the strength of reader.  Sounds impossible???  Ever build a string telephone with two cups connected by a length of yarn?  An unknown subject can be ‘listened through’ a thin wall.  And we all know how a stethoscope magnifies someone’s faint heartbeat.  Fun times indeed.

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects people from unreasonable searches and seizures of their person or papers on the interior or exterior of a person’s body.  The Fourth Amendment also protects someone’s house, and structures located on the same property.  It has also been recently interpreted to protect the interior of someone’s vehicle.  Most importantly, The Fourth Amendment protects a person’s communications, both vocal and electronic.  Most important, communications inside one’s mind or ‘internal communications’ are protected…

The hot topic of 2013 CIA confirmation hearings are drone strikes.  I have trouble making a judgment of who controls the kill lists or what type of person can build one with a hobbyist kit, because I am amazed at all the privacy we have already chosen to give up.  The escalating amounts of information that America has chosen to make public, along with the silly accusations we make about each other have thoroughly diluted the everyday powers of the Fourth Amendment.  We are walking around with ‘mink coats’ that we chose to wear or have been clothed with by other people.  The hearings draw the line dealing with drone surveillance of Americans, but NEVER choose to discuss the escalating memes that have been planted and cultivated.

I try to live my life as transparently as possible, and I also refuse to publicly post extraneous details about myself.  Sometimes a person might explain that because I choose not to publicly post any pictures of myself, my ‘on-line’ identity is unknown.  I really don’t want to clothe myself in the manner that many choose to, and I try to protect myself from being labeled as often as possible.  It is nice to see a vanity shot once in a while, but each instance is evidence for someone to mark me as ‘strange.’  I am warm enough without the coat.

I guess my point is it is awful difficult, and costly, to protect something that we have already given away.  By making our private lives public, by falling in the trap of marking each other, and by failing to say ‘NO’ when our privacy first feels violated, we have allowed the escalation of Forth Amendment Disintegration.  Let’s take the coats off and protect what is left of our privacy.  I try to re-gift the one’s I get to goodwill whenever possible.

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