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Why I don’t worry about the government tapping my phone – and neither should you

The current debate has nothing to do with principles, just liberal privilege. The liberal elite gets to choose the issue of the day and make us all react.

The global elite wants you to get angry. The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and Le Monde have investigated the matter and found that governments worldwide could be spying on people. The Guardian has a full page feature with Narendra Modi’s face on it. What are you waiting for? Stand up and resist.

Well, count me out. Why should I get angry? For one, I quite liked the fearsome image of PM Modi that The Guardian used for its feature. It’s a far cry from the fatherly, good-natured and bearded image that he tries to project today. The image reminded me of an earlier time, when his face would strike terror into the hearts of leftists worldwide.

I mean I am angry, but just a little. Could it be that the government used our taxpayer money to procure spy software to listen in on 2BHK journalists getting their election inputs from the domestic help, cook or driver? That would be a shame.

There was a time when I had a lot of respect for privacy warriors. When the Facebook – Cambridge Analytica scandal broke in 2018, I followed the developments very closely. Did shady political consultants harvest our data without our consent from the world’s largest social media platform? Did they use this data to influence our voting choices and thereby subvert democracies worldwide? In India as well, this should have been a watershed moment. Then, this happened.

Congress picture in Cambridge Analytica office

I never heard about Cambridge Analytica in Indian media again. As Rahul Gandhi had once explained, the Congress symbol stands for daro mat (have no fear). I bet the good folks at Cambridge Analytica must have wrapped up their operations and left for the Himalayas in search of moksha.

Yesterday, when liberals were working themselves up into a frenzy, right wing users dug up this old gem from Dr. Manmohan Singh.

2010 when PM Manmohan Singh backed phone tapping

I showed this headline to a liberal friend of mine. Her rhetoric softened instantly. And I didn’t even show her this one.

UPA govt tapping phones

So the current debate has nothing to do with principles, just liberal privilege. The liberal elite gets to choose the issue of the day and make us all react. This time, I am not going to worry.

I know what you are thinking. Two wrongs don’t make a right. But my reasoning is more cynical than that. Why should I worry? I’m a BJP supporter and the BJP is in power. I have nothing to worry.

But wait, you might ask. Do you think BJP will be in power forever? Don’t be so short-sighted.

Of course not. Nothing is permanent. The government will change some day. I have no illusions.

But I also know that the day liberals come back to power, they will exact a terrible revenge. Have you seen how liberals operate in Bengal? For two successive elections now, the Congress has been reduced to dust. They could not get even the 55 seats needed to form the opposition. The day they get their power back, phone tapping will be the least of my problems. Like I said, I have no illusions.

So I don’t care. And neither should you, even if you are a liberal. What’s the worst that could happen to you? It’s been seven years of Modi and your business of liberal privilege is flourishing. In fact, you have gone from earning in Rupees to earning in dollars. Even small time Communist student leaders can spring for rooms at the Taj hotel. Imagine the lifestyle of the globally connected tycoons of Indian liberalism. While asking for donations, one of these tycoons put out an announcement that they make no more than Rs 2 lakh per month in salary. Were perks included? I don’t know.

Anyway, I saw the Taj hotel once, while walking in front of the Gateway of India. It seemed nice.

So, if you are a liberal, life is good under Modi. And if the liberals come back to power, life can only get better. So what are you worried about?

Ah, I almost forgot. What about principles? It’s time to stop asking stupid questions. Big Tech companies are compiling, trading and auctioning your data all over the place. There are no rules. Big government, foreign governments and hostile governments are all interested. Did you hear about what is happening in the United States?

What is happening in the US

It starts with misinformation about vaccines. Soon it will be extended to all political issues, to whatever a “fact checker” classifies as misinformation. Any time you are about to commit a thoughtcrime against the global elite, they will get inside your head and “fact check” you.

By the way, did you read that extract carefully? It is not even the US government that will start fact checking your text messages. It is the DNC or Democratic National Committee, working directly with service providers. Yeah, that’s right. Any time you are sending a message, it will go to the headquarters of the ruling party first. The ruling party will decide whether your message contains “misinformation.”

In his book Nineteen Eighty Four, Orwell spoke of the phenomenon of “crimestop,” the ability to stop on the threshold of a dangerous thought. At that time, it was just a dark fantasy. But let me tell you algorithms are fully capable of doing this today. By processing data from billions of people, they know what you are going to think of next, even before the idea has formed inside your head. Just like the e-commerce platforms just seem to know in advance what you are going to buy. Have you heard of text prediction software? It’s actually remarkable how coherent they have become.

What do you do for a living? More and more people now depend on Big Tech for a living. It isn’t just tech workers or social media influencers. It is also the person who strings together odd jobs, or drives around a taxi or autorickshaw. It’s also a small business owner who runs a restaurant or hotel, or the delivery guy who runs to your door with the food. Just one thoughtcrime against the global elite and Big Tech will put you on a list. You get kicked off the platform and lose your way of making a living.

By the way, your bank also subscribes to the list, which is why they will refuse to let you bank with them. You pick up the phone to call a friend for help. But your phone service provider has already disabled your connection. All this in the space of milliseconds. That day is coming.

In any case, if anyone tried to protest your plight, they would get “fact-checked” too. So be rest assured that nobody is coming to help.

Can you name any fact checkers? I know who you are thinking about. He is not the only one, but he is a good example. Well, think of his stony face and cruel eyes. That’s your new boss. So, show some respect.

In Nineteen Eighty Four, Orwell tells us to think of the future as a boot crushing a face. That’s our fate. Privacy is long dead. Om Shanti. Say it while you still can.

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Abhishek Banerjeehttps://dynastycrooks.wordpress.com/
Abhishek Banerjee is a math lover who may or may not be an Associate Professor at IISc Bangalore. He is the author of Operation Johar - A Love Story, a novel on the pain of left wing terror in Jharkhand, available on Amazon here.  

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