, ,

I applaud the Supreme Court decision forbidding police from rummaging in my cell phone the next time they arrest me. Indeed, I applaud every restraint imposed on the government’s intrusion in my affairs. The elusive balance between privacy and national security that everyone talks about but no one seems able to strike seems to have tilted steeply away from privacy and toward government nosiness, and that’s bad for humanity’s very essence.
You may say, what’s the difference between Twitter devotees and Facebook Tumbler, Instagram, and Snapchat mavens who put themselves out there without apparent compunction and the government, which doesn’t put much except blarney out there, but tows its surveilling net through the ocean of humanity gathering a big catch 24/7/365. But obviously, the Tweeters and Facebook posters are exposing themselves – unhealthy, incomprehensible, promotional, narcissistic, and inauthentic generally – while government is dredging for us, and without asking if it is all right.
Anyhow, excuse the rant, because that wasn’t the point of this post. Actually, the point is that I’ve often thought, if only a cop would come by, place me under arrest for suspicion of, say, loitering, seize my cell phone, and rummage through its accumulated data to see if I’ve been naughty or nice. And then, when he discovers that my digital life is innocent and incoherent, he turns out to be one of those genial community policeman type cops, so he shares with me what he’s found on my phone.
Because I certainly can’t find a damn thing on it, and I don’t know why there are 15 copies of the Black Dog Cafe phone number in my contacts collection. It the cop gives me some idea of what’s on that phone, it will have been a great help.
You see, I have a Blackberry, and it’s gone out of style, as I have. It doesn’t understand much anymore, and what it does understand it doesn’t share with me. No Siri. No vivid, intuitive interface, no apps, a three inch screen, and tiny buttons far smaller than my thumbs and thus the source of much confusion to people who receive my text messages.
Everyone says, get an iPhone, but I resist. Maybe it’s just because everyone says it, and nearly everyone has one, and absolutely everyone who has one is staring at it absolutely all the time. I don’t ever stare or scroll through the miniature icons and characters on the midget screen of my Blackberry, because really, who could make sense of it. When it rings, I answer, unless two days earlier I’d silenced the little monster and forgotten to switch sound back on. Then the next sound I hear is Molly’s voice – “Why do you never answer your phone? What’s the use of a phone if you never answer?”
Which is why I conclude that a little – a smidgen – of government intrusion, delivered when I ask for it, officer, might be a good thing.