To my dearest Surveillance State,
I apologise for not writing to you sooner as I have been busy with such inexcusable distractions as watching cat videos on YouTube. I hope this letter finds you well and I hope we can now maintain a better transparent relationship. It’s about fostering genuine interactions: 2015 is the time for having a real conversation, not just hitting Like on Facebook. Open dialogue. Genuinely touching-base. Nothing worse than being kept out of the loop – I sure know what that feels like!
In some ways, I write out of concern for you as it seems you’re copping a bit of flack these days. While I know in your heart you are truly Australian, some dare to slur you by saying you’re American, Canadian, British or even a New Zealander! Others are saying utterly ridiculous and childish insults: “a five eyed beast”! Whatever prism they chosen to view you though, I say these are gross distortions. I know you have our best interest at heart. Of course, because most of us are not Bad Guys, we have nothing to worry about. Gee, you’d reckon some people would develop some common sense. The details are irrelevant when you’re such a good idea.
The main reason why I want to write to you is that I’d like to make things easier for you.
Clearly you’ve got a great big job ahead of you. It’s no small task to go through all the two-year’s worth of metadata of 23 million plus Australians. And because I know you’re thorough, you’re going to be spending a lot of time going over data itself – that’s bloody initiative for you (not scope-creep as some would say). Real leadership right there.
That’s a lot of stuff for a digger to dig through! Just imagine all the status updates recording people’s opinions of televisions shows like My Kitchen Rules! Wow! It would be pretty exciting to see all those ratings of paleo dishes, but let’s be frank here: most TV shows have nothing to do with terrorist recruitment, right? I’m a big believer in an efficient Public Service and I think you need help to reduce the time it takes to put the puzzle together, filtering out all the brouhaha about Rabbitohs matches; V8 modifications; Saturday netball gossip; Netflix froth; and a trove of astute observations regarding food and beverages.
So that’s why I’m going to help you out. I’m a Helper. I’d like to say I’m a Fixer too, but some standards are just all too hard to live up to, *big sigh*.
I’m going to provide you with a summary of my sensitive information so you can quickly determine if I should belong on your terrorist watch-list. This leading by example will hopefully inspire other Australians to provide similar open-access summaries. We’ve got to lend a hand, cut wastage of the public purse, so that governments can save money for important obligations, such as: funding private schools, making sure there’s plenty of backdoors, buying second hand military equipment, and curating tasteful lists of who will and will not get consular assistance.
So without (much) further ado, here is my summary (after some more words and punctuation marks, possibly the odd stray digression) below (or above, if your phone is upside-down). Note that for purposes of brevity some points are non-specific; but my dearest, of course you are welcome any time to let me know if you need some hard detail… or just surveillance/google it yourself:
- I have been known to yawn repeatedly in airports from time to time. I may have smelt bad. I may have looked intense (while awaiting the fun of economy class for my 193cm body and contemplating a general aversion to being locked into a smelly b-grade movie tin can). I swear to God Almighty that time I went to Bali had nothing to do radical insurgents, or drugs. Mind you, I picked up some amazing ayurvedic herbs, oh, is that bad?
- I had an ugly looking beard once, waaaaaaaay before it was the hipster uniform. It’s possible that I had the beard while I had a job as an audio engineer at, er… um… a… university. At the time one of my tasks was to digitise an entire reel-to-reel library of The Koran sung aloud – hmm, totally understand if this looks bad—you might have to start your black-mark list already…
- During 2001 to 2005-ish I ran a website called www.thequietrevolution.net – whoops! Looks like I shouldn’t have used the word ‘revolution’ as these days people might get the wrong idea. Fortunately the site is no longer active and only ever involved a bunch of arty air-headed dreamers totally incapable of herding cats, let alone forming a terrorist syndicate. However, I’d be keeping your Eye on me, as a partiality to one revolution means always a partiality to revolution (I’m winking at you)! And given I work full-time now, I’ve just about zero time to even think of counter-conformist thoughts, hence all the spare time eaten up by faux-therapy of cat videos.
