The Idea There’s Oppressive Government Surveillance Is a Fantasy?

by Apr 8, 2017Liberty & Economy0 comments

National Security Agency headquarters building in Fort Meade, Maryland (Reuters / NSA / Handout via Reuters)

An example of the kind of cognitive dissonance prevalent among priests of the state religion whose function is to manufacture consent for government policy.

In a New York Times op-ed about government surveillance of Americans, Max Read notes how more people are now using apps like Signal to be able to communicate more securely. Then he writes,

This is more than a philosophical concern about the hypothetical violation of privacy rights; it’s a practical one….

As lawyers and civil libertarians point out, federal criminal law is so vast and complicated that it is easy to unwittingly violate it, and even innocent conversation can later be used to build a criminal case. Encrypting your communication isn’t a matter of hiding criminal activity; it’s a matter of ensuring innocuous activity can’t be deemed suspicious by a zealous prosecutor or intelligence agent. Telling a friend that a party is really going to “blow up” when you arrive is less funny when it’s being entered into evidence against you.

Then three paragraphs later, Read says this:

While the fantasy of oppressive government surveillance is appealing to the little Winston Smiths inside us — and is much more than a fantasy for many activists and journalists — practically, what most of us should fear isn’t Big Brother reading our emails, but everyone else.

So people who use apps like Signal have a very practical concern because government surveillance is sweeping up private information from Americans indiscriminately, monitoring their communications for keyphrases like “blow up”, and people don’t want to be mistakenly charged with a felony for an arguably poor choice of words.

But the idea that there is oppressive government surveillance is a “fantasy”.

 

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About Jeremy R. Hammond

About Jeremy R. Hammond

I am an independent journalist, political analyst, publisher and editor of Foreign Policy Journal, book author, and writing coach.

My writings empower readers with the knowledge they need to see through state propaganda intended to manufacture their consent for criminal government policies.

By recognizing when we are being lied to and why, we can fight effectively for liberty, peace, and justice, in order to create a better world for ourselves, our children, and future generations of humanity.

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