Art & Science of Eavesdropping
11 December, 2014
Art & Science of Eavesdropping
Modern technology has changed the character of governance. All over the world! Georgia is a distinguished catcher-up in the ways secular, and thus, we have found ourselves right in the vanguard of most sophisticated eavesdropping matters. Etymologically speaking, the word EAVESDROPPER connotes an individual with an intention to listen to the dripping of water on the ground from under the eaves, which is part of the roof, overhanging the walls of a building. Isn’t there something contemporarily attributive, built into this
linguistic interpretation of the phenomenon of eavesdropping, also known as tapping or bugging? Have you ever eavesdropped on your neighbor? No? Then you have missed a lot in life? Oh boy, this is so thrilling! As a matter of fact, very little has changed in the means of controlling human behavior except a couple of technicalities: an individual eavesdropper whose services was profusely used in older times, has given way to governments, equipped with state-of-the-art tapping facilities in our epoch. Secret listening by a government to its subjects’ private conversations has become one of the most powerful tools of keeping in check their purportedly anti-governmental behavior or facilitating the process of criminal investigation against an alleged felon. Eavesdropping is a pastime for the nosy, but for governments it is a serious business of perpetuating its power and influence. And modern technology allows that with an amazing fruitfulness in favor of a government. People around the globe are getting used to a new style of their relationship with their governments, but there is something awfully unpalatable in the entire shtick – nobody likes to be eavesdropped, especially when eavesdropping technique goes much beyond conventional ways – from behind our kitchen doors to an unlimited territories, which makes bugs totally ubiquitous and unrestricted in time. Naturally, we are all kicking back by suggesting new laws and all kinds of other democratic instruments in an attempt to maintain our privacy, thus protecting our personal lives from being invaded by the governments, who are certainly using all that comes handy for becoming a winner in the perennial struggle between governors and the governed. Georgia, being a modern independent state – albeit not wealthy enough to afford expensive bugging facilities for universal usage on permanent basis – is trying its best to pass for a sophisticated member of international community, pushing forward the covert surveillance acts. The attempts to adopt a relevant law have failed several times, but it was eventually passed by doubting legislators. Yes, we have a law now, but not all of us are happy with the new regulatory tool. It is presumed that the freshly adopted legal document on the rules of bugging is not democratic enough to let people feel free from breaking their privacy. As a result, after a short period of bugging relaxation, we again started being cautious about the contents of our telephone conversations, or Skyping and messaging habits. Just like before! We now know that being careful while on the phone would not hurt. What is this? Is it the indispensable demand of our times? Are we legally losing our right to maintain our privacy – at least within the most acceptable limits of decency? Probably so! And this is not happening only in Georgia. Tapping our lines, wires, cells and computers is so commonplace all over the planet that it probably makes no sense to contradict the IT onslaught. We will have to give in. The sophistication of communication technology says so. We like the progress, don’t we? Well, if we do, then we have to put up with the situation which is prompting that there is no gain without pain in life. Now the question is if a piece of legislation – no matter how fair and strong or unfair and week it might be – could help improve our lives in terms of keeping our privacy intact and safe. Democracy and all sorts of constitutional freedoms guarantee the adoption of laws, curbing the art and science of eavesdropping, and the restriction of governmental propensity for making maximum use of tapping opportunities. This said, I might also have to emphasize that eavesdropping, bugging, tapping, listen in, overhearing private conversations, snooping and spying, prying and nosing round, invasion of our residences and offices, and putting bugs in our cars and clothes will never be stopped by any legislative act. If government needs it, the government will do it. Correct me if I am wrong! And all this hullabaloo about who should be the custodian of keys and safes where the secretly recorded information is sitting, does not make a huge sense. Who will ever know what is recorded and how and when the recorded material is used if the imminent security of our motherland comes under question? State security is untouchable, as I understand, and it cannot be a subject of wide and wild public discussion. I thought this was the ABC of safety of our citizens, provided by the state. Hence, the governmental power to have an access to clandestinely recorded – even private – information, and the right to use it accordingly with educated vigilance and reason sounds kind of natural. This logic being adamant, we may relax and not kill ourselves over adopting the tapping laws. Sounds dictatorial? Oh my! Are we really nursing the illusion that our democratically minded society will ever be totally free from a certain measure of dictate?


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