This was originally published at Porcupine-Musings.org
Fear is paradoxically a powerful motivator and pacifier. It compels us to fight back but sometimes can lull us into complacency if we believe such complacency will protect us. It was recently revealed that the NSA been collecting “metadata” from American’s phone conversations and recording the content of our internet usage in a furtive attempt to uncover the word “TERRORIST” in a virtual global-size Word Puzzle.
After this revelation there was much popular indignation. Liberal, libertarian, and conservative – all briefly joined together in outrage that their government would subject them to such scrutiny. We all (naively) believed our internet communications to be private; thus our outrage over such virtual eavesdropping was no different than had the NSA been bugging our bedrooms. Then something happened. The government did not blink. They were not at all shamed by this revelation. In fact all three branches of government defended it on the grounds of safety. Or the illusion of safety anyway. Without the PRISM program (the codename for the internet spying) we might have fallen victim to dozens of terrorist attacks, so they say. The brushfire of outrage was all but quenched with the bucket of our own fear – “well I guess it’s ok if it will keep us safe” now says John Q. Public. [Read more...]