NSA – Why transparency isn’t enough

When Edward Snowden unveiled some of the practices of the NSA, and later other services, e.g. in the UK, I wasn’t terribly surprised. Having worked in the IT security industry in the past, although I’ve not known, there were signs pretty clear that this could happen. And I wasn’t shocked to hear that what could happen did indeed happen. It all fit into a picture or grand scheme of what is called “national security”. That term has become a synonym for out of control activities centered around the noble, and to some degree necessary, care for protection.

But what was once motivated by an understandable need to protect us, has turned into a “system” that has long gone way past any reasonable scale. It’s been shown elsewhere how the system inadvertently catches innocent. So much has been written about why you should care. A simple yet easy to watch video (in German, haven’t found something similar in English yet):

Yet lately the news I read are about a fight for transparency. Not about getting this stopped, scaled back. There’s no people on the street fighting for their rights. What’s wrong? Have we not learned from the past? What I also read is a demand for more security products to protect corporations. An industry is eager to jump on the bandwagon to develop, market and sell counter-measures to what is taken as a given.

I’m saying that’s wrong. It’s wrong to simply accept the current practice. It’s wrong to accept the discussion is about transparency. It’s wrong to keep the man who made this public in exile.

This should be about saying No to public surveillance. Saying No to spying on me, on my family and friends.

And it’s about accepting the fact that total security, the promise of preventing another large scale terrorist attack is nothing but an illusion. We’re already paying for this illusion. We’re paying with our freedom to be assumed innocent.

Our governments assume we’re evil. Otherwise they had no reason to scan my emails, cloud data and online behavior. This is in violation of the very fundaments on which our society has been built.

This is shocking.

Yet there’s no screaming out loud, going on the street, and saying No.

What’s wrong with us?