Is Big Brother getting bigger?


One possible answer to the copyright saga.

Apple now tags purchases with your user name and mac address.

With streaming or downloading [legitimate] the master data base can know who bought the original copy and who owns that particular “use” license.

Sounds like a good and logical plan.

My only concern is that this “ilk” of data collection is beginning to invade our homes from many different collection points.

With “smart fridges” you can print a list of contents and a shopping list for what is empty. Really? My fridge contents too?

Someone could be tracking how much milk, cheese, strawberries and beer I use?

Insurance companies are installing “squealers” in cars to monitor our habits, mileage and destinations with offers of discounts for the installations.

We may have survived “1984” but it looks like it is quickly catching up.

Big Brother has Big plans for us.


And I wonder if this is a bad thing or not? I remember when I first started using Google Chrome and discovered it remembers my searches, my bookmarks and so on. It “knows” me and if isn’t just on my computer because I have multiple devices at multiple locations and they are are knowing me. :slight_smile: Once I got used to the shock of it, I rather like it.

I think we tend to feel invaded when personal knowledge is captured by those we have not invited into our lives. You’re not unhappy that your brother in law knows how much beer you drink, but worried when the great unseen community has access to that information as well.

It is an interesting question and one I think about a lot. On the one hand I want machines to know more about me so they can help and make life easier and more productive - I guess I’ll start being worried when that progress turns into roadblocks - as they did in Orwell’s novel.


Well here is my take on this and some might call me a left winger, which I am not, but I am just someone who has lived long enough to remember when life was much more FREE and less mandated by our wonderfully benevolent Big Corporations.

So if big business watches us “individually” as opposed to mass market polls, then they can “make our lives easier” by watching our habits and directing “consumer” ads that are more important to us at the time. Is that REALLY easier or BETTER?


Big business controls the government therefore the government IS Big-Brother Business.

Oil, Aircraft, Arms, GMA-food, water,borders, travel. you name it.

If CIA,FBI,HSB etc are monitoring the phones, internet, credit purchases, travel, phone-sex etc and they are now sharing it all through a master data base, do we not know that Big-Brother business in also a partner in the loop.

Think about it for a moment.

We see masses occupying city squares to protest against anarchy. We, for now, have the illusion of freedom, as long as we follow the rules.

But we are also in different times and a much younger civilization so perhaps we should sit back and look at the “trend” and see if we like where it is taking us.

Sorry, I wish I was just watching a sit-com but it looks more like “Terminator” with SKYNET.

I hope someone is working on a time machine!



While I like at times the “conveniences” these corporations provide, I’d much rather they “not” gather my info. I predict a struggle between the “info gatherers and government and privacy advocates” that hopefully will not resort in violence but at least will result in lots of wasted time and resources. I believe you can see this play out today in the malware and viruses that appear and “cures” that just slow our pcs and work down.

Bottom line, we lose our freedoms each time a law is passed in reaction to some terrorist acts. I certainly resent all the needless harassment at the airports.

For instance a friend’s parents went to Texas for the Winter. Her father passed away while there and his body was shipped home. My friend had to go down and retrieve her 78 year old mother who is a victim of some sort of dementia. At the airport Homeland Stupidity told my friend that her and her mother had been randomly picked for some sort of scrutiny. My friend informed them it was not a good idea that she be separated from her mom. The official insisted and became somewhat adamant and said, " Rules apply to all." So the two were separated for a “pat down” of some sort. Well with in minutes my friend’s mom became very agitated, loud, and uncontrollable. A few minutes latter Homeland Stupidity is begging my friend to come over where her mom was having the breakdown and calm her mother down. My friend told them, " rules apply to all and I’m not allowed to be in the same room, remember. Well the official’s face turned livid and they pretty much “guided” my friend to the room where her mother had been detained. And of course “mom” calmed down and they quickly cleared them through.

Now I understand the issue of profiling, though I’m not supportive of the concept, but really random or not I doubt if there have been many 78 year old grandmothers spreading terrorism throughout the world.

If terrorists have changed our lifestyles, curtailed our freedoms, disrupted our normal lives in any way, then they are successful, whether their “mission” is successful or not.




Homeland Stupidity… :slight_smile: I have not heard that one before but it sure fits, especially for the sheeple that they tend to hire. Rules are Rules. :))



US customs agents make sheep look like independent thinkers.


