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Cybersecurity, Encryption and the Golden Age of Surveillance


Cybersecurity, Encryption and the Golden Age of Surveillance

Amy Goodman, Denis Moynihan

The Internet, the electronic nervous system of the planet, has changed human society, profoundly altering the way we conduct our lives. It has been a great leveler, allowing people to connect, publish and share on a global scale. You can write, shop and bank online, or organize a demonstration that could overthrow a dictatorship. But the Internet also opens us to intense monitoring, exposing our most personal, private communications to the prying eyes of corporations and government spies, not to mention criminals.


Privacy is dead. Long live privacy.

To complement the authors’ comments let’s also remember that there has been a sea change of human behavior regarding personal privacy. I am no prude, but sexting? Really? Have we lost any semblance of common sense as a people? Add FaceBook, etc. to the mix and it adds up to respect for privacy becoming “suspicious” activity. The people are abdicating their rights in addition to the governments’ intrusions. Except for the occasional blog, I’ll keep to myself, thank you.


WiseOwl is right. The addition of social networking has turned the internet into a kind of low grade fame seeking hobby. Speaking through an inputting device, imagining your posted words and pictures getting the dreamed of reaction, unable to believe dangerous unpleasant blowback harmful outcomes could happen as a result. Facebook in particular is now a means for people to look at other websites for prefabricated cool clever sayings, pictures, staged fake accidents, cute cat clips and “sharing” them as through you had created them yourself. “What’s on your mind?” I’m probably too old to see the effect of growing up never knowing an unnetworked nonfacebooked world will have on the adults of the future in the unlikely chance there is to be a future.


Yes and no.

“The Internet, the electronic nervous system of the planet, has changed human society, profoundly altering the way we conduct our lives.”

Just how profoundly has it changed our lives and where? What habits of mind, body, soul, spirit, and heart has it changed?

Our lives are ordered and structured through these habits.

The internet has only changed the pre-frontal lobes of our mind; it only organizes our most petty egoistic urges.

And the NSA, CIA, DoD, HSA, DoI, et. al., are our national prefrontal lobes. Petty egos one and all. Fragile as a crystal wine glass in a bar brawl.

Here is where we need to focus attention: “It’s extraordinary that free governments are demanding that security be weakened because the government might want to have access. This is the kind of thing that we see out of Russia and China and Syria. But to see it out of Western countries is extraordinary.”

How has our government changed from being the strongest, most confident nation on the globe to reducing itself into sniviling, cowardly, professional lying sneaky plotters undermining everything that built that strength and confidence?

Well, it came directly out of the US Constitution. The Constitution, as its architects pointed out in Federalist #10, gave us a system that pits interest against interest, and, somehow magically (think of the infamous hidden hand of capitalism) delivers “the public interest.” That hidden hand of capitalism is precisely the proper metaphor, because capitalism’s no longer so secret hands are busy buying and trading and selling every government vote, policy, decision, and direction of the military might. Why else would Obama so viciously focus his radically anti-democratic push to have his Wall Street cronies buy the House and Senate votes necessary for Obama to have Fast Track Authority to create a trade group that can systematically undermine every law the US has on the books, and for the benefit of those very same corporate giants who bought the votes, policies, etc.?

Think of it this way. The Government has been reduced to another “investment vehicle,” and every vote bought is but another purchase of another piece of income security for the owners of that investment vehicle.

Remember that when you are again tempted to vote for the lesser of those two very well known evils.


Your deliberate attempt to turn massive government spying powers and what that means to any meaningful attempts to oppose the status quo that Big Brother is protecting (while it enriches the already rich at great expense to virtually everyone else as it makes war at its pleasure by sliding over former legal constraints as if they no longer exist, or are relevant) into kids on Facebook “exposing” their youthful bodies… is a way of downplaying the engorgement of dangerous State Powers.

You are here virtually daily and often post glib one liners meant to diminish the importance of the articles and what they reveal.

I think you’re a card-carrying member of the paid-to-message brigade.


How convenient! Is there EVER a time when a member of the Tag Team doesn’t post the Talking Point du Jour and a poster AUTOMATICALLY is standing by to reinforce it?

Both of you take the dangerous powers of a government cum empire no longer held in check by legal rulings or intended checks and balances and turn the conversation into what kids do in the way of posting personal information.

This stance is a way of justifying what government is doing.

