‘The Masterminds’: A Fabulous Story of Global Communications

Meet the global village of the 21st century: a web of electronic pathways from a speeding jetliner to the farthest shores and most remote lands. The average person’s inability to disconnect is further aggravated by a major leak in the system, carried out by the children of the world and sent for repair to the top echelons of our government and businesses.

Who is responsible? In researching this story, I spoke with experts and learned:

No one — certainly not Vladimir Putin — is as in charge of these intrepid, fearless children as we may think. They all, in effect, report to young people around the world whose parents, at various times, provided them with money and support, including often, though not always, by providing passports. Yes, passports. Indeed, the stolen passbooks of the digital travel invasion will be sent to the new passport office, hopefully staffed by highly trained professionals with the skills to restore your lost data, and by bureaucrats with the capacity to exchange ideas and prevent conspiracies against national security.

The passport issue is, of course, not unique to World War II, when Americans and Germans spoke the same language. Everyone can now travel with their passport intact for such an extended period and at relatively little cost. That’s because the number of travelers has skyrocketed. Today the world travelers’ market is worth $3.5 trillion annually. That’s up from $1.5 trillion in 2000. Most are not white-shirted westerners, but people living in just six of the world’s 71 nations: Vietnam, Kenya, China, Egypt, Colombia and the U.S.

The U.S. is home to 14 percent of the worldwide travelers. Of those 14 percent, China has a huge head start. By this time next year, 1.86 billion domestic and international travelers will cross that country’s borders, compared with the 463 million that will make their way to the U.S. by that date.

We are buying, paying and trusting on the world’s digital platforms, too. But we are less confident of protecting our online behavior. According to a December 2016 Pew Research survey, the average American believed that online privacy is more important than ever. The average American also believed that personal data on social media should be kept private and that technology companies have an obligation to protect our data.

If you are not home, understand that our trip isn’t fully over. Regardless of our smartphones, we have the ability to return to hotels and restaurants via satellite, satellite phones, or other on-board devices. Two carriers are in the process of forming a world-wide connectivity body to coordinate their offerings and make it easier for tourists to sign up with multiple carriers at the same time. If the pricing proves difficult, then we’ll get a head start.

Come back, and we will be sharing a network of advanced instructions, such as fuel markers on the wing, and aircraft galley logic, as well as maps and navigation systems.


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