TSA agents, etc. likely privately agree. Their job however does not allow for the exercise of discretion however; their role is, in fact, to apply the rules. Whether the rule is appropriate in a given situation is not something they get to decide.

The obvious obverse is when something goes wrong precisely because an agent, police officer, etc. exercised discretion. Then the uproar is it could have been prevented if the agent simply had followed the rules.

As with many aspects of the world, there is no easy solution.


Very sad that instead of the warm welcomes we used to receive everywhere for taking time to visit and get to know cultures and countries we are now intimidated by border officials who are given god-like powers but little training in human caring.

Although America is among the worst for this it is sadly no longer alone.

Why do we stir up the hornets and then freak out when they rebel?

No amount of border profiling can work without getting back to the root cause.

I guess if there were $$ incentives for doing that it might actually happen.

The few bad apples are slowly robbing us of our most precious freedoms.

I suppose that is their intention.

Gordon said: . . . instead of the warm welcomes we used to receive everywhere . . .

You must be vastly older than I. I do not remember a time when I did not need to have visas, etc. to travel to many countries and was required to go through customs - some of which were far from warm and welcoming, especially when dealing with the Eastern Bloc, Greece when it was annoyed with the U.S., much of the mid-east, etc.

Even then, as now, most of my experiences with the officials themselves was perfectly fine once you accept they simply are performing a role - be cooperative, smile and nod, respectful, know what you cannot bring in, pack light and easily searchable. No biggie.

Interestingly, with modern technology the process is often now less invasive. I do not care a whit if I am scanned and my baggage is sniffed and x-rayed. While a bother, and it would be nice to avoid, it is trivial in term's of life inconveniences.


Oh, so you mean we have made great progress?

I rarely have any issues but do not appreciate the “in your face” greetings from many entries these days.

FEAR is an ugly emotion and creates many social problems.

We always seem to have someone we can blame and it is rarely ourselves.

This is not really a rant, I get what’s going on, but just a disappointed human at the footprint that we seem to be leaving for our future generation.

“the loss of innocence”.

Gordon said: Oh, so you mean we have made great progress?

Ignoring the sarcasm, it depends on how you define progress. I find a baggage x-ray and a quick person scan much less invasive than the physical searches which often occurred decades ago when engaged in international travel. Modern technology is vastly quicker as well.

I question only your assertion of "warm welcomes we used to receive everywhere" as international travel was *never* open and carefree (see above post). Decades ago, when a U.S. citizen needed only a current drivers license to enter Canada, I was detained and my car searched. The officials were polite, I offered no complaint, and it was over quickly. No big deal, but not a warm welcome.

Peoples have always had a great deal of mistrust of the Other and have engaged in border protections of various types for millennia. Various societies banned all contact with foreigners over the centuries. Others were restrictive as to types of exchanges (trade only on defined routes, no scholars or theologians, etc.).

However, my experience of the functionaries is the same as before. Treat them respectfully, recognize they simply have a job to do, be cooperative and non-defensive and the process goes by quickly and painlessly. Respect the cogs and you will not be caught in the gears.

On the other hand, the vast majority of the citizens of any country I have visited have been wonderful. There are a few Parisians I could go without meeting again.

The pendulum has always swung very slowly from openness to paranoia and back. All that has changed is the technology employed.

Both U.S. domestic and international travel has become easier than just after 9/11. My guess is it will continue to slowly swing in this direction.


no sarcasm, just an occasional good nature tease.

Elk said: Decades ago, when a U.S. citizen needed only a current drivers license to enter Canada,

Sorry about that. Canada actually fought that one but Uncle Sam insisted and imposed the same on us. Seems He wants to know WHO visits the dangerous neighbor to the North. [tease]

Don’t take this wrong but yes, I have noticed occasionally when traveling with US passport holders in tow, that scrutiny and attitudes were a bit different.

Also since USA demanded visas from most countries then those countries also demanded.

It is only more recently that I needed visas and if so then usually available at the point of entry.

Maybe it was the passport but I also suspect that some have reciprocated in kind for the “renowned” intimidation techniques used by most US agents.

My experience has also been mostly pleasant but I have witnessed many fugly scenes that were, in my opinion, small minds with big sticks and unnecessarily rude.

My original point was the sadness that we have lost many freedoms that you and I enjoyed and now has become acceptable, as you put it, and trivial compared to other inconveniences.

I do not consider being forced to arrive at airports hours before flights to be an acceptable advancement of service and of technology.

