Friday, February 28, 2014

Ubiquitous surveillance imposes a state of slavery

Edward Snowden’s Moral Courage
By Chris Hedges
Posted on February 23, 2014

An omnipresent surveillance state — and I covered the East German Stasi state — creates a climate of paranoia and fear. It makes democratic dissent impossible. Any state that has the ability to inflict full-spectrum dominance on its citizens is not a free state. It does not matter if it does not use this capacity today; it will use it, history has shown, should it feel threatened or seek greater control. The goal of wholesale surveillance, as Hannah Arendt wrote, is not, in the end, to discover crimes, “but to be on hand when the government decides to arrest a certain category of the population.” The relationship between those who are constantly watched and tracked and those who watch and track them is the relationship between masters and slaves.

Just yesterday, we learned (from the information provided by Edward Snowden) that the Britain's spy agency,
GCHQ (the equivalent of the NSA in the UK) collected webcam images of 1.8 million internet users (not restricted to British citizens) who were under no suspicion of any wrongdoing. These were interceptions of private communications between individuals who were doing nothing illegal. 

Yes, the government is spying on you through that webcam.  And that is yet another "crazy conspiracy theory" proven true.

Of course, I see nothing wrong with the collection of harmless metadata, do you?  I mean, it's not like they're spying on us in our bedrooms.  We'd object strongly to that, wouldn't we?

Oh, never mind.

GCHQ Intercepted Webcam Images of Millions of Yahoo Users Worldwide
By Spencer Ackerman and James Ball, Guardian UK
27 February 2014
  • Optic Nerve program collected Yahoo webcam images in bulk
  • 1.8 million users targeted by UK agency in six-month period alone
  • Yahoo: 'A whole new level of violation of our users' privacy'
  • Material included a large quantity of sexually explicit images