WARNING. CONTAINS NSFW LANGUAGE. USE OF EXPLETIVES.
If you are offended by swearing, this is perhaps not the blog for you.
• BLOG POST: 10 min read/listen
• NEWS ARTICLE: 7 min read
• SNOWDEN YOUTUBE CLIP: 12 mins
If you choose only one of these, make it the YouTube video!
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>>>> LISTEN HERE <<<<
Yesterday I posted on Facebook about the recent surveillance bill passed in the UK. (the irony of posting it on a ‘watched’ website was not lost on me) Some of my friends commented and mentioned that they felt they weren’t necessarily concerned about this because it is nothing new or that they have nothing to hide or that perhaps surveillance is necessary to prevent crime.
Firstly, let’s consider what surveillance actually is. What it really means for an individual and for a society. For this, I will create a ridiculous scenario, mainly to highlight its ridiculousness, both on a government level and relating to marketing.
Because let us not forget, as well as government tracking, private firms are selling those same spying tools and mass surveillance technologies to companies all over the world, so that they can target people with their products and services.
Think of it like this. Imagine leaving your front door open, never closing your curtains and allowing everyone to watch what you are doing 24 7. But they don’t just watch, they film you and photograph everything you are doing and record all of your conversations and then store them in a place where other people can access all of it.
You then allow your postman to make personal copies of every single piece of mail that ever goes to your house and then he shares it with hundreds of other people. You’re postman probably follows you around all day as well. As does the milkman — and for some reason, he keeps trying to sell you other shit besides milk.
As well as having your house open for all to see, every time you leave your house to go to work or meet a friend or walk the dog, someone records it and adds this seemingly mundane information to a personal database of ‘you’.
You go shopping and some dude tails you around the supermarket, taking note of everything you bought and then they pass that information on to Joe Whatshisface who then shares it with his friends, all of who own various businesses and services and every day, they send people to your house to post flyers about things that they think you would like to buy, and because some of his friends are total assholes, they send their minions to stand outside with huge signs and banners, some of them have pictures of partially nude people on, suggesting that you might want to meet someone for some ‘sexy-time’.
Every single time you leave your house they are there. It’s quite embarrassing for you but you notice that Bob, your next door neighbour, is getting it much worse because he ‘accidentally’ engaged with one of the people with the ‘titty banners’ and now there is a huge mob of them, clambering all over his house and property. The police are also watching him because of this — he hasn’t actually done anything wrong.
It isn’t just you and Bob having all this shit go on, it’s every single person living on the street. Everyone’s child, mother and uncle Frank, their grannies and their fucking cats. What the fuck, are they doing spying on 82-year-old granny? She retired 20 years ago and before that she worked in the local library and went to Bingo on a Sunday. But they are still collecting data on her, all her shopping, every time she pops out to the chemist to buy frickin’ incontinence pads, and that smartphone you bought her, so she could contact you in an emergency, keeps bombarding her with crap she doesn’t even understand, and hundreds of people are trying to get her to buy shit she doesn’t need. — No! granny doesn’t want a hot date with a local milf!
But that’s only the commercial element of spying. Over at the ‘Ministry of bullshit’, someone has decided, Mr.Ahmed, a man who lives round the corner from you, who happens to be quite a successful lawyer, is standing in the way of what would be a lucrative business operation. This is a business that some top government officials happen to have shares in. So what do they do?
Well, Dave Blogs who works in surveillance has access to highly detailed information about every single person living in the country. All he has to do is do a simple search using the spy software, and find something in Mr. Ahmed’s life, something seemingly mundane, then they find other things, anything, maybe his daughter was caught smoking pot one time, maybe his son has been visiting family in places where there are known terrorist cells.
With a few simple additions, some damning notes on his profile, some manipulation, maybe even blackmail — suddenly Mr. Ahmed has been directly linked to terrorism. In fact, Mr. Ahmed was a simple, honest hardworking man who worked as a human rights lawyer, and he is suddenly arrested under suspicion of terrorism, just because he was in the way of a corporation. This is a minor example of how this surveillance, can be and is being used against the public.
So, what if someone in your family, down the line, is in a similar situation, what happens if you become the dubious link or even the target? If you think that governments don’t do this, you have been misinformed.
