Listen now | Are they really so different?
In his masterpiece 1984 George Orwell predicted a similar dystopia. His only mistake was choosing that year for his title.
After you listen to former NSA Chief Technical Director William Binney speak you realize that one of the primary purposes of US government data surveillance inside the United States is not to protect against terrorist attacks as much as it is for political blackmail.
William Binney emphasizes this point when he tells the story about during his career, once in a while a government employee would come in to the office and hand a piece of paper with a phone number, date and time on it to one of his NSA operator co-workers and ask them to pull the audio file on that cell phone call and the NSA operator would do it for them.
Binney is very worried our gov't is going to destroy your right to privacy expectations in America.
Therefore President Biden and the Democrats absolutely must expand the U.S. Supreme Court and the lower courts with a Democratic Party majority because this whacked out Republican majority on the Supreme Court is hell bent on destroying your right to privacy expectations for corporate America.
And they will not stop there - next month they are going to rule on a case that would literally destroy the U.S. Supremacy Clause of the Constitution which says federal law supercedes state law and U.S. Constitutional rights supercede state law.
This Republican majority on the Supreme Court is the most dangerous body ever known in the U.S. government to date. They hate the federal government so much they want to shrink the federal government down enough so they can drown it in a bathtub, so to speak, and are hell bent on destroying 50 years worth of landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases; including your right to privacy and abrogating your First Amendment rights as well, not to mention the individual liberties protected by decades of landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases.
But the biggest danger is next month when this GOP Supreme Court majority rules on a case that could effectively turn the clock back to the Civil War during a time when Confederate states ruled their own destiny and they were the fighting enemy of the United States government.
These Confederate morons and their mindset are alive and well and kicking and destroying democracy, U.S. Const. rights and the federal gov't today.
We live in a 60/40 America where 60% are dare I say "normal people" and the 40% are rightwing conservative nutjobs such as MAGA and Trump.
Then there are the 60% of Republicans who believe America should be a Christian Nation and want the Supreme Court to convert America into a theocracy owned and operated by corporations.
It's called Cristofascism. WILLIAM BINNEY: first >>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1JDqNKMaus
This is so scary and dangerous. The idea of even doctors being surveilled to ensure that they are working fast enough is horrifying and will lead to serious misdiagnoses, along with all the health damage that will be done to people who are too scared to go to the toilet or take a moment to catch their breath, for fear that it will cost them money. I can't think of anything more horrific than being told which bar to go to in a strange town and finding that the bartender has my favourite drink ready - that is just freakily weird!
But if this surveillance is appropriate, then why don't we see it applied to all the managers and bosses. Why are people like Zuckerberg and Bezos not being subjected to such surveillance so that we can see what they get up to to justify their obscene wealth.
Surveillance is one of those things that is & will be part of our lives whether we like it or not. So, rather than wasting energy fighting it, we need to learn all we can about it and make sure we have a seat at the table when decisions are being made. I’m certain we’re going to have legislation that addresses it, much like legislation re wiretapping phones. Yes, surveillance is more extensive than wiretaps & more complicated as well, so we need to break it down. I’m thinking it should be defined by its purpose first--for example, is the purpose of it to surveil employees or the public? Once the purpose of it is known, the next step would be to brainstorm about how any particular aspect of it could be used in a corrupt and/or illegal and/or unfair manner. Once that’s nailed down, crafting legislation should be pretty easy...unless you have a plethora of republicans hell-bent on making problems where there are none so they can use it as an issue to campaign on.
Asimov wrote about this. In one story, the authorities gave free robots to do cleaning, babysitting, house chores but then they captured all personal data and the authorities could control the family.
If trump gets elected in 2024, you can bet he'd deploy this technology as far as he could...
It's enough to make me a Luddite.
What do they need all this data for? I already see ads pop up repetitiously when I order something online. It’s creepy. I almost never buy anything twice and tend to shop predominantly brick and mortar rather than internet. They must be selectively discriminating in who to collect data on because Trump should already be in jail based on his tweet addiction.
May the revolution come soon
I agree with you 100% that this is disturbing, and that the U.S. is not as different as we would like to believe we are. Facebook sent me a questionnaire yesterday, and I shared how disturbed I am about how they use and share data, yet how they allow blatant lies and calls for violence to be shared on their platform. I like connecting with faraway friends and family, but I wish we had an alternative to FB and others that track and sell our info. Great article!
