So, for those of you who haven’t really been following the Snowden thing (that would be me included,) he’s the guy who leaked secret government information and is now seeking asylum in Russia (supposedly from prosecution, more likely from assassination for treason.)
One of the most recently revealed “dirty secrets” is an NSA data collection tool called XKeyscore.
According to documents provided by Snowden, XKeyscore “allows analysts to search with no prior authorization through vast databases containing emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals.” (source)
I can’t pretend to know or understand all the ways the government violates our rights and our privacy every day. I mean… Monsanto. Need I say more on that?
For a brief overview of how XKeyscore works, you can check out this link. For me, knowing the principal behind it is enough. It has been suggested by some that “if you’re not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about.” I’d warrant that after 9/11, more people began to value a feeling of security over personal privacy. Increased security in airports, for instance… Who cares if you have to be patted down, as long as it keeps someone with a bomb or box cutter off your plane, right?
Here’s the problem. These are sound prinicipals. But given the out-of-control mutation of capitalism in this country, they are idealistic more than realistic. I guess the real fear for many people, myself included, is the anticipation of when (not if) the government decides that any activism or criticism of said government is “doing something wrong.” The real fear is when people start getting selectively prosecuted, based on whose bottom line they are threatening… I can see this getting abused by big business and government officials who want to keep their “online antics” (Mr. Weiner?) under raps
I can envision a country where “pirates” get hit with criminal charges for downloading movies and music for personal use, while pedophiles and online predators go unchecked, so long as they don’t cost anyone “important” any money.
Cynical? Maybe. But is it far off the mark? Sadly, I don’t think so.