Monday, June 10, 2013

Mass surveillance is about control, not terrorism

When word first broke that the NSA was spying on everyone's internet use and phone calls, President Obama was quick to defend the practice, saying it was "to keep the American people safe" - the implication being that it was about terrorism.

He lied:

I can tell you that everybody that attended an Occupy Wall Street protest, and didn’t turn their cell phone off, or put it — and sometimes even if they did — the identity of that cell phone has been logged, and everybody who was at that demonstration, whether they were arrested, not arrested, whether their photos were ID’d, whether an informant pointed them out, it’s known they were there anyway. This is routine.

The NSA's mass-surveillance is not about terrorism, it is about control. And in a democracy, that is a very, very dubious idea.