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mass-surveillance programmes « Previous | |Next »
October 30, 2013

Since 9/11 the NSA in the US has been spying on allies (Brazil, Spain, Mexico, France and Germany), the citizens of those nation states as well as its own citizens in the name of fighting the war on terror. The NSA is resisting any limitations on its powers of surveillance as a result of the diplomatic fallout, and it misleading the Senate on its industrial style domestic surveillance. "Everyone spies! " is their defense.

RoweDUSsurveillance.jpg David Rowe

This is a ubiquitous, suspicionless spying that is the sole province of the US and its four English-speaking surveillance allies (the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand). This massive bulk-spying system that operates in the dark is no longer about terrorism.

For the Five Eyes' spooks --- NSA and it spook Anglo allies (eg.,GCHQ in the UK and the signals intelligence agencies of Canada, Australia and New Zealand) ---the problem is the media's publication of information from Edward Snowden (it could damage national security is their reason) not the lack of public oversight and scrutiny of their mass surveillance. They, and their conservative allies reckon the newspapers who published the leaked information should be prosecuted, even though much of what the NSA and GCHQ (virtually one organisation) are up to with their electronic harvest treatment has nothing to do with terrorism or security at all.

We are moving towards a democratic society where the mass digital surveillance of citizens is normal---in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic wellbeing of the country, the prevention of disorder or crime, the protection of health or morals, or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. That covers a lot of ground. The people with access to our secrets can see, hear, intercept and monitor everything.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:55 AM | | Comments (6)


"For the NSA and it spook Anglo allies (eg.,GCHQ in the UK) the problem is the media's publication of information"

in the UK the targets are Edward Snowden and the Guardian. Their position is that the public doesn't have a right to know anything that the spooks deem to be sensitive.

Nor does the public have a need to know about the scope and scale of the surveillance programmes revealed by Snowden.

The mass capture of data, or strategic surveillance sucks in data from everyone, everywhere: from phones, internet use from email to website visits, social networking, instant messaging and video calls, and even areas such as video gaming; in short, everything digital.

That means the state can get access to all the content of our communications, via any of those channels; can gather information about anyone we communicate with, can get a full picture of all our internet use, can track our location online and offline.

It can, therefore, know everything about you, including – thanks to the ability to look at our internet searches – what's on our mind.

Snowden's revelations, perceived as explosive in American and Europe by both the political right and left, have been greeted in Australia with a weirdly echoing non-response.

In the rights-based tradition of the US the flagrant abuse of individual privacy is self-evidently a bad thing, a (literally) warrantless extension of the power of the state.

Australia does not have a rights-based tradition to counter the abuse of state power.

"This is a ubiquitous, suspicion less spying"

The spooks ambition is to get access to everything digital--total surveillance. We are moving towards a new kind of democratic society were we are spied on, monitored and surveilled.

The state assumes that it has the right to access the data we hand over to Google and Facebook and Apple.

How many people have been killed by terrorists in Australia? Not as many as those killed on our roads!

A security state is one in which the security establishment can do anything it likes. That is what the mass capture of data, or strategic surveillance that sucks in data from everyone, everywhere, is leading to.

If you've done nothing wrong have nothing to worry about etc etc...