“Privacy is freedom, isn’t that what you guys are supposed to be fighting for?” – Jason Bourne 2016 Movie
“They keep the problems coming so that the money keeps flowing.” – William Benning; NSA Whistleblower
Since the late 1990’s, whistleblowers and other concerned citizens and government employees have been screaming from the rooftops, to congress, to the alternative media, to all who will listen that systematic and highly unlawful activity to the point of treason was going on in the “intelligence” community. They spoke of domestic spying, they spoke of cable boxes having microphones and backdoors and telecoms being infiltrated of computer camera’s being hacked, of emails being surveilled. These whistleblowers were mocked, called conspiracy theorists, and either arrested, intimidated, fired, hushed and in some cases, killed. Then, one day, this all became fully mainstream when a young and daring and truly patriotic CIA spy and intelligence analyst named Edward Snowden came onto the scene and released incontrovertible evidence that all this was true and much more.
What Edward Snowden Revealed
Snowden has slowly released more and more over time, but initially he proved that an intelligence agency called the National Security Agency or NSA had been recording phone calls, capturing emails, texts, and almost all online and financial transactions of all kinds and storing it all in massive databases. He went on further to declare that it wasn’t just the NSA, but a huge apparatus of private companies working as contractors to the NSA who had access to all this data. He also presented the documentation that many of America’s mega-corporations like Google had incorporated their servers with the NSA’s. In the Republican debates, Carly Fiorina proudly declared that she had turned all of HP’s servers over to the NSA. It came out that Verizon was eagerly working to turn all data over to the NSA. Edward Snowden revealed that the State, the shadow government, had full backdoor access to everything that defines modern life in terms of technology and that nothing, not a single private message between lovers, or shared picture, or even a highly valuable piece of intellectual property was private.
What the Revelations Meant
His revelations were earth shattering because the state had been promising and looking the congress in the eye and declaring there were no such programs in a deceptive manner never before seen by the American people. Even after Snowden, establishment Republican senators denied the existence of such programs; and these same Republicans declared Snowden a traitor and demanded blood, stating they would love for him to be found dead.
But wait, Snowden, by stealing government property, proved beyond any shadow of doubt that the federal government was committing systemic treason. How then did heads not role and people revolt in the street? Well, because they presented a pacification argument, that all of this was to keep the people safe and that the loss of privacy was essential to safety.
Privacy vs. Security
So let’s analyze this argument, from a truth based perspective.
What do these government officials mean by Security? For the uninterested citizen, it simply means they are doing their job. We pay taxes, they stop any more incidences like the twin towers from happening again no matter the cost. But, a more careful awareness will reveal that the language has evolved in recent times. The now say the phrase “public safety” instead of security. What is Public Safety, especially when uttered by agents of the state? An operator of government does not necessarily think of the public as the people but instead they are saying it as an antonym of the government. So what the argument is, the Governments Safety versus the citizen’s privacy or freedom.
It is important to note that in the 20th century, an estimated 260 million people were murdered by their own government. Most of the people killed were considered enemies of the state. These may have included Ukrainian farmers, German Jews, minority tribal ethnicities, former soldiers and police officers, etc. Always, the existence of mass killings is done in the name of protecting the state or the government.
Often, those who were considered an enemy of the state were those who believed in privacy. Privacy being an essential ingredient to self-ownership and of private property. Why do we lock our car or our front door at night? Because it is our property and we are stating that it is private and we do not want it stolen or looted. We also keep our bank accounts private because the money in the account is personally owned and is not for public consumption and use.
The State collecting as much data and storing it blatantly violates the 4th amendment to the constitution. Why is the 4th amendment even in the bill of rights? It’s because the first 4 amendments are absolutely essential parts of having personal ownership over self and property. When any one of the first 4 amendments are violated, essentially, freedom and liberty are gone. So first and foremost, why would the state implement something so completely against the law? Well they say it, clear as day, they are analyzing every single person in the nation to know exactly who is a threat to the power of the state.
As a secondary note, the Snowden revelations scared the crap out of many believers in limited government to the point that they do not associate with outspoken critics of the state, nor do they talk about it over the phone, text, email, etc. Can the first Amendment be honored if there is no privacy? Can individuals really speak freely if they are worried about everything they say and do being recorded to possibly bring down serious problems in the future? No. Therefore, NSA spying extends much beyond the 4th amendment, it puts all of the amendments at risk including the right to face an accuser, due process of law, discovery of evidence, etc.
Another note is that as cheesy as this analogy may be, in the movie Captain America: The Winter Soldier, a shadow group is able to infiltrate a fictional version of the NSA and use specialized algorithms to identify all the possible enemies to a totalitarian state and also track where they were at all times and the main plot was to kill as many of them as possible. Something that is very, very realistic based on the death numbers of the 20th century.
Special Interest, Fraud, and Theft
The James Bond movie Spectre was another incredible example of the “insecurity” dragnet spying causes. Like Hydra in the Captain America movies, Spectre was able to find a way to tap into this massive spying apparatus. Spectre, a private organization, co-opting the states spy technology was able to disrupt lives, track individuals, steal intellectual property, benefit their own insider corporations, and in a sense, gain incredible power at the expense of others. A “winner at someone else’s loss” system is not capitalism, it is just another looter system where the producers and achievers and thinkers are sorely penalized. In a true capitalism system, private property is essential therefore, that true system of privacy protects property from the likes of Spectre.
