Sunday, 7 July 2013

Truth and surveillance.

“and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free”

If only....

How far have we slipped?

“Any attempt to invade the privacy of a private citizen, doesn’t matter what it is, is in violation of the Bill of Rights, and those who propose such a thing are more of a danger to this country than the ones they want to listen in on.
...There’s always somebody around, Congress, somewhere, that thinks the country won’t last until day after tomorrow unless there’s a lot of wiretapping involved.”
—Harry Truman, quoted in ‘Plain Speaking’

The steady stream of leaks from Edward Snowden build to form a very troubling picture. It would be difficult to get that impression from the mainstream media obsessed by celebrity and ‘Murray mania.’ Thankfully there are journalists out there such as Glen Greenwald, determined to reveal what is going on. 

“But contrary to what some want to suggest, the privacy rights of Americans aren't the only ones that matter. That the US government - in complete secrecy - is constructing a ubiquitous spying apparatus aimed not only at its own citizens, but all of the world's citizens, has profound consequences. It erodes, if not eliminates, the ability to use the internet with any remnant of privacy or personal security. It vests the US government with boundless power over those to whom it has no accountability. It permits allies of the US - including aggressively oppressive ones - to benefit from indiscriminate spying on their citizens' communications. It radically alters the balance of power between the US and ordinary citizens of the world. And it sends an unmistakable signal to the world that while the US very minimally values the privacy rights of Americans, it assigns zero value to the privacy of everyone else on the planet.

This development - the construction of a worldwide, ubiquitous electronic surveillance apparatus - is self-evidently newsworthy, extreme, and dangerous. It deserves transparency. People around the world have no idea that all of their telephonic and internet communications are being collected, stored and analyzed by a distant government. But that's exactly what is happening, in secrecy and with virtually no accountability. And it is inexorably growing, all in the dark. At the very least, it merits public understanding and debate. That is now possible thanks solely to these disclosures.” Glen Greenwald, Guardian 7/7/13

Finally, how much has this coalition government achieved? Here is what they said in the Coalition Agreement back in May 2010

“We will be strong in defence of freedom. The Government believes that the British state has become too authoritarian, and that over the past decade it has abused and eroded fundamental human freedoms and historic civil liberties. We need to restore the rights of individuals in the face of encroaching state power, in keeping with Britain’s tradition of freedom and fairness.” 

And this

“We will restore rights to non-violent protest.
We will introduce safeguards against the misuse of anti-terrorism legislation.
We will further regulate CCTV.
We will end the storage of internet and email records without good reason.”

Oh yeah.

Romanian MEP
“The reason we fought so hard to join the West was for freedom, not a repeat of what we fought against.”

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