I guess it’s NSA Revelation Week.
Adding to the fact of Verizon’s network being mass mined, The Guardian keeps the flow going, finding that U.S. government back doors are directly installed on the servers of several major companies:
The NSA access is part of a previously undisclosed program called PRISM, which allows officials to collect material including search history, the content of emails, file transfers and live chats, the document says.
The Guardian has verified the authenticity of the document, a 41-slide PowerPoint presentation – classified as top secret with no distribution to foreign allies – which was apparently used to train intelligence operatives on the capabilities of the program. The document claims “collection directly from the servers” of major US service providers.
Emails, chats, files, all with no warrant. Of anybody. Everybody, really. All are effectively treated as suspects by default, via the symbiosis of state and corporate power. Really, as I ponder it myself, the term “back door” is inaccurate, as it implies a need for discretion that is not reflected in any way whatsoever by the demonstrated powers herein. They’re simply being given the keys to the front, no worry about disturbing the sleeping inhabitants, might as well go The Full Sitcom & shout “honey, I’m home!” upon login.
After the Verizon story, though seemingly before the Everybody Else story, John Sides over at The Monkey Cage considers whether there will finally be a backlash against the surveillance state. His conclusion is skeptical for two reasons, one absolutely laughable & sad, and the other most accurately seen as a damning of the very soul of any claimed desire of liberty on this portion of the planet called America:
1) The Laughable: lack of opposition, especially bipartisan opposition, in Congress. What we were constantly told in
public government school was that the system we have is “representative” — that is, those in power are ostensibly supposed to listen to The People & respond accordingly, a measure of say by proxy in just what the hell goes on. Sides instead describes the tail as wagging the dog, a public that effectively sits in standby mode until the Right & slightly-less-Right hands of the formalized ruling class establish their roles on the particular matter, to which the masses then respond like one giant Improv comedy troupe — “I, with the (Elephant/Donkey) pin on my lapel, shall call this act of the ones with (Donkeys/Elephants) on their campaign swag an utter travesty…and propose to merely nibble at it if anything!”, followed by a hypocrisy duel death spiral in rare moments worthy comedic material but usually just mind-numbingly dumb. At the moment both “sides” shrug & see squat wrong for the most part, so John Sides says John & Jane Q Puppy — excuse me, public — will not be growling at the intruders. Does it even need to be said that if his interpretation is remotely correct, we are a civic failure? Need I even explain how inherently Beside The Damn Point the views of “our” elected officials are to the concept of PUBLIC backlash?
2) The Damning: Sides mentions an article about a survey on public concern about surveillance:
In a recent article (gated)*, political scientists Samuel J. Best, Brian S. Krueger, and Shanna Pearson-Merkowitz reported the results of a 2007 survey in which they explicitly asked whether Americans were anxious, worried, or scared about “the government monitoring the activities of people like you.” Only about 30% of Americans said that they were “somewhat” or “very” anxious, worried, or scared. Best and colleagues note that this is more than some commentators and scholars have suggested.
“People like me? I’ve done nothing wrong, why worry?”
Argh…that isn’t how it’s supposed to work, people. The percentage of any population violating others is generally not a critical mass (except when such violation is organized by identifiers such as flag, race, or religion of course), so the question of “people like me” obscures more than it reveals, especially since intentions of those who would do so aren’t commonly announced in advance. Thus, presumptions of suspicion on everybody are unfounded.
Until given credible indication by act that you intend to do harm to others, here’s how much standing *anyone* has to care what you’re doing, who you’re talking to, and/or where you’re going:
Note that I typed absolutely nothing in the above space.
The opposition should be massive precisely because both sides of the formal body of the ruling class generally see nothing wrong. We should be outraged because there is no reason to watch absolutely everyone.
The gist of the last few days news says we’re basically living a dystopian sci-fi novel, but less exciting. The obscene is the common, the common is the obscene. But we were promised flying cars…
* – gated articles suck.