The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Community

July 16, 2013

Jim Bailey: Big Brother is watching, but what does he see?

It became the subject of a TV series, “Person of Interest.” Using ubiquitous surveillance cameras, the government authorized the creation of a supercomputer that could predict the likelihood of terrorist acts. But the computer (fictitious, of course – or is it?) turned out to be able to predict ordinary crimes as well. The government wasn’t interested, so its inventor set out on his own to make use of that feature.

George Orwell’s Big Brother in the novel “1984” spied on every aspect of life in a future world. Now, with a plethora of investigations of government snooping in progress, people are wondering if Big Brother has finally arrived on the scene.

The probes center mainly on phone records, e-mails and such in an ostensible attempt to ferret out potential terrorists before they can do damage to the homeland. Critics, on the other hand, wonder if the overreach isn’t trampling on the right to privacy, which isn’t mentioned in the Constitution but has been alluded to in quite a few judicial fiats.

Under investigation is a computer bank that supposedly contains information on all calls made in the Verizon wireless system. It has spawned talk of government listening in on everyone’s private conversations. Well, not exactly. The information collected includes calls made, their destinations and duration, and if further action is necessary to find out the content of anything suspicious.

My wireless phone is not Verizon. But if similar databases covered other wireless carriers and land phones as well, I’m still wondering what all the fuss is about.

First of all, my phone records likely would never trigger an investigation. I don’t think I, or my wife either, have made a single international call either by land or by air. Our wireless phone is used mostly for long distance calling, primarily to our kids, or while traveling or for emergencies. The government could probably store our wireless phone records in a thimble. And the most suspicious activity on our land phone would be international calls from telemarketers with thick accents (is the government at all interested in enforcing the do-not-call lists?).

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Community
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    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Verna Davis: Seek peace by turning from evil and doing good There's something we all want: peace. World peace. Family peace. Personal peace. We yearn for peace, a feeling of freedom from commotion and antagonism, of harmony in our relationships, of lack of strife or dissension. What would we do to have peace in our lives?

    July 25, 2014

  • Church News: July 26 The following are brief Church News items of local interest.

    July 25, 2014

  • Community Briefs: July 25 A compilation of community news as published in the Friday edition of The Herald Bulletin.

    July 25, 2014

  • FEA - HB0725 - 13 The Musical - JC - 1.JPG Review: Musical takes you back to being '13'

    Wanting to kill your mom and pining for a Wonderbra are typical desires young teenage girls have, but that just scratches the surface of the relatable themes in Mainstage Theatre’s production of “13: The Musical.”

    July 24, 2014 3 Photos

  • Live music: July 25

    Live entertainment at local venues as published in the Friday edition of The Herald Bulletin.

    July 24, 2014

  • FEA - HB0724 - Amputee Support - JC 3 Supporting limb loss awareness

    A small group of amputees gathered for the Second Annual Show Your Mettle Day at Frazier’s Dairy Maid on Friday. The event, which offered free ice cream to amputees thanks to Prevail Prosthetics and Orthotics, served as a meet and greet to help support limb loss awareness in the community.

    July 24, 2014 3 Photos

  • Jim Bailey: Now if Grace beats Bethel... Fans in the United States are just now waking up to the complexities of World Cup soccer, which is a lot more popular around the world than it is here.

    July 24, 2014

  • Community Briefs: July 24 A compilation of community news items as published in the Thursday edition of The Herald Bulletin.

    July 24, 2014

  • NWS - HB0723 - Fair Food - JC 3 The 'fairest food of all' Rides along the midway and 4-H animals may be a big draw for the county fair, but there's plenty of food people look forward to and indulge in during the Madison County 4-H Fair.

    July 23, 2014 3 Photos

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