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8 biggest “enemies of the Internet” – This year marks the first time that the U.S. has earned Reporters Without Borders’ dubious honor – The United States and United Kingdom achieved the dubious honor of being branded “Enemies of the Internet” for the first time.(r/technology)
And the sad thing is, the US and the UK are doing this to themselves for what? The costs are plainly visible, both in treasure, and in civil liberties. But what are the benefits? What are we getting out of this? National security is frequently given as justification, but we’re not getting any more secure by sacrificing our right to privacy. Terrorist attacks still happen, but what’s so difficult for people to understand is that these threats were, and remain extremely remote. Not going to provide a source, but Bruce Schneier makes a compelling argument to that effect.
The way I see it is that these folks at GCHQ, NSA, CIA, et cetera, are a wildly dangerous anti-democratic force in our governments today. We can elect leaders. Leaders can be held accountable to some extent. However, we cannot elect these intelligence bureaucrats. Even though they’re not elected, they hold tremendous leverage over our leaders, because they hold the keys to most, if not all, of our nations’ communication infrastructure.
And, this would have been fringe a few years ago, but, the intelligence community is definitely using their privileged position as leverage over our democratically elected leaders. Diane Feinstein, the head of the senate intelligence committee for oversight recently publicly alleged that the CIA had destroyed and or modified files on servers controlled by Feinstein’s office. The files involved were related to the CIA’s detention program, and this occurred just as Feinstein’s office was preparing a report on the CIA. source And that doesn’t even speak to the stuff that hasn’t surfaced yet. But, if you want an idea of how bad it could be, read this biography of J. Edgar Hoover, and then think about how a man like that, would have used our intelligence infrastructure to further his own ends. Just think about it, please. And keep in mind that those little machiavellians are the rule in our governments, not the exception.
The intelligence community, as it is behaving today, represents the greatest threat to me, my wife, and my children. Not fucking terrorists, not religious lunatics, but these folks. Because, if they continue to get their way, my kids won’t get to grow up in a world with individual rights. They’ll be taught from a young age, that everything they do should be monitored, and that to keep anything private is to be suspicious. And to be suspicious is to be illegal. I know what kind of regime that looks like, and I don’t want any part of it.
Edit: Wow, I did not expect this to get such a strong response. But I’m glad that it did. Someone pointed out, that it would be foolish to view the intelligence community as the greatest risk to my family. That is arguably true. I meant to imply the greatest political risk. Obviously, mundane things like traffic safety, vaccinations, and the like, are much more pressing issues as far as threats to my family. But as far as threats to society, to our way of life, and our institutions, I still view the intelligence community is way more dangerous than the external remote threats of terrorism. To the kind stranger that gave me reddit gold, I will never forget your kindness. Many thanks.