A friend told me “Paranoia is a good thing, especially if you are being followed.” Apparently Americans, and very likely the rest of the world’s population, have good reason to be paranoid. In 2011/2012 the empire struck back, showed its teeth and the surveillance state was dragged out into the open.
US mainstream media was surprisingly silent on the government’s rampant disrespect for the constitution, US and international law and the rights of its citizens; other countries are most likely not much better, but less sophisticated.
Lincoln’s government of the people, by the people and for the people was a novel idea, but failed unless you belong to a small chosen group of wealthy people, what Occupy calls the 1%. The Guardian UK has an interesting article about the coordinated crackdown of Occupy protests in the fall of 2011, detailing the extend of the surveillance state and the intricate interplay of corporations and government entities to squash dissent, an article that should invoke outrage in every American.
The US government has become an embarrassment to its country, violently cracking down on peaceful protesters who were doing nothing more than executing their basic civil liberties. But don’t take my word for it, read the unclassified documents yourself. Most of the protesters did nothing wrong, but as I always like to think, it isn’t up to you or me to decide if our actions are wrong, someone else will gladly does that for us.
We created invisibler.com precisely because we are concerned about protecting our basic human rights, in particular our right to privacy and freedom of speech. We hope we have succeeded in making our point that our privacy is under attack and that unless each of us takes steps to ensure the protection of our basic rights the erosion of those rights will continue.
The US government has built/is building a huge data storage facility in Utah to save all communication routed through the United States and then some. Ever phone call, every email, every SMS, everything is archived. While it is impossible for humans to listen to or read everything stored, and my guess is most of it remains untouched, sophisticated computer programs can quickly build detailed social graphs about individuals, groups or entire communities, online or offline.
This should be cause for great concern to all of us, because the US government doesn’t need this degree of detailed information to provide the services we all have come to expect, which begs the question: Why do they gather all this information?
The official answer, of course, is to combat terrorism; however, I beg to differ. The current and previous administrations have built a surveillance state Goering could have only dreamed about. The coordinated crackdown on peaceful protesters had little to do with protecting the public, but everything to do with squashing dissent. The government is preparing for the day when Americans wake up, see their rulers for who they really are and revolt to end the slavery that was so cleverly implemented.
It is hard not to see reality for what it really is, unless you have your head securely buried in the sand and still believe mainstream media. Polls show only few people do. A revolution is coming, I just hope it will be a peaceful one, but I have my doubts. The power structures won’t give up their grip on us easily. Fortunately there are a few steps each of us can take to protect ourselves, or in this case our data.
Everybody who uses the Internet must understand the concept of encryption and how to secure your Internet connection. This starts with password protecting your Wi-Fi network, using a VPN whenever your are connected via public Wi-Fi, encrypting your sensitive data, or even using encrypted chat. These measures aren’t perfect, but they are a good start.
In 2013 we will continue our quest to take control of our data and safeguard our privacy. We hope you will join us and wish you well for the new year.
Image Credit: Luciano Castillo