Government not so great at spying

Maybe Malaysia Airlines’ missing flight 370 will have been found by the time this gets into print. Or maybe various officials are still saying “we know where it is … we just haven’t

Kent McManigal

Kent McManigal

physically seen it yet.” Either way, I’m pretty sure the news won’t be good for the families of those missing, whenever it turns up.

I have no doubt the mystery has a mundane explanation, whatever it may be, even if it turns out to be human malice — which is unfortunately common enough to be fairly mundane, and always has been.

The one and only bright spot in this whole tragedy is the observation that apparently the governments of the world don’t have quite the inescapable spying, tracking, and surveillance capabilities they would like you and me to believe they have. Big things can escape their notice and slip through their fingers.

Yes, the world is a very large place, and the plane vanished over an area that isn’t exactly as populated as downtown Tokyo or New York City. But electronic communications signals aren’t as limited by geography and distance as human eyes are; being routed, as they are, through a web of networks that are all interconnected. Yet, the plane — a huge Boeing 777 — went missing on March 8. That’s about three weeks now.

If a whole plane full of people can disappear, even for a few weeks, perhaps you don’t need to be as worried about useful information being stolen from your data as you might have thought.

It’s still a good idea to refrain from using unencrypted electronic communications to send messages that would make spies and their handlers twitchy and give them reason to watch you more closely. But that has been the case throughout history. Nothing has really changed there.

The more data the snoops collect, the less likely they are to find that elusive needle in a haystack. The more they analyze, the more false “pings” they will encounter, the more dross they’ll have to sift through, and the more time and computer power they’ll waste.

Don’t spend your limited lifetime worried that the bad guys are reading all your emails. And, if you want to be found in an emergency, remember it is ultimately up to you to make sure you can be.

Farwell’s Kent McManigal champions liberty. Contact him at:

dullhawk@hotmail.com

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