The NSA and You

Photo by Rakrist08 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Rakrist08 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

With the revelations about government overreach provided by Wikileaks and Edward Snowden, the world is slowly but surely becoming aware of how much our governments in collusion with the big players in the telecommunications/data industries access what by all rights should be private information.

The collection is nothing new; the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover was infamous for warrantless wiretaps and legal entrapment of dissident elements since the late 1950s. In John Barron’s book KGB: The Secret Work of Soviet Secret Agents, it’s revealed that KGB agents were told to assume that every phone in the US was tapped. And, while we had the technology to do this, the real time analysis of all the data wasn’t possible until recently.

I find it telling that  most countries didn’t join in the public outcry over the NSA revelations of this fall until it was revealed that their own countries were also targets of NSA spying. Further revelations proved that these countries were participating in the same activities against their own citizens. Pot- meet kettle.

Of course, to top it off, the powers that be are calling for restrictions on our right to expose these incursions on our rights. In October, NSA director General Keith Alexander called for giving the government the authority to quash the release to the public of government spying efforts. The Chinese, not to be outdone, are requiring all journalists to pass a course on the “Marxist view of journalism” in order to keep working, thereby quashing any form of dissent in the press. This isn’t just an American or Chinese problem; it’s happening worldwide.

The effort to squash dissent isn’t restricted to traditional media, though. The efforts by governments all over the world to end net neutrality and restrict our cyberspace access are well documented. From some of the provisions outlined in the TPP to China restricting net access outside their country to the various Arab countries shutting down their ISPs during the Arab Spring; such attacks on our freedom to access and share information are becoming more and more commonplace.

The only people who can stop this trend are- yes, us. We must let all concerned know in no uncertain terms that no, this isn’t ok, and that there will be consequences if they continue along the path they’re currently on.

More reading:
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About ew

ew came of age during the winddown to the Vietnam War, and like many other Americans, as soon there wasn't an issue that didn't affect him personally, he became indifferent. This gradually changed during the Reagan and Bush I years, continued through the Clinton years and finally came to a head with the passage of the Patriot Act in 2001. He works as a freelance consultant/tester for various music hardware and software companies, and lives in Minnesota.

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