December 9, 2013
The Snowden disclosures have shown the extent to which the National Security Agency--and its associated including the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) ---extraordinary surveillance infringes on the privacy of our communications and other vast areas of our lives. It has become readily apparent the extent of their disregard for individual privacy. Their motto seemingly is “If it can be accessed, take it."
The politicians offer cheap reassurances--- "if you’re doing nothing wrong, you’ve got nothing to worry about”--- whilst refusing to accept wrongdoing. The political class appear determined to conceal the fact that their monitoring extends to the electronic communications of whole populations. The conservative mainstream media appears to have a structural hostility to both any exposure of mass snooping by the state, and to the realisation of a participatory, deliberative or active public.
The quantities of data that are being collected are vast: so vast that there is no way they can be sifted by hand; instead the NSA analysts have to create algorithms that look for data that stands out and fits certain abnormal patterns.This generates the fear of a powerful and far-reaching security state due to the risk of ever-present risk of being placed under surveillance.
The political class say that the government needs a fairly free rein to act as it sees fit to protect the public because the ultimate human right is the right not to be blown up by a terrorist: in other words, accepting state secrecy in the name of security but at the cost of an end to privacy as we have known it.Their reassurance takes the form of parliamentary oversight of state secrecy and the ever-encroaching surveillance powers of the government.