Human, All Too Human
The gummint and its utilization of computers has been in the news of late.
Dig: the Obamacare websites went live three weeks ago and, apparently, there’s been nothing but trouble surrounding them. Yet not too long before that, leakers revealed that the National Security Agency is compiling meta-databases of all our phone calls. All of us being ±314 million Murricans in addition to the countless furriners whose phone chats we find it necessary to eavesdrop on. According to the more suspicious of our sisteren and brethren, the NSA computers are humming along quite nicely, processing the tens of billions of phone calls made each day.
Each computer set-up is handling more information than could have been found in all the books the human species has ever produced. And if that’s an exaggeration, well, it’s not terribly far off the mark.
Having worked with computer geeks and hackers time and again, I know that designing a system to handle even the most banal of processes (say, a blog or a simple website with a shopping cart) entails the input of countless chefs and the implementation of ten times that many compromise fixes as well as add-ons just to humor the people paying for the project. And when the blog or site rolls out, its virtual structure resembles nothing so much as a house of cards built on a wobbly table outdoors on a blustery day.
Conventional wisdom holds that the more people involved in a software roll-out the more unwieldy it becomes. So let’s be frank: if it’s a gummint database or service website, it has had more hands on it than Justin Beiber tossed into the middle of an arena full of tweeners. Book it: both the Obamacare network and the NSA databases have the paw prints of multitudes of office supervisors, project managers, HR specialists, lawyers, priests, shamans, witch doctors, administrative assistants, and Tarot card readers all over them.
“That’s 1,423 In Favor Of Barbie Pink, 1416 for Deep Cerise.”
That the Obamacare websites are cracking under the strain seems only natural. But somehow, according to those who see federal spooks under too many beds, the NSA operation is fine-tuned and efficient enough to know precisely how many pizzas I’ve ordered in since The Loved One went out of town Friday (Shhh! What she doesn’t know won’t hurt her.)
I’m guessing this is an either/or issue. Either the feds and their staff geeks are savvy enough to keep excruciatingly exact tabulations of the number of booty calls all the assistant managers of all the Best Buy stores in this holy land made in the year 2012, or they can’t even set up an insurance exchange that can satisfactorily serve the residents of New Hampshire.
Naturally, the conspiracy theorists will have us believe that the “glitches” of the federal insurance marketplace website are mere covers to make us think Master Espionage Agent Barack Obama is incapable of listening to each and every one of us snoring at night. Oh, but he can, they’ll insist.
(You know, I had a girlfriend once whose snoring Barack Obama could have heard in Chicago or Hawai’i or Kenya or wherever he was at the time, even without the aid of fancy double-naught spy apparatus.)
Anyway, I buy the government-is-run-by-schlubs theory as opposed to the arch-villains that the conspiracy theorists see in their fever dreams. Take this quote from Matt Taibbi to the bank:
“[People in key positions of governmental power] are imagined to be a monolithic, united class of dastardly, swashbuckling risk-takers with permanent hard-ons for Bourne Supremacy-style ‘false flag’ and ‘black bag’ operations, instead of the mundanely greedy, risk-averse, backstabbing, lawn-tending, half-clever suburban golfers they are in real life.”
Spy Agency Division Heads Golf Outing
So, I’m glad the feds are tripping all over themselves trying to fix or explain away the ramshackle Obamacare online system. It only proves that no one has the technical or organizational capability to use their computers to eavesdrop on each and every one of us.
Believe me: If they could, they probably would.