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Big brother is watching

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What do you guys think of the whole NSA debacle. It is some scary stuff and I’m scared we are heading into really dark place not much different from the orwellian world of 1984 where everything you say or do is being monitored.

     

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What is the NSA debacle?

     
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It has been suggested that the NSA has direct access to all the social media sites like Google and Facebook as well as Apple etc which allows officials to collect material including search history, the content of emails, file transfers, forum posts and live chats.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/06/us-tech-giants-nsa-data

     

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Well frankly, I’d have been surprised if something like this hadn’t been happening. I have no doubt that these secret police type agencies (especially in the US where their resources are pretty bottomless) are doing things that people wouldn’t even imagine. Especially after the 9/11, Patriot Act stuff.

These sites alone are recording way too much information on their own that I avoid them as much as possible. So, not even talk about the intelligence services. The surveillance in today’s society is so much more than people probably imagine. I can’t decide whether it’s better to not think about it or always keep it in mind…

     
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I honestly couldn’t care less.

     
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I don’t think this is new at all. First we had ECHELON, that scanned all emails for certain words. Now technology has improved so I presume every user of the internet is monitored. You can’t escape it.

     
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Lambonius - 08 June 2013 04:47 PM

I honestly couldn’t care less.

You couldn’t care less for your freedom? What will stop the government from snatching you from your house someday because you might have searched for something on Google that the government feels like a threat? And who said they will stop at this? Next thing you know, your car will have bugs monitoring you, and then your house. Would you care then, when all your freedoms are gone, in the name of “security”.

     

Ignorance + Poverty = Crime, Ignorance + Wealth = Corruption, Ignorance + Freedom = Chaos, Ignorance + Authority = Tyranny, Ignorance + Religion = Terrorism
Replace Ignorance with Knowledge:
Knowledge + Poverty = Satisfaction, Knowledge + Wealth = Civilization, Knowledge + Freedom = Creativity, Knowledge + Authority = Justice, Knowledge + Religion = Integrity

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SoccerDude28 - 09 June 2013 12:42 PM

You couldn’t care less for your freedom? What will stop the government from snatching you from your house someday because you might have searched for something on Google that the government feels like a threat? And who said they will stop at this? Next thing you know, your car will have bugs monitoring you, and then your house. Would you care then, when all your freedoms are gone, in the name of “security”.

Freedom and rights to choose will always prevail in the end. History has shown that totalitarian states and dictatorships always fail in the end.

Not that they won’t try to create a ‘Big Brother’ State, or that getting rid of dictators is going to be a quick and easy process, but it’ll work out for freedom in the end.

And I still believe that technology will enhance the freedom process instead of reversing it.
Just look at the importance of Facebook in the Arab Spring.

The more governments attempt to turn life into an Orwellian society, the more people will rise up against that society. And the faster it will fail.

I’m not worried.

     

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Setting aside all speculation etc. about this situation at hand, just focusing on that comment, isn’t therr a paradox in it?

I’ll try to express it, even though I’ll muddle and oversimplify things… You’re saying you’re not worried about this added surveillance, because either the result won’t be a totalitarian state or that such a state would be overthrown. In other words, you’re fine with this step towards a totalitarian state? Such a state can only happen in very small steps - if everyone is fine with every step, who’s there to do the revolution? And, you know, you cannot expect others to stand up to something unless you’re willing to stand up too. And so, you have to draw the line somewhere but if this step is okay, why is the next one not? Also, the further it progresses, the more difficult it is to reverse.

Also, the whole point of the big-brother state is that it’s not a dictatorship, because people always believe everything is in their own interest and that they’re in charge (and, actually, they are in charge (as much as anyone is in a “realistic” democracy) only being monitored all the time with a umm… metapower (or the opposite of that Tongue) or something with the people who do the surveying). It’s so much more complicated in reality than it is in the books, movies etc.

In so many ways we already live in such a totalitarian society with biopower/-politics and everything, but the thing is that it’s not all negative, there are many positive sides to it too, like security. So, it’s not so easy to draw a line (and that’s the whole problem).

Now, whether this is such a serious situation is another matter, it’s impossible to evaluate if this situation has any chance of realistically leading to a full-blown Orwellian society, but still, the point is whether we can accept this step. It is, after all, a complete violation of privacy. But is that harmful to the law-abiding citizen? And where do you draw the line?

Like I said, muddling the question. That’s my speciality Grin To try to simplify - if you feel that technological advances will in the end lead towards liberation, aren’t you accepting the Orwellian state that relies on technology?


(BTW, I don’t think you can really say that history has proven that dictatorships or totalitarianisms can’t ever work, because no situation is ever a pure recreation of a historical situation, so you can never know. It’s very unlikely, sure, but you can’t say it’s certain that they can’t work. It only takes that one time, after all (now, I don’t believe a true Orwellian society could work either Wink but there’s still a lot of harm to be done))

 

Aaanyways, a big-brother state is still a step away from an Orwellian society still (in my books), and coming from a different culture, I’m not as much opposed to all government participation in the private sphere as I believe most Americans are. I’m not really totally worried about this from my purely subjective perspective either, because I’ve had no doubt of this sort of stuff going on even before this new scandal, and luckily my country is quite small and wouldn’t be able to afford anything like this. What this mainly shows that people need to really think about what they put of themselves out there. But it’s obviously a different, more serious matter on the more objective scale.

