YOU’RE BUSTED !!! SO SORRY to do this to you, dear Reader, but the click which brought you here has now been added to your suspicious behavior file, stored in Utah, by Uncle Sam. It’s been 1984 for a long time, but it didn’t have to be this way. You see, Congress made a deal with the devil, mostly outlawing internet encryption, after the towers fell in 2001, so that every detail of our digital lives could be collected and stored, forever > > smile for the camera above your monitor > > Why did they do that? Glad you asked.
Here to tell us is a masterful storyteller, and a great American hero, who sacrificed his career and his personal comfort to blow the whistle on this corporate power grab : Ed Snowden. (Yes, it looks like the intelligence community did it, but who might that be?) Follow the money. It mostly leads to the monetization of our every click, so we have no more privacy, and corporate America knows us better than we know ourselves. Elected officials on both sides of the aisle are struggling to put the genie back in the bottle, sorta. But corporate democrats are resisting, while progressives and many republicans want government surveillance to end, or at least to be restrained.
Rarely have I encountered an autobiography of a more principled person. Mr Snowden calls to mind that powerful statement No greater love has anyone than this: that a person lay down their life for their friends. ~Jesus. Yet the intelligence community has hounded this man, threatening to imprison him for life; if they ever get their hands on him they will virtually crucify him. Those who argue that he should face a trial have no clue what they are talking about, as, by law, he cannot get a fair trial for divulging state secrets to the American public, as he explains carefully in the book. And the big, big secret which he risked his life to share is that the state has utterly violated and cancelled our right to privacy, guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment, by harvesting and storing every single communication and detail of our lives. Yes, every selfie, every sly cheat or dark secret you (or any elected official) has ever done, every rant, every phone call. No, “they” didn’t ask our permission. Nor was any attempt made to amend the Constitution. “They” just did it as “a matter of national security”. Case closed.
Snowden tells us how different things are for citizens of the European Union. How they are treated as citizens, as “data subjects –that is, people who generate personally identifiable data. In the US, data is usually regarded as the property of whoever collects it.” The intelligence community has perpetrated a coup on our nation, seizing our data and our Constitutional right to privacy, without our permission — without even a national discussion. Congress has allowed this, without protest, when they could have allowed for encryption of the internet, instead. My iPhone is encrypted, as are most smartphones today. But the google’s and apple’s and amazon’s and facebook’s are laughing all the way to the bank, as they are able to resell our every detail. And that’s why I inserted that word “[corporate]” in my headline.
Recently I attempted to become a digital subscriber to The Washington Post, owned by Jeff Bezos, of Amazon. Upon learning of the terms – WaPo claiming the right to sell all my clicks – I cancelled the very next day. Same with The Atlantic, owned by the widow of Steve Jobs. Unless I agreed to allow their profiling of me, it was no sale, as neither of them would even allow an opportunity to opt out. I even went by VPN to Switzerland which has very protective regulations and attempted to subscribe from there. No deal. Both publications insisted that I surrender to the corporate state-of-things in USA. Wake up America! We’re being auctioned to the highest bidders.
This book is the most gripping spy thriller I’ve ever read. And it’s nonfiction. The one thing I wish the publishers had done was provide an index, as there is so much good information here. It is my sincere hope that Donald Trump, who detests the deep state so much, might pardon Edward Snowden, and restore his US passport. (Trump’s stock would go up with me, as my view of his leadership couldn’t go much lower.) Maybe he could even give Snowden The Medal of Honor (or Medal of Freedow, as he’s no longer military). Snowden truly is a national hero. Read his story. You might agree.
In signing off, I will type these letters XKEYSCORE, while asking you to smile into the camera above your monitor, at the technologist who is tucking our names into that gigantic bunker of vaults in Utah. <RASPBERRY>.
ON SURVEILLANCE . . . by Yuval Noah Harari.