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Priorities

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on June 24, 2013 in News & Opinion |

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.

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8 Comments

  • chris says:

    It seems that the NSA and GCHQ are really annoyed that Mr. Snowden has the nerve to tell tales about them. The important question for us is whether the US and British governments have any form of adequate control over what these Baden-Powell organisations get up to – or even if they are really interested as long as it is not too embarrassing!

    • I don’t think that any government has any form of control over what their secret services do, let alone an oversight. Whistleblowers will always be embarrassing for them, unless the tale-telling is to their electoral advantage and aimed at companies or institutions not currently high in the popularity polls!

  • Francois says:

    I don’t think that any government has any form of control over what their secret services do

    Russia.

    • Russia perhaps has the advantage that their head of state is one of them, in more ways than one. However, even Putin and others like him cannot control everything, cannot make instant decisions which change the course of a project or anything else. Oversight is one thing, but the daily running is outside the scope or control of every individual no matter what their position.

  • Lucifer says:

    Vatican City (population, less than 1 000)

  • Francois says:

    I should have changed the nickname but I find it ironically appropriate.

  • Francois says:

    Exactly what I had in mind. That and the Conspiracy that got B 16 (bingo!) to resign.

    Back to Russia. In your original post, you mentioned the difficulties a government, not an individual, faces in keeping an eye on its secret police. The problem does not exist in Russia as the KGB is the government. Vlad the Vile was a high-ranking officer prior to his democratic elections and still will be after his several next democratic elections.

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