- I’ve deleted my Facebook account. This is best understood as a ‘gateway behaviour’ that will lead to other extremist acts and predilection to questionable fringe lifestyle choices. If I do anything as mouth-breathing dimwitted as try to start a real Community, please make sure to bulldoze it ASAP.
- I’ve probably read way too many books. Read far too widely. And all the wrong books. Especially books by that George Orwell bloke. I can understand why you’d never want to read 1984 – who wants to have nightmares about a scary ending!!! And as for all the bleeding-heart gibberish I’ve slogged through, well I guess we’ve all got some guilty pleasures, right? Sorry that I’ve never got around to reading Ayn Rand; those treatises on Adam Smith; tomes by Fukuyama, Kagen, Strauss, Derrida, and Quadrant; or bastardisations of Voltaire. Soz if I left any important names off there…
- Speaking of texts, I’ve read and written about non-mainstream non-secular non-established-religion teachings, mostly related to esotericism. Yep, I know that isn’t on the state-sanctioned reading list, and of course I secretly don’t love looking like a complete weirdo. I think you’ll find consolation that I have too few friends as a result (plus sometimes I think I have more bots than people as friends anyway). Due punishment hey! Just deserts! It’s better for you that I’m alienated and disempowered, forever losing the battle that my tenuous grip on reality is a dabbling with the ‘most tenable working hypothesis of reality’ and advocating hopelessly for the consideration discerning progressive subjectivism – clearly it keeps me off the streets! I’d keep your Eye on my doubt though, it sometimes gets out of control…
- I haven’t really voted for the major parties during my adult life. Actually, I’ve never voted for the LNP. Actually, I’ve nearly always voted left of centre. Actually, I’ve mostly voted for The Greens and a few Independents. Actually, I do realise that this makes things a little difficult for us going forward. Actually, I dunno, it’s just hard to change a habit once it’s stuck! Actually, should I keep digging this hole I’ve got here? Actually, hey, at least I’m not a member of any party, right?! Actually, I see you’re got your black marker out again… Actually, hmm.
- I have recycled. Sorry. I planted some trees. Sorry. I marched in an Aboriginal Rights protest. Sorry. I signed probably way too many Get-Up petitions until I realised how I wasn’t comfortable with that (hard to explain). Sorry. I donated money to some conservation foundations, for example some do-gooders that fight for birds and bees. Sorry. I donated money to charities that helped black people in poor countries. Sorry. I boycotted certain products and generally moaned about capitalism. Sorry. I bought fair-trade products. Sorry. I was a devout vegetarian for eight years. Sorry. I’ve written countless songs which could probably be understood as protest music. Sorry. I’ve said sorry to people when they haven’t deserved it. Sorry. When Kevin said Sorry I actually liked it. Sorry.
- As you probably already know, my job is to do with Youth Homelessness. Yes, yes, I know, I know, the little buggers deserve to be in the gutter if they can’t toughen up at home! Serves them right for smoking Ice! I hope it makes you feel better that every time I’m consoling a tearful a homeless 17-year-old single mum I’m telling her “darling just think of the sacrifice you’re making for Australia so we can better afford some new nuclear submarines”. I find it always cheers them up to think of a Safer Australia. Oh and BTW, I make sure to never leak any of those sensitive case-notes, especially the ones that vividly detail the systematic shortcomings of Departments ranging from Education, Community Services, Housing, or the Police – we never want this material to fall into enemy hands.
- Speaking of Youthsz, I must admit I felt an out-pouring of sympathetic emotion when I saw just how neglected those teenagers were that got so desperately confused they signed up for overseas terrorist groups. I could see the lost pain in their eyes, and I thought to myself ‘this could have been prevented with the right care and service intervention (meaning mentoring, strengths development, community building, etc.); but of course I realised I was having a moment of Temporary Human Insanity. I’m sure with your vast knowledge repository you can point out some mind-correction exercises I can quickly get into?