For surely, taking the conversation AWAY from government-MIC-corporate spying powers to instead get all chatty-Cathy about how kids use Facebook is a deliberate form of obfuscation… or make that deflection.

Like the trained salesman, you offer “This” or “That.” And by pushing “That,” you take the conversation away from what DESERVES scrutiny, concern, discussion, and whatever mobilization is still possible within an allegedly “free” society.

THIS is why I call you military kids. You follow orders and most of your posts are deferential to the status quo that’s kept in place by Martial Domination. And many of your team members make it a DAILY point to push the meme that citizens don’t care, are ignorant, poorly informed sheeple.

Even when polls show that many DO know, and majorities post Progressive in all of the matters that count; and that trends that oppress U.S. citizens happen to be taking place in many other nations, still, the Chorus Lines are repeated often.

I will continue to point out the disinformation tactics that I have been observing in this forum’s comment thread for 8+ years. It’s disingenuous, dishonest, and deceptive… and those are moral sins in a time when Truth–and getting it out there–could not matter more.

Ultimately, how different are these paid message shapers/opinion shapers than the lawyers who prop up Monsanto, Big Tobacco, Big Oil and all of the corporations that deceive while murdering life, one person or ecosystem at a time?

Either you serve Truth, or you are part of the status quo. That status quo constitutes a collective mass suicide pact.


I give you credit for coming up with a rather novel defense for why government–now a fully owned subsidiary of the banking-military-media industrial complex–is acting against the citizens’ interests. Blame it on the Constitution! Now that’s patriotism, inverted!

You don’t get an A in history since the intent behind your quoted statement suggests that spying is something new. It leaves out the long history of FBI infiltration into the Civil Rights movement, Women’s rights movement, Environmental protection movement, etc.

“How has our government changed from being the strongest, most confident nation on the globe to reducing itself into sniviling, cowardly, professional lying sneaky plotters undermining everything that built that strength and confidence?”

A battle between the privileges of aristocratic families–and their claim to lord power over others by virtue of some “Divine right of kings,” and that of people rebelling in nation after nation to obtain and appreciate some form of sovereignty is old and remains ongoing.

In a society that runs as much on capital as it does fossil fuels, those who control these 2 assets can work the puppet strings of government. Nationalizing these assets would do wonders to thwart any concentrations of power in small and self-serving places. Until then, let’s not pretend that the U.S. govt suddenly developed a case of paranoia. Hoover’s ghost never died.


Predisposed to see an answer in your field? Call that affinity based solutions! A military man sees the solution as more guns - more ships - more military. A policeman sees the solution as more cops - more prisons - more stop and frisk.

A surveillance chief sees the answer as … more surveillance. Limited surveillance (due to such things as rights, constitutions and various inconveniences such as warrants) isn’t enough. The desire is for total surveillance. Only total 24/7 forever and a day complete real time all the time surveillance will suffice. That is the nature of affinity based solutions.

The general’s army is very well prepared to fight a war but after a while the general starts thinking about what if we had to fight two wars and so he wants to ramp up the military budget so as to be prepared to fight two wars simultaneously. But you know being able to fight three wars at once would be better right?

So the surveillance community …lets call this new monster by its real name not the rather bland designation - ‘intelligence community’ - which implies spies. The surveillance community wants total surveillance 24/7 - 365 - everything you do, when you do, where you go and with whom you talk to and very likely what you say. When did our elected government say we want to set up Big Brother for real? When did that concept become okay? Government without limits. The state knows best. Who are the ‘commies’ of my childhood now? Us? We now do all the things that the ‘commies’ used to do? We watch our citizens, track their movements and listen in to their private conversations?

Did Osama Bin Laden destroy us as a free country or what? The surveillance community wants to stamp out any chance of free communication among the country’s citizens. They would remove the very concept of freedom until the word would come to define only someone who is not in jail.

What does the word freedom mean? Obviously the surveillance community is afraid of freedom… they want to truly remove it from our lives permanently.

When you are being watched by people who have power over your life then silly things like sexting and vapid cute kitty videos are permissible.

Only being a free people is what will not be tolerated.


I may be mistaken, but I thought that built in back-doors were already in place. I think what is required for authorities to access an e-mail account is a warrant or court-order.
I have heard of anonymizers and masking of IP addresses to circumvent some of this.
What especially concerns me is the notion of a government mandate designed to restrict the use of encryption.