As a thought exercise, let’s say that there are two companies. One is run by super ethical, hardworking, smart individuals, and one is run by a playboy heir who has friends inside the state. They both go to produce a similar product but the one made by the ethical company is much higher quality than the playboys company. Well, the products launch at the same time but the playboy is given access to the NSA’s data because, well, he knows the right people. This enables their product to be very precisely marketed over the other company’s superior product and but the ethical company, without the insider advantage goes out of business because they are not able to compete while if they had been left on fair playing ground they would have won out because of their superior product.
A second thought exercise. Two competing interests are trying to acquire more market share. Again, one is ethical and the other is an insider. Well, as the ethical company puts millions into developing strategy, products, future mergers or acquisitions, etc. and does all the expensive and hard groundwork, the other company saves their money because they will be able to use the NSA spying network to simply listen in to all meetings and look at all the research allowing them to at the precise moment undercut their ethical competitor.
This is only two simple scenarios that are the only logical conclusion to a system like NSA dragnet spying. The illegal activity of the federal government will absolutely result in the picking of winners and losers, and in the end, it is the ethical, intelligent and hardworking who will be the losers not to mention 99% of the people.
Blackmail and Due Process
Another way in which NSA spying absolutely destroys security is by allowing for institutionalized blackmail and extortion. Everyone has secrets. Everyone has something they are horrified by and would hate for all the world to know. It could be a unthoughtful and possibly damaging text message or email sent to maybe a good friend years in the past to some major indiscretion on the level of infidelity to criminal activity. No matter what it is, blackmail is a pernicious evil always leading to lives being destroyed and even worse activities being committed by the blackmailers than what the initial crime being blackmailed was or is and so therefore, when the wrong person has the keys to omniscience, which the wrong people surely will have the keys, then blackmail will happen on a grand scale. Think about the wholesome and ambitious future liberty loving politician who maybe messed up sometime in their life and therefore chooses to not run in order to save face. By extension, only the worst of the worst will run because they are willing to do anything any blackmailer says because all they want is the power.
Due process is another essential factor to the citizenships security as it stops the loss of life and property at the whims of the looters and thieves. But what happens when the accuser is some all-knowing entity? What jury will say “the NSA is lying for their own desires or conspiracy”? None. What happens when the state needs your property for some deal they did with China or Russia for solar farms or uranium mining? They will simply fabricate evidence and no one can argue against it because they do have all data! The people who spy on everyone can lie about everyone and who can decide what is truth or lie? No one! There can be no facing the accuser because the accuser is algorithms and fabricated data!
Supposedly, NSA spying is to keep us safe from terrorists. Yet, how does mass spying and dragnet data collecting protect the innocent from the guilty especially when the very act of dragnet spying makes those doing it guilty? It cannot, the data is too vast, the information to unmanaged. William Benning, a NSA whistleblower, for pennies was able to develop very targeted and effective software and algorithms that did not violate the 4th amendment and turned up incredible data that actually did help keep the nation safe yet it was immediately discontinued. Why, one it didn’t cost enough, and two, stopping Islamic terrorist was not the purpose of the spying.
Also, what kind of word is terror? It is incredibly arbitrary. It is a word that can be changed at any time to mean any different thing or group. Terror for who? The state loves Islamic terror because whenever there is an incident, it means more money, more power, more growth and purpose. Who is the state afraid of? True patriots! Farmers, Ranchers, blue collar workers, libertarians and constitutionalists, Christians and Bitter clingers and so if the state gets to target terrorists . . . well then you know who they will target; those who they pose as a threat to the public safety!!!
For years now we have been hearing about this thing called cybersecurity. Repeatedly, large company’s sensitive data gets “hacked” and millions of credit card numbers are stolen. How? Why? This can mean billions of dollars lost, why is this happening? They talk about key infrastructure being hacked and they talk about the need for CISPA or other huge draconian laws to be passed basically giving the state major regulatory power over the internet “for our safety.” But again, what is causing the problem in the first place? This major breach of security? The NSA is literally causing this problem. Literally!
See, large corporations, like, say, Target, do not have their own software development division creating their encryption and firewalls but instead, they go out onto the market and buy off the shelf products that are produced by specialized online security companies. Turns out that the NSA infiltrated almost all of these companies by putting their agents inside the company and these agents illegally and very dangerously programmed back doors into the software that allowed the NSA to then have access to all the servers of all the clients huge or small. Well, any hacker worth their spit will be able to look at the code and find these back doors and exploit these NSA created backdoors to steal critical information like credit card information and commit major corporate espionage. This reckless and illegal behavior has quite literally destroyed the security of not only the people, but potentially the entire American economy and possibly the economy of the entire world. And what does the state propose to do to fix this problem? They tried and force Apple to create similar backdoors into all of their products and they want to create huge and all powerful internet government police agencies who will be able to essentially censer any website they wish.
Yeah, that will really make us more secure.
So, were the founders right in including the 4th amendment as part of the Bill of Rights or did they not understand the threat of other nations or groups or peoples possibly attacking our nation? No they understood and they saw that privacy was absolutely essential to security, that privacy is Security! The only thing that is made less powerful by citizens having privacy is an all-powerful government, something that is terrifying to even think about!!
If you read this article, I challenge you to make it your mission to oppose and end this unconstitutional and illegal practice! One way to do this today, is to support those companies that are implementing encryption. Encryption, true encryption without backdoors and uncrackable codes allows for online security, something all free men and women deserve and have a right to in their lives!