I’ve often shared the same worries Virilio expresses. I am not as intense about it, but still.
I give thought to the fact that I’m so completely “on-the-map”. My cell phone, laptop, even my home computer and land line can all be monitored and tracked. I don’t think that anyone currently has any reason to do so, but it can be done. What if I don’t want anyone to be able to find me? What if I want to be off the grid?
In today’s digital age, that’s not really an option. Sure, if you’re James Bond, maybe you can escape, but the rest of us would have a hard time doing so. Data is collected constantly through modern technology. Our credit card transactions, location of phone calls, our names on any online purchase, and even footage from cameras everywhere could be used to find us.
Now Virilio warns that the government can take advantage of this. They can tap us, track us, trace us, etc. So the question becomes is it worth it? Is it worth having access to all of this technology, at the price of giving up your total freedom?
For most of us, I think the answer is yes. Virilio would probably not appreciate that judgment, but honestly, how many of us have to worry about being tracked by the government? Realistically, there are millions of cell phones in the US. Unless you are a major criminal or top secret spy, why would they target you? Why should your life be the focus of the government? It’s unrealistic that the government could or even would monitor the millions of internet accessible devices in the country.
So what do we as (hopefully) law-abiding citizens have to have paranoia about? If it came to the point that our country was monitoring our lives via technology for their own tyrannical purposes, we’d have a lot bigger problems than the question of whether or not to use that technology. The use of technology does not affect the effectiveness of our government. That is for us to decide, and technology is just a tool that can be used by anyone for anything.