- Also, I accidentally keep coming across very moving stories of veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq suffering from PTSD. I try my hardest to not think about the ongoing ripples of hell that war has on Australians down through the generations, and instead think (correctly) that America says “jump!” and we say “how high?”. I remember that quibbles over independent sovereignty are moot when one has to get on with the real Global Greater Good (GGG). Plus, it would be just nuts of me to keep complaining about war when it’s such an important economy that keeps Australia strong. What am I, a real Australian or not? Pfff!
- Straight-up: I have bought two Wikileaks t-shirts. I only bought these because at the time these t-shirts appeared to be affordable and I thought I was supporting Wikipedia. I can only spend so much on apparel because for some dumb reason I always end up to be renting expensive hyper-inflated properties owned by rich property-investing Baby Boomers living big due to negative-gearing breaks. Dumb of me to miss that boat! Oh, and I never ever bought from Wikileaks because they were facing an unfair international banking blockade and needed support for so-call “important work”, nooooooooo no no not at all! Like, OMG, Wikileaks are evil traitors. And just to be crystal clear: so is Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, David Hicks, John Kiriakou, Daniel Ellsberg, Barrett Brown, Jeremy Hammond, Glenn Greenwald, Jacob Appelbaum, Laura Poitras, Sarah Harrison, John Pilger, Noam Chomsky, Russell Brand, Scott Ludlam, Lady Gaga, M.I.A., Mr. Squiggle, Gillian Triggs, Phillip Adams, Shaun Micallef, and any number of other terrorist scum. There, crystal clear.
- I’ve probably looked at far too many websites that can be used to discredit my personality and damn my character. Let Fred and George know I’ve let them down and let my hormones make decisions for me. I’ve witnessed film and engaged with literature that precludes me from a genteel and lucrative career in public office. In despicable heart-felt states, I’ve been curious to find out about the difficult lives of people living within the LGBTIQXYZ alphabet soup and what I can do to make things nicer for them. Oh, I appear to be covered in some sort of dirt. I guess this means it’s only inevitable that I will get locked in a cold dark dungeon somewhere to be dealt with; it’s cool, I’m cool with that. “You get what you deserve.” Looking forward to getting what’s coming to me. In the dark. On my knees. Waiting.
- Also speaking of what I deserve: I’m sure in no time your analysis of my data will show what an awkward mess my career has been. Don’t worry, your version of Google Maps will clearly show that my living room has a large banner that says “Thank The Queen I Live In The Lucky Country” and my weekday morning wellness-mantra is “At least it’s not sweatshop-labour”. I remember that too when I use work’s iPhone, knowing that the tin in phone’s manufacture was mined by a nine year old Indonesian boy, daily putting his life at risk and clearly demonstrating that the market will right itself. I know your All-Seeing-Eye will keep watch over him. Anyway, back to my career mess: you’ll definitely see a clear well-restrained pattern of deteriorating mental health, that seems to be caused from the fact that my primary career choice when I was finishing school was to be a creative musician. My doofus brain couldn’t understand that choice wasn’t economically viable or a futile/stupid dream, so my well-meaning parental units funnelled me into a teaching degree. The inevitable result was a casual teacher who couldn’t cope, loathing the dysfunctional conveyer-belt of the system, dropping out to never finding a lucrative career elsewhere. To add to the stupid, I’ve worked mostly part-time since in the vain hope the “spare time” could aid getting a music career going, only to realise I’m hitting mid-life 10 years behind my peers, still renting, with little super, depreciating music equipment, a laughable car, family disappointment, and an entry-level job. To make matters worse I work on the frontline of trauma that triggers unresolved hurts from a life of being sensitive, weird and having genes that don’t aid the shifting of units. Serves me right for never conforming to the right career, getting married to the right person, having the right kids, buying the right property, getting the right tax-breaks, etc. And you will see I have a sufficiently established guilt complex that I’m an anglophone-male-westerner with a mental health problem. I look at myself and the Indonesian boy and shed a confused tear. It’s a penance for all my young years listening to Dark Side of The Moon on headphones. You’ll be pleased to know I’m forming an anti-arts lobby group next financial year in a bid to repent. Really.
