The Worldwide Surveillance And Privacy War (Which You Already Lost)
JULY 25, 2013
For years, Congress tolerated or encouraged telephone and internet surveillance of Americans in the US by US government agencies. We all – and that includes the Chinese, for example – now know that, thanks to NSA leaker extraordinaire Edward Snowden. But on Wednesday, Congress was tricked into going on record.
The instigators were two unlikely bedfellows from Michigan, Rep. Justin Amash, a young Republican with a libertarian bent, and Rep. John Conyers, a Democrat who at 84 is the second longest-serving member of Congress. Their proposal would have restricted the NSA’s surveillance activities. And Congress voted 217 to 205 to give the NSA a free hand. Here is the roll call if you want to know how your rep stacked up in the battle over surveillance and privacy.
It’s a worldwide phenomenon. The Snowden leaks have shown that European governments pursue it assiduously [my take... ‘Total Surveillance’ Officially Brushed Off In Germany]. And China’s internet surveillance and controls, among the most extensive and sophisticated in the world, are being pushed to the next level by the new Communist Party leadership, according to a report that Freedom House just released. It points out that “an extraordinary range of tools to contain critical conversations” have been developed by internet service providers and other companies that chase profits in the Chinese market and are trying to stay ahead of the government. And it’s spreading from there. China “serves as an incubator” for these technologies, the report states, and as “a model for other authoritarian countries.”