PRISM(NSA)/Tempora(GCHQ)

Posted by | Posted in government, Life | Posted on 22-06-2013

I find the whole PRISM(NSA)/Tempora(GCHQ [1],[2]) thing quite depressing but at least I have “nothing to fear, nothing to hide” right? (http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/video/2013/jun/09/data-snooping-law-abiding-citizens-nothing-fear-hague-video)

Only, this has been debunked so frequently in the quite recent past, and in fact was one of the major counter arguments against ID cards (http://www.biometricidentitycards.info/articles/NoHideNoFear.htm), that it really does make you wonder about the people doing the snooping if they’re still naively clinging to it as a defence.

This is the results of just a quick Googl’ing:
http://theartofprivacy.com/2011/02/02/why-ive-got-nothing-to-hide-is-such-a-fallacy-4/
http://www.biometricidentitycards.info/articles/NoHideNoFear.htm
 http://chronicle.com/article/Why-Privacy-Matters-Even-if/127461/
 http://www.computerweekly.com/blogs/the-data-trust-blog/2009/02/debunking-a-myth-if-you-have-n.html

That’s all just seconds away from anyone reading, and it’s all true. Example after example, cases from history, ongoing problems around the world etc. It’s such a dumbass defence.

Of course in many of these people minds the “ends justifies the means“, but no-one that I’ve spoken too thinks like that. Most of the commentary I read is outraged that their government really would behave like this, not surprised I note, frequently disappointed but never surprised. Everyone I’ve spoken too actually seems to feel the the “ends” are almost irrelevant and that it’s how we’ve behaved getting to them, the “means“, that actually matters the most.

Perhaps this is because we’ll live the “means” and we all know that the “ends” are like tomorrow, it never comes.

So if we’re going to have to live with the “means” then, since the “ends” are as mythical as world peace and unicorns, shouldn’t they be the only thing that actually matters?

What we seem to have here are two governments, colluding and abetting, the mass spying of their own, each other, and everyone’s citizenry because they think we won’t mind.

Just like we didn’t mind ID cards then?

I see no way out of this current mess except eventually leaving … what? The country? And go to another country? That does the same only hasn’t been exposed yet? We really do seem to have reached a point where those in power, or who want to be in power, have nothing in common with those who elect them nor do they understand that they’re meant to be protecting their electorate from these kinds of abuses of power rather than perpetrating them.

Comments posted (2))

  1. I think there’s an interesting counterpoint to this however which few people are really looking into, and that’s that people seem to notice threats to liberty much more easily than they notice threats to security. There are over 100 people in jail for terrorism offences, many of who were planning on killing others, some of which may well have been caught due to these secret powers of surveillance.

    Does this make it all worthwhile? I’ve no idea, because we don’t know how effective the monitoring is. I think the main problem is secrecy – the government expects us to trust that it does what is necessary to keep us safe, and not to do the things that are rather unpleasant. One way around this would be to be very clear on what it does and why it does it, and let us vote for what we want, whether that is more liberty or more security.

  2. I don’t think that people are ignoring the efficacy of, although I think it’s possibly the least efficient thing I’ve ever imagined, but that for those “over 100” people in jail they’ve spent more than $52 Billion in the US alone.

    Which means that before trials, other law enforcement, cost of imprisonment itself and the complete annihilation of every shred of privacy for every last person & company online the world over – they have spent over $500 Million per-possible-terrorist … and even a lot of those convictions are stretching/bending the law in a lot of cases.

    To do that they’ve weakened the security of the entire internet stack from SSL, VPN and public key encryption, through email, adding backdoors to routers/switchers and the actual backbone and fibre connections themselves. In doing so they’ve enabled massive criminal operations and international espionage. The stupidity is staggering.

    All that expensive, side effects, corruption even within the NSA (They have a term internally for spying on your lover/ex-lover called LOVEINT according to one report about abuse of power from within the NSA).

    The whole terrorist thing has always been massively overblown, and it’s still a threat despite this massive effort. That should tell us that not only is it the wrong thing to try to do, but that it’s not very effective either. What it is very effective at, is spying on everyone else.

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