Privacy may not be a “right” in the libertarian sense, but it is as necessary as sunshine, friends, and music to being a happy, healthy human. Certainly the government has no a priori “right” to know everything about someone’s life, as Mike Rozeff and I have pointed out on multiple occasions. So as Drudge’s headline links to the latest revelation that the government spying and information sharing goes beyond the NSA, a few additional thoughts come to mind.
The constant surveillance creates a pall of neurosis over the entire country. This is perhaps the hardest to explain or quantify unless you’ve traveled to countries outside the US, UK, and Western Europe. The first thing you notice is that people seem happier and freer in their actions. Then you notice the lack of street cameras, shoplifting cameras, and lobby cameras everywhere. Coincidence? Maybe it’s my imagination, colored by some sort of confirmation bias. Then again, maybe not.
The corollary to this is that the government has and will use its surveillance selectively, against political opponents and critics. This is not conjecture, but proven with the IRS targeting of Tea-Party groups the latest in a long line of selective prosecution and profiling in the tradition of J. Edgar Hoover. As we learn the definition of a terrorist has been expanded to include anyone critical of the government, the NSA will continue to turn its eye of Sauron increasingly inward.
Then as Harry Silvergate’s Three Felonies a Day shows, given access to the browsing history, email, past purchases, financial transactions, phone records, and movements of its critics, the government will find some minor malum prohibitum crime and use it to harass, bankrupt, imprison and destroy its perceived enemies. As Beria said “show me the man, and I’ll find you the crime” . In the age of digital everything, the government can selectively release information to make anyone fit the profile of a terrorist, child-molester, tax-evader or all three. If a crime can’t easily be found, a few records might be inserted into the digital profile to create one. Naturally there are safeguards to prevent such digital tampering with the evidence – just like the ones in place to keep a mid-level admin like Edward Snowden from walking off with thousands of records and documents.
Delenda est NSA. Shutdown the NSA. Wipe the hard drives. Auction the data centers.10:13 am on November 14, 2013 Email John Keller