“In Russia, we only have two television channels. Channel One is propaganda. Channel Two consists of a KBG officer telling you: Turn back at once to Channel One.”
Russian Comedian Yakov Smirnoff
Hello Comrades. the next message you see may be from the Commissar’s office thanking you for contributing your information freely to the Motherland. Russian company Digital Sky Technologies just bought into Facebook and while there aren’t a lot of bells going off at the Federal Trade Commission, you can be sure the National Security Agency is working late nights trying to combat this one. If you happen to be reading this, and have either a security clearance or a sensitive position, cancel your Facebook page now.
Russia is still, despite heavily promoted public relations, a wilderness of corruption, with no avowed purpose as a U.S. ally. In fact, we are still, after 50 years facing off with Russia in many nations where they’ve provided military observers, trainers and weapons systems that would shock you. Witness the recent ascension of Putin to Prime Minister by the Puppet President Medvedev. If anyone doubts that Putin is still yanking Eastern Europe’s chain, remember that when they cut off the natural gas supply to the Ukraine, the UK took a few days to get an alternative supply.
What does this mean for the average Facebook user?
We live in an international economy and the patterns of employment, spending and consumer demand are more complex than ever. We’re dependent, in fact, as an apartment industry on many of these. Take for example, the H1-b program. These visas allow knowledge workers to live and work in the U.S. for a period of time. Many multifamily companies and their contractors hire these recent arrivals. In turn, most of them live in apartments and their tenure, based on renewals in their status makes them good longer term renters. Since a lot of H1-b residents work in defense-related industries, it would not be surprising to discover that if they have an active Facebook account, they’re probably not going to be renewed. That makes an already shifting demand problem even worse for apartment owners.
There are those who prefer to think of Russia as a fuzzy little bear somewhere between Finland, Siberia and Mongolia, but in the present political environment, there is little democracy in Russia. Imagine the outcry if Syria bought part of Facebook and you were dealing with an ayatollah instead of a faux czar? Would that be any more comfortable?
We didn’t want to see our ports sold to Dubai, we’re not happy about Chrysler becoming part of Fiat and now Facebook is up for sale, bit by bit, to the latest despot. It’s time our national borders extended to electronic records and files and steps were taken to protect public information from being for nefarious purposes. Take down your Facebook page and remove any personally identifiable information, and please tell everyone you know that a Facebook fact can rapidly become One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich.
(Comrade Jack is the Managing Proletariat of Kern Investment Research, a real estate research consultancy and can be reached at 301-601-1900.)