Edward Snowden has been revealed as the former CIA employee who is the whistleblower showing the world all the information they hold on everyone. The UK and GCHQ have been in the news too for all the alleged spying…you know what I don’t really care. How many times have people spoken publicly about what goes on behind the scenes of government and of the security services? What has it changed? Nothing.
There is the argument if it weren’t for people like Edward Snowden then we’d probably be spied on even more, but we all know by now that we are tracked and monitored online, through credit/debit/store/loyalty cards, in Airports, by police and CCTV cameras – in fact there’s very little they don’t already know about you. The only thing this really effects is the top politicians who are often revealed to be less honest than we thought. I know, I was surprised too. The majority of these so called liberties are non-existent anyway – as soon as you sign up to anything online or in stores you are allowing them access to your life. Do you really think that it’s a coincidence that Tesco know exactly the vouchers to give you? Of course not they track your shopping and make judgements based on your regular basket.
Yes there are areas that are worth fighting for and I’m only half joking when I say I don’t care, but we do need to be less naïve when these things happen and “truths” come out. Ever since Watergate revealed the depths the eavesdropping had gone to under Nixon the Americans and to a lesser extent the rest of the world have put up a brave front and denied all knowledge of any underhanded behaviour. This is despite the Chinese are constantly trying to hack the US computers constantly; the Russians are still keeping tabs on everyone else; and I Europe we all “spy” on each other like it’s second nature.
In the US the Patriot Act brought in after 9/11 was effectively the government allowing security agencies a free run of business and individuals disguised as a anti-terrorist bill. The UK is no different and we have similar legislation that was forced through at these times and we’re now worried about the new suggestion of police and the government being able to access your phone records, internet history and emails as part of a anti-terror crackdown. Why are we worried? If we’re doing nothing wrong then it’ll be the same as it was before. Just because they can access your Tesco shopping basket, your favourite porn sites and the last purchase you made on Amazon do you think they’ll bother you or I? No – but there is a wider issue there. Through profiling and race/religion backgrounds we may find that people of certain ethnicities are going to be targeted more than others – much in the same way the stop and search powers are often abused.
It’s not the erosion of our freedoms – because as I say we sign most of those away each time we apply for something or fill in a form – but it is how governments and the authorities use and implement those directives. If it is just an excuse to target people of a certain colour or creed then it is an abuse of the system, but if it’s used to combat real and present dangers – then so be it.