2013 December 22 Sunday
American Government Surveillance Attracts Admirers
The US government has more info about each American citizen than the East German Stasi security agency did in its hey day. A former Stasi lieutenant colonel appreciates the NSA's accomplishment.
Vladimir Putin looks on in envy as well.
Russian President Vladimir Putin defended the U.S. National Security Agency, and even said he envies President Barack Obama in light of the NSA revelations “because he can get away with it.”
I feel so proud of our surveillance accomplishments. But this is just the beginning. No resting on laurels. Cheaper mass storage will open up the potential to store orders of magnitude more info. Our government needs to be ready to collect more data. Better sensors in more locations. More email collection.
With Barack Obama in the White House we have a fawning national press. Data collection will continue to expand.
By Randall Parker at 2013 December 22 09:14 PM
There is a Stasi Museum in Berlin, which I have visited. Also a Stasi maximum security prison, now a memorial to the victims who suffered there. Truly chilling. Our government is admired by former officials of the KGB and the Stasi.
Three years ago, when my wife and I were staying at a little hotel in Germany, we were chatting with another couple. They looked like perfectly ordinary middle class Germans, but their story was frightening. They had lived in Leipzig during the bad old days of the DDR. They belonged to a Christian group that peacefully protested against the excesses and human rights abuses of the regime. The Stasi watched their every move, wiretapped their phone and bugged their apartment. Eventually they were arrested and sent to prison. Their children were taken away from them, of course. They were released and got their kids back when the Berlin wall (and the DDR) came tumbling down. Is this where we're headed?
This might be a necessary evil to combat even bigger evil. Even Einstein felt obliged to sign the letter written by refugee scientists to warn Roosevelt that if Nazi Germany had a nuclear project, and that for this reason the US had to do the same...
The problem is that in a few decades, as science becomes more advanced, small groups of people will be able to build very lethal chemicals, bacteria, and other weapons in garages. Any civilized country will have to keep track of these things, which might necessitate intrusive wiretapping and other measures everywhere.
I think the end result (or at least AN end result) will be when every human has an implanted chip that can read their brain waves and transmit them back to a central facility for analysis and storage.