I am starting to think that the ruling elite is actually tacitly grateful to terrorists for existing. They provide a perfect the excuse for the surveillance program currently being exposed.
The NSA has now been accused of capturing up to 70% of all email traffic, and not just metadata, like to and from addresses, time and date stamp, and the subject line, but rather the entire content of the emails.
At the same time, the NSA now admits that it does not know what Snowden actually “stole.”
That fact has me more frightened and outraged than the initial revelation that the surveillance program existed in the first place.
The NSA is not just some evil person, some entity, that does things we don’t like. It’s an entire hierarchy of people and a lot of very sharp techies, people like those that work for the company that I work for. But rather than a few dozen of us, there are thousands of them.
Imagine thousands of smart, young and not so young Snowden-type guys, sitting in large rooms with headphones on and lots of monitors on their desks, with the ability to target any of us, anyone at all, at will, and read the emails that we write to our moms, the text messages we send to our partners about bringing home some milk on the way from work, and the types of things Anthony Weiner is known to send around.
The “NSA” is the collective body of those “guys” that get to do that for a living and get paid for it. Do I really trust them? Does the NSA itself know what they are doing? What they have access to? What criminal activities they may be conducting with the knowledge that they have?
Clearly, the NSA does not know what Snowden took. How could they? Before he blew the whistle, he was just one of thousands of goobers in dark rooms writing queries, collecting data and chasing down “bad guys.” He could have taken anything, just like all the remaining goobers could now take anything they want – that you own.
Before 1995, when I wrote to my mom, I wrote a letter, and nobody had the permission to open that letter. It’s actually still a felony today to take somebody else’s mail.
But now, when I write an email, anybody working for the NSA can read that mail with no consequence.
The possible outcome of this immense power that the government is collecting is utterly frightening. Our gun lobby claims that the American public should be armed so if the government suddenly turned rogue, the public could defend itself. I think the military and gun-based threat is the least of our worries.
If the government ever turned rogue, it could come to doors being kicked down in your house at 4:00am, soldiers hauling you away into some interrogation room, and planting in front of you a stack of tractor-feed paper yards high with all the emails you ever wrote, all the texts you ever sent, all the websites you ever visited.
You say governments don’t turn rogue? That’s what they said in Germany before Hitler did just that. That’s what they said in Russia when they concocted the revolution. That’s what they did in East Germany after the war, not that long ago at all.
Remember, this is our American government, which sends flying robot killing machines into foreign countries to take out suspects, including American citizens, without much regard to the collateral damage of injuring or killing children nearby. Our government is doing that today – with our permission, in our name.
So when you say that governments don’t turn rogue, think again.
Forget the terrorists.
The invasion of our privacy is the real threat.