After you listen to former NSA Technical Director William Binney speak, you realize that one of the primary purposes of US government data surveillance inside the United States is not to protect against terrorist attacks as much as it is for political blackmail.
William Binney emphasizes this point when he tells the story about during his career, once in awhile a government employee would come in to the office and hand a piece of paper with a phone number, date and time on it to one of his NSA operator co-workers and ask them to pull the audio file on that cell phone call and the NSA operator would do it for them. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M66saPW2Gq8
Wasn't it Patric Henry who said
"GIVE ME LIBERTY OR GIVE ME DEATH"
How much control do we have to endure? Have we morphed into a slave state and, if so, who is controlling the slaves?
I often wonder what Edward Snowden is doing in Russia. He certainly had a lot of knowledge of 'cybersecurity.' In his book, 'Permanent Record', he suggests removing the camera from your cell phone if you want to avoid being spied on. I have lately had the experience of my phone and computer screen flashing almost unperceptively ; like a picture is being taken. Creepy. Am I just paranoid? I really doubt it.
Excellent insights regarding a silently advancing and ubiquitous problem that we seem to either be ignoring or accepting, at our peril.
But as with so many opinion pieces by Mr. Reich, and to be fair, many other progressive observers of our fraught situation, their is no culminating specific call to action for the readers who may be alarmed by the situation illuminated by the writer. So what do we do about this advancing security and surveillance state? Clearly, we need a broad social conversation, which more articles and books, like Ms. Zuboff's, should help stimulate. But the people, mostly intellectually lazy and somehow willing to accept the state of affairs as they exist unless it impacts their perception of their identities or their wallets, need much more stimulation to act than such articles and books provide, rare as these written alarms are.
Well, I feel certain that elected representatives such as Elizabeth Warren and Pramila Jayapal and Katie Porter either are or would be very interested in doing something legislative about the issue of surveillance. They would study it seriously and attempt, if they could persuade enough other legislators and cabinet officials, to codify recommendations that meet Constitutional standards and tilt the scales toward workers and the public without infringing upon the legal rights of corporations (expansive as they unfortunately have become within American case law). How does such an effort gain momentum? BY ELECTING MORE DEMOCRATS TO CONGRESS! THE REPUBLICAN PARTY, WITH ITS DONOR BASE SIGNIFICANTLY POPULATED BY WEALTHY PEOPLE AT THE TOPS OF CORPORATIONS AND ITS CURRENT STATE OF FIDELITY TO OLIGARCHY AND POWER, WILL DO NOTHING ABOUT SURVEILLANCE BECAUSE TO DISCUSS IT DOES NOT BENEFIT THEM EITHER POLITICALLY OR FINANCIALLY.
Yes, I will end with my oft-repeated directive: Vote for Democrats at all levels and in all branches of government in 2022, 2024, 2026 and 2028 at a minimum. The surveillance issue, like many others of importance such as climate change, inequality, voting rights, the right of people to control their own bodies and much else, will not be beneficially addressed unless Democrats control the levers of political power in this country for the foreseeable future.
MR. REICH: I KNOW IT GOES AGAINST YOUR CREDENTIALS AS AN IMPARTIAL OBSERVER, BUT NOW IS THE TIME FOR YOU AND ROBERT KUTTNER AND JOSEPH STIGLITZ AND YOUR OTHER PROGRESSIVE FRIENDS OF INFLUENCE TO BECOME PARTISAN. FOR THE SAKE OF THE COUNTRY. SPEAK OUT NOW, WITH LESS THAN 50 DAYS BEFORE THE 2022 MIDTERMS, TO ADVOCATE FOR THE REPUDIATION OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY AND THE ELECTION OF AS MANY DEMOCRATS AS POSSIBLE. There will be Democrats elected that will be less helpful than others, akin to Joe Manchin. But those types of Democrats are a concern for a later time. PLEASE, VOICE THE NEED NOW.
Yes, you are right, and No, they are really not that different. Where and how to counter this? Our institutions seem well-programed to promote the interests of Bezos and Musk, etc.