And whether this is a new thing or not, does not make it any less important. Rape and murder have been around since the dawn of man but it doesn’t mean it is something we shouldn’t acknowledge as a problem. We have known about the existence of such programs for a long time. It is only now that it is legal for governments to use them on mass in this way and not just to target known criminals.
If you need a court order to enter my house and search through my things, why do you not need one to intrude on other areas of my life and go through my digital footprint as if it is a box of donations that I left on your doorstep?
MORE CORRUPT THAN A WEASEL IN A PET SHOP.
Governments are not parent-like organisations that protect us from bad things. Although not every single politician is a conniving bastard, they don’t have a grand track record for acts of human kindness. The reality is—THEY ‘ARE’ THE BAD THINGS! Just go ahead and look up some synonyms for the word government.
They are there to control and to profit, I don’t need to tell you (but heck, I will anyway) countless government officials are known to be linked to corrupt corporations and huge oil companies that are tearing our planet apart. The military complex is arming poor countries and them bombing the shit out of them.
It is well-known that the British Royal family has been doing business with Saudi’s for decades. A country responsible for the most heinous acts against human rights, a country where chopping off someone’s head in the street is very much still a thing — and the British royal family hang-out with them all chummy.
Are you really ok with morally redundant narcissists and megalomaniacs, having the power to spy and collect information every single step you make every day?
MASS SURVEILLANCE IS A HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION
You need to understand, THIS IS NOT JUST ABOUT YOU! This is about the people who’s rights are going to be attacked, journalists and human rights activists; individuals who don’t tick the preferred boxes for political views, race, religion or sexuality.
If Britain, until recently one of the most democratic nations on earth, can become a right-wing surveillance state, what do you think this is going to do for countries who already commit crimes against humanity who use this sort of surveillance technology as a weapon, where people will be tortured — because we didn’t think it was that much of a big deal?
Edward Snowden did not give up his cushy job in Hawaii, his nice apartment with his hot girlfriend, his family, his friends, his citizenship — and flee to live in Exile in Moscow, with the threat that if he ever went back home he would most likely face the death penalty — so that we could just go and dismiss this and say “it doesn’t affect me, I’m not a target, I have nothing to hide”
He is not the only ‘whistleblower’. Some of them were not so lucky and have faced jail and torture, simply because they wanted the public to know the truth.
FYI. The programs revealed by Snowden, have NEVER prevented a terrorist attack.]
“It is statistically impossible for total population surveillance to be an effective tool for catching terrorists. Even if your magic terrorist-catching machine has a false positive rate of 1 in 1000 – and no security technology comes anywhere near this – every time you asked it for suspects in the UK it would flag 60,000 innocent people” – newscientist.com
Let’s be clear, this surveillance is not about protection, it is about control. The government and the 1% wealth that funds their corporations are ever more paranoid about the people becoming educated, and rising up against them — and they are right to be. We are pissed. We know the truth. We know they aren’t there to protect our rights, they are simply protecting their own wealthy lifestyles while the rest of us remain either ignorant or helpless, especially the poorest. This conversation is not isolated to the USA or Great Britain. This is a world issue, a human issue, so we must fight for our rights because they are being taken away from us and some of us are simply choosing to look away or accept it as the status quo
Lastly, I want my friends to know, because I have these views, just like anyone else that has similar views and because I have searched these terms on the internet, shared my views publicly and believe in the protection of human rights and freedom of speech, I have essentially put myself out there as a target. I know very well that because of my political views, my interests in activism, and even the fact that I work with victims of human trafficking, I am one of the people who could easily be targeted as a result of this mass surveillance. I also currently live in a country where people can be arrested simply for sharing their anti-government views in public or on social media or for protesting. They have also made it impossible for investigations to take place in cases of death within police custody when it is related to political dissent. I want my close friends to consider that before writing off this issue. I often joke on facebook by writing “Hello NSA” in my private messages” — Yes, I have a slightly dark sense of humour. But it’s not really a joke for people living under oppressive regimes and Britain is not what it used to be. Just as the new government was elected, they began talking about scrapping the human rights act —and now this. Little by little, they are changing the political climate, slowly taking away the rights of the people. If you are not concerned about that, you may need to open your eyes.
If after all that, you are still not entirely convinced and you don’t have the time to read any of the linked articles, I implore you to at least watch this video from start to finish.
Thanks for reading this fucking epic post 😉