Honestly, I prefer to talk about fairy tales and the
good things in life, but things in life are not always good and it is no use to
regretfully shake our heads and turn the page of our Saturday newspaper to
something more cheerful. There is a lot of not so nice things happening all
over the world, one of them is the phone-hacking scandal, invasion of privacy
and things that are connected with it, be it facebook or other social networks.
Where to start? Is it a phenomenon of today? Secret
Service is nothing new at all; it is as old as Methuselah. Political and
industrial spies were sent travelling around the globe with the first explorers,
knowledge about the other party was and is power. Many countries have therefore
hesitated for centuries to open their doors to foreigners, especially in the
Far East. Nepal, for example, have accepted tourism very late, only in the
middle of last century.
Today the profession of spying is made easier, you can
do it from your writing desk when you are a clever computer freak and know how
to enter other people’s systems. Last century’s methods were to flirt with the
secretary of a character in a high position, this is no longer necessary….or
women spies were trained to draw secrets during tender meetings. Spicy stories.
Today, the species of the ordinary spy is extinct; today’s spies have their
fingers in other systems, no more love involved as secret door opener. Poor
007, what would he do today?
Politics is a dirty business, however, the citizens of
a country expect their government to protect them from all harm, and how can
they achieve this? They must know what the others have in mind, they all do it,
they would be lost if they wouldn’t.
Reactionary tendencies and criminal activities can only be controlled
when continually observed and that is today by telephone and internet
surveillance and we must accept - if we want it or not – that private spheres
are sometimes crossed. This is the one side of the medal.
The difference today is that a mutated kind of espionage
has entered the lives of us citizens, the domain of private persons, data are broken
into, stolen and used for advertising, worse: bank data are found out and bank
accounts emptied; private telephone numbers are being used by others to make
long distance calls. Tax evaders are found out and brought to court and - even
worse - into the media.
others than police – are watching our steps. Sometimes for our
protection, sometimes they go too far. Cases of transgression are reported daily
in the international media but where should the lines be drawn. The latest news
were about Mrs Merkel’s private mobile telephone. This is a breach of trust
among friendly states.
There should be an international agreement in how far
things are allowed to go. However, the definition of secret service it to know
more than the other and I wonder how Obama will get out of this tight spot.
There will be an exchange of excuses and business will continue as usual.
Let us now talk about the social networks: Whatever
you are using, there is absolute transparency, so when you place a note into
your network you must be aware that many people are reading it, not just your
own circle of friends but the friends of your friends, it is like a gallery of
mirrors, your message, your photos are reflected and are finally to be found in
the Internet, publicly readable. By using a social network I accept that others
read me and perhaps use me. So, what is the use, or let’s say the morale value,
of a message if you don’t want it read; it is as if you were going into a
public place naked shouting: Don’t you dare looking at me!
Let us be honest, most of the social network users
want to share with the outside world, their art work, their poetry, their
thoughts, their longings; they want to share their joy when something nice has
happened but they also want to find sympathy when they are unhappy, and that is
legitimate and often helpful to those who are lonely. Many of the users are
placing their protest against something happening around our globe, often mind
openers, but there are also those who have a dirty mind and want to hurt
society. In acute danger are very young people who don’t know how to handle
their confusion about growing up and place intimate photos in the internet or
their mobile phones thus drawing the attention upon themselves of people out to
It is often easier to entrust things to a machine than
to say it openly to the person sitting opposite you; it is easier to create a
letter and send it off via internet or mobile phone than to sit down and write
a normal letter, put it in an envelope, take it to the post office, wait for a
couple of days before you get a response. But, it is advisable to do it this
way if you want to keep things secret, at least it should be safer. However, if
authorities are set to get you, they will.
We do want a transparent society but that invites us
to lead a clean life. However, there will always be characters in our society
who in one form or the other live from the other people’s brain and efforts.
That is our dilemma, everything has several sides, the
principle of contrasts, the black sheep among whites, the green fish among red