What it comes down to is what they do with the information. On its own, it’s not such a horrible thing yet. There’s still so much information that it’s a very objective mass of data to be worrisome to an individual per se. However, as soon as this info is used to single out individuals (especially without a clear (external) proof of criminal intent), it clearly crosses the line (and probably does much earlier). The moment they use this kind of surveillance for picking out someone whom they suspect of criminal behaviour it crosses all lines. Where I can still kind of accept is in a situation where, say, they already know of a planned terrorist attack, use this information to work out a few details and then prevent it at a stage of some level of execution.

And that’s a veeery slippery slope right there. And just ‘cause I’m not worried about me, doesn’t mean I’m not worried. It’s just that so far, in here, this doesn’t affect life. But there’s always This threat of sliding too far. The real issue to me is the authority to act on this information. That needs to be very narrow and very, very transparent and bound by rule of law.

     
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You can call me naive or a liberal apologist or whatever.  I don’t care.  I am more concerned about the gun nuts and right wing crazies than I am about “big brother” conspiracy theory bullshit.  The only reason this is even an issue is because of dishonest reporting and a feverish political minority that wants to point fingers and say, “this is what happens when the other side is in charge!”  They’re all a bunch or whiny crybabies, in my opinion.

     
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Lambonius - 09 June 2013 05:11 PM

I am more concerned about the gun nuts and right wing crazies than I am about “big brother” conspiracy theory bullshit.

Now, here’s the thing, there’s a huge gap between what you’re thinking about and what I’m thinking about. I’m not thinking about a conspiracy at all, but rather a very realistic move towards a society where more and more of your privacy is being eaten away by small steps not brought through the democratic process (and yet, in a way, accepted by it). I know there is also that other side of conspiracy theorists, but this is a simple question of a right to privacy. People put very private things, thoughts, information online. Is it okay that someone unauthorized may come and view secretly, in the name of an undefined security? There has to be boundaries somewhere, right? Maybe you don’t draw the line here, alright then, but everyone has a line somewhere. Everyone has to have a place where they feel that their privacy is being violated too much.

And sure, I’m more worried about gun-nuts etc. than this (and to some extent right wing crazies, though luckily not living in the US it’s not such a serious threat here, even we have our own, much too real version here too), but I’m also worried about traffic accidents, and that doesn’t mean that I’m not also worried about this. And I very much fear any change to the worse in the American society, because your influence is, well, so damn big in the whole world, and there just so much that the US can do, affect, get away with etc.

As for using this politically and everything, I’m sure that’s true. But then, at least to an outsider, it seems that everything is used to further (political) agendas in the US. The political system (there and to a smaller or larger extent everywhere else too is just very twisted like that.

     
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Lambonius - 09 June 2013 05:11 PM

The only reason this is even an issue is because of dishonest reporting and a feverish political minority

What you’re not being honest about is that both ends of the political spectrum do not like this.  Liberal Democrats have been at the forefront on this issue:

NSA Controversy

Now the Whistleblower has come out and you might be surprised that it is not a gun-totting Redneck either:

The Whistleblower

Not giving a darn is one thing, misleading is another.

     
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You’re right that Dems have been all over this issue, too.  Heck, I first read about it on Huffington Post of all places.  I don’t know—it really just isn’t something that concerns me.  I don’t see the Orwellian future as being at all a realistic possibility.

     
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UPtimist - 09 June 2013 04:58 PM

You’re saying you’re not worried about this added surveillance, because either the result won’t be a totalitarian state or that such a state would be overthrown.

I’m saying I’m not worried that it will turn into a totalitarian state because either it won’t, or if it does it’ll be overthrown eventually.

In other words, you’re fine with this step towards a totalitarian state?

I didn’t say that, now, did I? Wink
I’m not fine with *any* step towards a totalitarian state, but be reasonable. Do you seriously think that privacy laws aren’t being studied massively at this very moment? That they’ll implement any of these steps without so much as a peep from the masses, let alone politicians?

Such a state can only happen in very small steps - if everyone is fine with every step, who’s there to do the revolution?

Every one of the small steps will get protests, and they’ll get harsher with every further step. That is basically the very reason why I’m not worried now.

To try to simplify - if you feel that technological advances will in the end lead towards liberation, aren’t you accepting the Orwellian state that relies on technology?

Technology has advanced in different ways than Orwell foresaw when he wrote his novel, so it doesn’t really apply anymore. And things are also very different now than they were in East Germany in the ‘80s, for instance, so that’s no longer a viable point of comparison either (if you want a more “realistic” example than the fictional Orwellian one).
Technology now is everywhere, and yes, I’m fully aware of how much data is up for grabs out there, but really, there’s two sides to this. There’s the cyber-espionage doom scenario where through technology the masses are controlled and monitored to get them to fall in line (your Orwellian society), but there’s the flipside where social media allow the masses to organize AGAINST the very society that would try to control them. The second will prevail over the first one, imo.



And yes, I’m aware there’s a lot of simplifications and/or hyperbole here, but it’s kinda hard to make a point without them when it’s really about very complex matters with a lot of “gray areas”.

The main point I’m trying to make is that you should oppose most forms of privacy-invasion, but that worrying about dystopian Orwellian futures now is a waste of energy. There’s nothing wrong with realism, but all too often it turns into an overly gloomy look of things, and that’s not really a mindset that I want to be in all the time. Things won’t go anywhere near as far as how some of you are fearing they will, imo.


Edit:

Lambonius - 09 June 2013 06:29 PM

I don’t see the Orwellian future as being at all a realistic possibility.

I agree with Lambonius on this.

     

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