For anyone who has been following the news recently, and who doesn’t, it seems as if a few priorities need to be ordered. I’m thinking specifically about the spying scandal involving the American NSA and the British GCHQ as revealed by Edward Snowden through various newspapers.
By now we all know who Snowden is and, possibly, where he is. What we do not really know is how far and how deep the spying in our private lives goes, whether Americans are really being spied on, accidentally or otherwise, and exactly what information about us is being collected, collated and evaluated. And if we follow the news we are unlikely to find out too much either. Why not? Because all the news seems to be concentrating on Snowden and not on the meat of the problem.
I have written many times about the erosion of civil liberties and so-called Rights in the States and about problems with privacy involving such entities as Facebook and the telephone companies. I have seen the level of anger voiced against online companies because of their collection of personal data for marketing purposes, both from private individuals and the media. Where, though, is the same level of anger at the collection of our private information – and I mean information which we have not put out in any form of public forum – by the governments of our civilized and democratic countries?
Is it a case of the government must be right but Facebook isn’t? Or is the problem simply so large that we cannot cope with the idea of it all? Is this what we voted our government into office to do and, more to the point, how on earth is any of this helping protect us in any way?
The fact of the matter is that this will not go away. The spying will continue even if it is ostensibly stopped, and we will only find out about what our governments are doing to our Rights and Liberties when the next whistleblower gets outed, and that is not the way things should be.
- Viktoria Michaelis.