The Architecture of Oppression

Is this it? Is this the end of free society? Are you bearing witness to the permanent extinction of privacy thanks to technology? We wrote yesterday that America’s domestic spying scandal is a travesty for civil liberty. But what did we mean? And are we being overly dramatic?

Well, no. Anytime the intelligence agencies of a country use secret courts to mine your private digital data without your consent — and without any suspicion of a crime — then you are no longer living in a free society. You’re living in a police state. And the tendency of all regimes that accumulate too much power is to abuse it. That’s the threat you face now.

Some people are too busy eating cheeseburgers to be bothered by the emergence of ‘the architecture of oppression’. That was the term whistle blower Edward Snowden use to describe how America’s National Security Agency (NSA) records phone calls, emails, text messages, Skype calls, and banks all that and any other kind of digital communication by ‘foreigners’. The NSA can only query that data — peek into every corner of your private life — with a court order from a secret court.

The secrete court was created in 1979 and goes by the name of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC). In its 33 years of existence, FISC has rejected exactly 11 of 33,900 requests by the US government to eavesdrop or otherwise spy on suspects, according to Evan Perez of the Wall Street Journal. Last year, FISC rejected zero of 1,856 requests, although it modified 40. It is not, in other words, exercising a whole lot of judicial oversight of executive power.

To summarise: your data is being stored. With the consent of a secret court that hardly ever says ‘no’ and is not subject to transparent democratic oversight, that data can be ‘mined’. It’s as menacing as it is breathtaking in its hubris.

‘If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to be afraid of,’ say the Zombies. ‘Besides, there are terrorists, drug dealers, money launderers and perverts out there. They’re the only ones who ever complain about invasions of privacy… If it makes us safer, isn’t it worth it?’

Your natural rights aren’t granted to you by the government. You don’t need anyone’s permission or consent to be free. In fact, democratic governments govern with the consent of the governed. We have power over them, not the other way around.

If we accept a world where we allow the security apparatus of the Nation State to tell us how much freedom and privacy we’re permitted, we’re not free. We’re on the way to tyranny. Truth be told, we’re probably already there, but are so comfortable watching TV and eating curly fries that we can’t be bothered to object.

Here’s the thing, if the government can bank all of your digital data for the duration of your life, it’s only a matter of time before you become a suspect in a crime and get convicted. And once the permission is secured to ‘mine’ your data, you can be sure you’ll be found in violation of some law. Throughout history, people with this kind of far-reaching bureaucratic authority can’t resist the temptation to abuse it, mostly to punish political opposition but sometimes because they are petty psychopaths with enormous coercive resources at their disposal.

Here’s a final point, if you think these laws won’t apply to you here in Australia. The logic of the permanent surveillance state is that the War on Terror is everywhere all the time. That means every street in every town is a potential battlefield, and everyone with a mobile phone is a potential enemy combatant. In the Warfare State, you are on the front lines whether you know it or not and whether you like it or not.

It’s only a matter of time before the law empowering the NSA to record the data of non-Americans applies to Americans. In fact it’s more likely Australian citizens would have already been subjected to NSA searches of your data because to American eyes, Australians are foreigners. If you use Skype, Facebook, Apple, and Google, say hello to the algorithm reading your email. And you can be sure that despite public protests by elected politicians, intelligence agencies in the Western world would be chortling with delight over this God-like view into the lives of ordinary citizens.

We’re truly on the threshold of an era where individual liberty might never recover from the attacks of the Welfare/Warfare State, aided by technology. Can we drag ourselves back? If we can, it will require a revolution of a different sort. And technology will certainly be involved. More on that tomorrow.

Regards,
Dan Denning
for Markets and Money

Join me on Google Plus

From the Archives…

A Disguised Depression in the US Economy
7-06-13 – Bill Bonner

A Genuine Economic Recovery Requires a Genuine Bust
6-06-13 – Greg Canavan

Why it’s Going to Get Ugly When Interest Rates Rise Again
5-06-13 ­– Greg Canavan

Big Trouble in the Australian Economy… Everybody Relax
4-06-13 – Greg Canavan

Why Growth Stocks Could be the New Target of the Big Money Hunt
3-06-13 – Dan Denning

Download Your FREE Report:

The Aussie Recession Survival Guide: how to protect your wealth in a fast-shrining economy
Markets & Money Free ReportIn this urgent investor report, Markets and Money editor Vern Gowdie shows you why Australia is poised to fall into its first ‘official’ recession in 25 years…

You’ll learn:

  • What Central Bank Rate-Slashers Don’t Want You to Know: Has the Reserve Bank’s rate-slashing obsession really helped stimulate the Australian economy? Or has the incredible amount of ‘cheap money’ up for grabs simply dug a deeper economic hole? You’ll find out in Vern’s report…
  • Revealed: Australia’s 25 Year ‘Bulletproof Economy’ Fraud: Politicians have long talked up Australia’s apparent economic strength. You’ve been told we haven’t seen negative growth since 1991. But is Australia’s 25-year economic ‘golden run’ true? Has our economy really grown non-stop for a quarter century? You’ll be shocked by Vern’s findings…
  • Australian Government’s $1 Trillion ‘Black Hole’: The Aussie government ‘borrowing spree’ pushed foreign debt up $2 trillion in the last 15 years. Net debt (the money we owe foreign countries) stands at $1 trillion. What does this debt ‘black hole’ mean for the economy, your livelihood and the future of your family? Vern paints a bleak picture…

To download your free report ‘The Aussie Recession Survival Guide: How to protect your wealth in a fast-shrinking economy’ simply subscribe to Markets and Money for FREE today. Enter your email in the box below and click ‘Send My Free Report’.

We will collect and handle your personal information in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

You can cancel your subscription at any time.

Leave a Reply

3 Comments on "The Architecture of Oppression"

Notify of
avatar
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Lachlan
Guest

Technology or not the world will still reflect peoples decision to serve the power within. Edward apparently walked straight through his fears to serve that power. Let that dominate our thoughts. The fear of a surveillance state may prove more paralysing than the reality.

Lars Madsen
Guest

There are some great points made here. But the author offers no solutions. No alternatives. How would the author deal with today’s mobility and communication (read planning). What I want to ask the author is whether or not he believes the government has the mandate to protect its citizens and if so, at what point is the mining of telephone calls (which are part of your phone bill), your emails (which Yahoo stores and mines) or your web searches (which Google uses to sell you stuff) off limits?

slewie the pi-rat
Guest
i’m old school. for an act of civil disobedience, you or i turn ourselves in and face the charges in a speedy and public trial before a jury of our peers. fight to FIGHT! winning comes on its own, and seldom enough, at that. until some legal charges and Snowden’s response (if any), i agree: psyops about psyops is veddy, veddy dramatic. trust me! L0L!!! meanwhile, could NATO and the UN be having their “bottomless” fascist credit cards questioned? by human BEings? here and there? now that IS deflationary, even to the home-schooled. or: where were you when they bailed… Read more »
wpDiscuz
Letters will be edited for clarity, punctuation, spelling and length. Abusive or off-topic comments will not be posted. We will not post all comments.
If you would prefer to email the editor, you can do so by sending an email to letters@marketsandmoney.com.au