A short rant on the importance of thinking two steps ahead…and the dilemma of ‘national security’ for citizens in todays world.
Many people think its ok for the govt to monitor *everyones* email, tap *everyones* phones without warrants – to protect us from ‘terrorists’ – because YOU have nothing to hide, you’re a law-abiding citizen.
But what do you do when the govt calls you an ‘enemy of the state’ for protesting a local park from being made into a mall, like in Turkey? or calls journalists a threat to security for reporting govt violations of the law, like in the US?
By watching emails, and listening to phones – something getting easier and automatic due to computers – they can watch you organise a protest, know where you’re going to be, and stop you. This has happened.
The ‘terrorist’ can be *anyone* the govt agency wants it to be. Whats to stop them from planting information in your email inbox?
For those already in power, a good citizen is one who keeps shut.
The post-election Iranian uprising in 2008 did not succeed mostly because it was impossible for the people to organize. All communication was being monitored. Phone calls, texts messages, facebook, twitter, everything. All signs of dissent were immediately dealt with harshly. The state crushed the movement, even though there were literally millions of people out on the streets protesting. They just couldn’t get organized. People would agree to assemble the next day at a certain city square, and immediately riot police and pro-government militia would be deployed to exactly that spot, waiting for the crowds. The government had bought a sophisticated surveillance system from Nokia-Siemens that let them collect and mine an immense amount of personal data. I imagine PRISM is infinitely more powerful.
Stop this before it’s too late. You may think your country is immune to the kind of savage insanity that rules the Middle East now, but so did the Iranians in the 1970s.