Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Simple Way

To my son Tommy,

Recently it came out that former President Jimmy Carter uses what we now call snail mail in order to have private conversations with foreign dignitaries while avoiding any spying by our own government. He puts his faith in the well established rules of the postal service rather than the wild west rules of internet and electronic communications. I am not going to go into all the legalities and will try not to let my Ray Bradbury influenced side hijack this post. I actually just wanted to point out, in a day and age where they discuss if children even need to learn how to write to communicate, that the simple ways can defeat the most advanced spying agency in the world. Going low tech, returning to pen and paper, can assure you a level of privacy and security that no instant message can hope to achieve. Writing is the basic form of communication. and. though the ease promised by advancement has lured so many to emails and SMS and such, it must be learned and passed on through generations. Those who suggest phasing out writing, even just a form of it such as cursive handwriting, are not seeing the big picture nor the slippery slope.

Is President Carter's way foolproof? Of course not. They can still intercept a letter, open it, read it, maybe even reseal it perfectly and pass it along so no one is none the wiser. But that is a bunch of work, transgressing over multiple government agencies, and there is little to no gray area with respect to rights like that which exists on the internet. Not that there should be any gray area in my mind on the electronic communication front either. Imagine if they took their current data collection policy and applied it to physical mail. They would have to intercept each piece of mail. Open and copy it for later without looking at it then log the information of when it was sent and by who to whom and such "metadata". Then they would have to store it in a database for later, just in case they might need to look at it later? When applied to real physical mail, the whole argument seems ludicrous and boils down to "Well it is easy and cost effective to do with email and such" and not to the real question "Is it right?" Just because they can and can do so easily now, doesn't mean they should.

Anyways, my point was not to get my conspiracy theorist side all in an uproar. It was more to point that often the simplest of ways are still viable and useful. What is old is new. What is laughed at for being antiquated might just be the solution. Embrace both the past and the future, for as you lose sight of one you inevitably screw up the other. And do not complicate things but seek the simplest solution. You can spend a fortune on encryption and anonymous email relays and such or,.for a measly forty nine cent stamp, you too can thwart a multi-billion dollar spy agency. So keep practicing your letters!

Sincerely with love from your dad,

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