Jun 11 2013
It’s been awhile since I’ve last posted. I’ve been sick of blogs, especially my blog for some time now. I was rereading the last few entries I’ve made here, and it was like watching English get bukkakied. It’s not good, and in no way benefited me. So I stopped. What else can I say? Seriously, how many times can I complain about the state of pop culture before I start becoming a parody of Ignatius Reilly? It’s boring. But this entry isn’t about the current state of blogs, nor my disdain for them.
A week or so ago, news dropped that the NSA had the ability to monitor all phone records. The day after that, we found out about PRISM, the NSA’s program that partnered with many notable sites like Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, etc. in an effort to filter terrorist activity. This program, based on security clearance, gave you the ability to monitor any activity you wish in real time. From Skype calls, to Google searches, to Google Mail searches, etc. The end result, as you can imagine, is that people are flipping out. “Oh it’s an invasion of our privacy, wahhhh…they’re reading our emails! The government is super corrupt and wahhhhh.” Let’s be a bit honest here:
Probably…most probably, I’m talking winning the Powerball on a day you get Dirty Sanchezed by Vin Diesel odds, probably… no one at the NSA is reading your emails, listening to your calls, or watching you on webcam. This conversation should start at a logical point, and you having to worry about YOUR particular life being inconvenienced by PRISM is not the best place to start. You’re not that important.
The chances are good that our government, no matter how badly they invaded our privacy, is probably well meaning. It’s a safe bet to believe that nobody is using your information, no one cares what you do, and that the government is well intentioned, meaning PRISM is designed for what they say it’s designed for: catching terrorist data. Does that mean PRISM should exist? Absolutely fucking not. But what the government finds important is no real surprise to anyone. If you’re pissed off about the government stripping away 4th amendment rights, you’re probably no stranger to the PATRIOT Act, in which case you’re aware that the government is becoming increasingly involved in things that were once a lot more private. So why are you surprised that the government did something like this?
I’m not surprised that the government wanted to create a program to get the entire meaningful usage of the internet under its thumb. If you knew about the PATRIOT Act, why are you? I am surprised that Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and all those other companies made it so easy for the government to do so. My anger isn’t with the government, I expected this from them, but it’s a shitty thing for Google to do, especially one year after bitching about the SOPA. Remember when the “internet went dark?” Yeah, that really meant something. That’s as two-faced as faces get. So, now you have companies working with the government to invade privacy in the hopes of “protecting us.” Gee, thanks.
The fact that these companies who we rely on are in bed with the government is incredibly disconcerting, but not as disturbing as the government’s response to our questions about this. Nor is the idea that the “the person who leaked this information is a traitor” particularly endearing. When Obama was asking about these NSA privacy issues, he seemed agitated and pretty defensive. Actually, his entire administration has been defensive about this. Why? Obama built his entire campaign up on the idea that this government would be extremely transparent. Now, he has to discuss confidential programs that have been leaked, but his response was basically, “You don’t need to worry about this; we’re not listening to your phone calls.” Ok, you’re probably not, but why is the fact that we’re asking such a big deal? It’s pretty clear that this is meant to target terrorists, so what was the problem? Why would you even need to make it confidential in the first place? It’s not like this program was for a specifically trained people elite group of people. The person who leaked this information was a high school dropout who had worked for the 3rd party company Booze Allen Hamilton for less than three months, and he could talk about this program’s functionality in detail. Was Edward Snowden just lucky and worked hard while he was in the military? Why was someone who had no seniority and no qualified degree given such access if this was so secretive in the first place? And now, why would any American trust the government with that level of power if they grant access to some 30 year old unqualified whistleblower?