Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Editorial: The upside of the surveillance state

Pity the poor Courier editor. Ed Snowden forced him to think about the increasing electronic surveillance of Americans since the Patriot Act, but now he can't quite decide whether Snowden is a traitor or whether all this e-snooping is a good thing, crippling him with so much confusion that he's forced to write an editorial.
     The only opinion I can detect in the piece is this: "there may be a bright side to Americans drawing away from this obsession that every detail of every minute of life just has to be posted, ...," which I translate as, "it's a good thing they're watching us, as maybe we won't say so much in public," a rather odd position for any member of the fourth estate to take.
     But it clearly illustrates the frog-on-simmer thinking that has held sway in this country for over a decade, where the populace greets each new insult with an oh-well at its inevitability, much as the editor shrugs though his column today, complacent with the idea that whatever the NSA spooks are doing, they're not after him, so all's well.
     Noodging I-told-you-sos from those of us who warned about the creeping surveillance state years ago do no real good. What we need now is to use the Snowden incident to raise the question, what kind of country do you want to live in? I can't imagine anyone answering sincerely that we like being electronically strip-searched daily, cowering and sniveling in fear of phantom threats, while fat corporations rob us blind. Yet that's what the editor seems to be embracing.

Note to editor: as you apparently missed it, here's the first rule of writing anything: have something to say.


Anonymous said...

Steven, I have to disagree with you on this one. there is nothing that Mr. Snowden revealed that I didn't assume has been happening over the last 8-10 years. Can unscrupulous indivduals take advantage of the situation to use private information against somebody, no doubt. But. that has always been true. I deal with data professionally, and I assumed all along the U.S. spooks were doing extensive data mining, and I think that is a good thing. The congressional oversight should probably be tighter, but that will balance out over time. Have a great day.

Steven Ayres said...

We seem to be in the same place on what's been happening, so I'm not clear with what you disagree.

Anonymous said...

My bad, sorry I misinterpreted your comments. I am so glad you have been more active recently. The Courier editorial Staff has been dropping some real stink bombs for a while now. They need to be watched. Maybe they should not publish an editorial every day, and take a little time to collect their thoughts for a better product.