As for the pendulum, I doubt it will move back. They need to keep the fear factor front and center or things they do won’t make sense to John Doe.

Gordon said: Sorry about that.

Not at all. It is a minor new inconvenience.

My point is that prior to this - decades ago and well prior to the current environment - I happened to be challenged at entry to Canada. It is simply an example of how there was never a mythical time of open, warm access to all places one may wish to visit.

Gordon said: My experience has also been mostly pleasant but I have witnessed many fugly scenes that were, in my opinion, small minds with big sticks and unnecessarily rude.

Sadly, this happens. I am not convinced however the problem is any worse than the past.

There are obnoxious security agents, but as many antagonistic passengers. Often, the passenger's behavior is as questionable as the agent's (not always of course). Everyone needs to be patient and thoughtful of their acts.

I have rarely had an issue with a security agent in any country, but I am both a low anxiety type and hard to intimidate. I find the process more amusing than upsetting. The East German tendency to motion with a sub-atomic weapon was not particularly heart warming however.

Gordon said: My original point was the sadness that we have lost many freedoms that you and I enjoyed . . .

This is where we have a disagreement. For decades I have been required to obtain visas, undergo various inspections/searches/questioning to travel to many countries. Some have become a bit more restrictive but overall not much has changed. Countries have always been suspicious of foreigners. The Great Wall is not a giant welcome mat.

The only substantive difference is the initial boarding of flights where we are now all searched via x-ray when we previously randomly searched physically. This does slow down the average time getting to the gates.

Gordon said: I do not consider being forced to arrive at airports hours before flights to be an acceptable advancement . . .

Hours? I am rarely at an airport more than 45 minutes prior to a domestic flight. Why sit in the airport? (I do not understand the appeal of the "exclusive" lounges the airlines provide.) Internationally an hour and a half unless, for some reason, I have concerns getting to the particular airport. These times are the same I have used for years.


I guess this is becoming “our” thread.

Ever try to check in for an intl flight in “common” class and with wife and or kids with 400 other passengers?

"US Airways CLOSES passenger and baggage check-in 30 minutes prior to departure for domestic travel and 60 minutes prior to departure for international travel."

I was not just referring to seasoned travelers who know the ropes. What about those who after saving up $$ are taking a dream trip with family and arrive wherever after possibly 24hrs of travel [with kids]. They cannot arrive 30min before check in closes. Many are there 4hrs ahead and spend it all in lines. Service on flights is now minimal so little comfort there.

Ever try to re-tie all your kids shoes after security and still get to the gate on time without forgetting any stuff? Oh and please leave your water here and you can buy new ones inside for 5 bucks each or drink plane belly water on the flight.

Pen knife? ok we are working on that, unless you come from…

Ok, I’m flogging the pony here but you get the idea.

Travel used to be an adventure and an exciting opportunity to visit and experience new cultures. It is not the same for 90% of the plane any more.

Hey, I’ve been on 2 commercial flights that crashed and even run out of gas when I was piloting. Nothin’ bothers me any more.

But, it’s not me that I am concerned about.


Gordon - you might be referring to a sweet spot in the past where systems and your mobility briefly hit what you perceive is an optimum.

I travel a lot for work and pleasure. Worst experiences are always in Canada alone because of the soviet policies on competition. The best thing ever was losing my AC super elite status, the key benefit of which was having Olga give me my fresh copy of Pravda before anyone else. Plus I got her knuckles while they were still cold and advertised as “refreshing” while sitting on 767s meant to carry troops not civilians judging by the pathetic galleys. Don’t get me started about the vile Halifax and Montreal legacy crews AC brought to the table to integrate with the western Canadian (post ward air) crews during the “merger”.

The problem now is that flying is too cheap for the infrastructure and ancillary services including security theatre - what you are complaining about is that the realisation of other people’s capitalist dream no longer reflects what you’d hope for from travel.

Btw on my last trip through YYZ it made LOS customs look orderly. Maybe the middle class in OECD countries shouldn’t fly?

Btw I am pro border security based on what I have seen the travelling public try to pull (huge knives, full bottles of cheese whiz, illegal foodstuffs, drugs, booze, tobacco, miscounts on family members, fake IDs.) The issue is how stupid and incompetent boerder agents can be, alas, often in the US. I assume they mean well and are just playing dumb. This strategy gets me through everytime.