- My online content and geolocational records should show the following: I’ve come to the wild conclusion that the right thing to do is to fight for a fair balance between the masculine and feminine, which basically means I’m barracking with bias for the rights of the feminine in any gender identity. Therefore, I’m a weakling pussy poofter and a general threat to the fabric of society. Surely a little hysterical, yes? Well, not really, because my unconscious un-machoism invalidates me as a Real Man, rendering me incompetent in the obligation upholding our finely esteemed traditions. Clearly, I’m at risk of being a serious threat to all that we hold dear. I should grow up, cut my long hair and be a man. Trust me, I’m onto it! I’ve taken up the paleo diet which seems to be increasing my chest hair count and has me spontaneously calling Aboriginal people Oxygen Thieves! I’ve even thought about swearing while watching a sports telecast! Real Balls is to laugh at refugee children on island detention centres (or tell them to go home), just like this: “mwhahahahaa!!!”. Did that sound convincing?
- Women need to be in the kitchen, having babies, working six jobs and supporting The Man – clearly I’ve got some homework to do on catching up on these proud ideals. I keep getting caught up in the ludicrous perception that family violence is on the increase, that most of the victims are women, that women are worse off economically than men, and that a whole myriad of biases still predominately favour men. I seem to be going about in a confused inconsistent manner helping disadvantaged women. Obviously getting tangled in this mess has left me to become a brainwashed simpleton that supports Crazy Whores Who Deserve It. Again my punishment has been to contemplate an outcasting similar to having leprosy (or smelling like an ad-hoc meth-lab). And may it continue! No doubt I will keep making this mistake over and over, as your Eye will See; so make sure to keep that system well oiled to exclude me from opportunities and decent support. The more I keep incorrectly thinking that poverty is the root cause to all this, the more that poverty is appropriately rubbed into my face, as it should be. After all, rich men have a right to remain so. That’s freedom.
- And finally, with such a powerful Eye you have, it is hardly surprising you will intimately understand all my fallibilities, hypocrisies, duplicitousness, and regrets in the grand litany of woe that is my dealings with other human beings. I’ve let people down. I’ve been unfair. I’ve occasionally unleashed a viciousness. There’s things I could have saved, but didn’t. I’ve had my hand in ugly conflict. I’ve neglected friendships. I’ve excluded. I’ve judged. I’ve become unreasonably frustrated with stuck-energy-people. I’ve refused to conform, to follow inane trends, to watch enough TV, to tolerate manipulation and abuse. I have little to offer most people in conversation with what they want to hear. All this and so much more you will come to know. You will arbiter my shame. You will nail me to the cross of public humiliation along with so many others who dare to express their pathetic humanism. This laundry will be forever dirty – the impure can never have redemption. Get this over with, make it quick, before I start considering to become a terrorist.
So that about wraps up my jolly summary for you – hopefully that makes your job a little easier! I know you’ll do the right thing with all this information. Even if the powers-that-be move toward totalitarianism, they’d never do anything crazy like herd all us well-documented-bleeding-heart-weirdos into concentration camps or something, right?……Right?………RIGHT?!…………
Oh phew! For a minute there I thought you were serious! LOLZ.
It’s important to note: I don’t mind at all if you sell my data to corporations. If the net result of that gives me an improved customer experience then we’re laughing mate.
And let’s not forget: Privacy was never a right in the first place. Your Eye was never the real threat to privacy at any stage: it is people that are the real threat. More people, than ever before, are over-sharing to such a staggering extent you’d think that privacy is as daggy as a Star Trek Convention. So you can never be blamed for observing something that is public anyway.
You’re practically faultless.
Send my heartfelt well wishes to our select friends in ASIO, ASIS, ASD, DIO, AFP, ADF, NSWPF, CIA, FBI, NSA, GCHQ, etc. etc.; and of course to our tireless supporters in the ALP and LNP. Love to catch up with you guys. Maybe a barbie at Pine Gap some time?