It is stunning to me, and I’m a computer geek, how quickly we’ve entered into a complete surveillance state. Even more surprising is how it’s occurred without any discussion, controversy or even any general awareness.
Cell phones, beyond giving large corporations and governments knowledge of our conversations and messages (often without warrants), are also perfect tracking devices detailing our location and movement at all times. And we happily carry these tracking devices with us everywhere.
Google and other sites monitor our every move on the internet. Facebook, in fact, monitors users across the web even if they are not on the Facebook site, nor logged in, even if they aren’t Facebook users.
Government agencies all across the globe are accessing all this cell phone, email, internet, and other electronic data without any warrants or probable cause. For example, according to the NY Times the NSA collects and stores 1.7 billion emails, telephone calls and other forms of electronic communications by and between American citizens every day.
A leading computer security expert, Bruce Schneier, blankly states: “All of us [are] being watched, all the time, and that data [is] being stored forever. This is what a surveillance state looks like, and it’s efficient beyond the wildest dreams of George Orwell.” Read his entire post for a brilliant summary of the situation.
Let me close from a quote from Constitutional lawyer Glenn Greenwald speaking on Bill Moyer’s April 26, 2013 show
“The surveillance state, this massive apparatus… that is extremely expensive and invasive… doesn’t really do much in terms of giving us lots of security. But what it does do is it destroys the notion of privacy…
The way things are supposed to work is we’re supposed to know everything the government does, with rare exception, that’s why they are called ‘the public sector’.
And they’re supposed to know almost nothing about us, which is why we’re private individuals, unless there is evidence we have committed a crime.
This has been completely reversed, so that we know almost nothing about what the government does. It operates behind this impenetrable wall of secrecy, while they know everything about what it is we’re doing, with whom we’re speaking and communicating, what we’re reading.
This imbalance, this reversal of transparency and secrecy… has really altered the relationship between the citizenry and the government in very profound ways.”
That’s putting it mildly.
* Quote from Ovid meaning something along the lines of “One who lives well, lives unnoticed”. This life, my friends, is no longer possible.