Conflicted…

A year ago, hell, six weeks ago I would have called Edward Snowden a traitor. Handing information to the press, especially classified information, goes against the grain and against a decade worth of training and experience. I can’t fathom a circumstance under which I’d do it… I’m philosophically opposed to finding myself in a Video-Surveillance-Usefederal prison or being “disappeared” by some of the more clandestine elements of our government, you see.

Maybe the country would be a happier place if we were all left fat and ignorant of what happens behind the fence line. With reality TV and the celebrity of the moment to entertain us, I wonder how long our collective national focus will remain fixed on what I think we can agree is at best an egregious violation of our collective rights as citizens of the republic. I’m sure it won’t be for as long as it should.

Look, our data is out there. We’re giving it freely to companies like Apple and Google every second of every day. It’s not that I have a problem with Uncle having a peek now and then, it’s that he’s blatantly said for so long that he’s not doing it. If the president or the Director of National Intelligence stood up and said “yep, we’re keeping an eye on phone calls and email and we’ve stopped X, Y, and Z as a result,” I’d probably be on the government’s side of this one without a second thought.

It’s the lie that chafes. It’s always the lie. That’s why I’m conflicted. And that’s why I can’t quite bring myself to condemn Mr. Snowden.

5 thoughts on “Conflicted…

  1. Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
    Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

    • I suppose the argument depends on what we define as “essential” liberty. Do I have a full, free, and unfettered assumption of privacy when I make a phone call or send an email over a public company’s infrastructure? Maybe. Maybe not. Is a phone call that I pay for different than an email service that I get for free? In my mind electronic privacy is the fight of the 21st century and at the moment I have at least as many questions as I have answers.

  2. I understand concerns, but have you given a thought that there are multiple countries (China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, Turkey, etc) that do more in a week to exploit our liberties and freedoms against this very nation we all love and call home than we have seen here. Yet, we are upset that our own government is peeking in to understand patterns to analyze anomalies to keep us safe, not to exploit individuals, businesses, and our government for bribery, extortion, and terrorism at extents we have not seen or can fathom.

    • I think that’s a valid concern, JT. I think my objection is more a philosophical than a practical one, though. At what point do we ourselves become what we’re fighting against by adopting their tactics?

      • That is the trillion dollar question; however, if we do not look at the practicality of the given situation and changing dynamics that the cyberwar has with hostile nation, we need to evaluate where the DMZ really is as a nation for our society vs. our government. As you can tell, Philosophy, along with spelling, is not my strong suite..;), but this topic provides a provocative quandary, especially when you look at other laws and issues being discussed (e.g gun laws, Israel, China Cyber attacks). I think the only issue, which was raised to me by our mutual friend ML, was the lying from the gov, if they would own up to it, than we can draw a line and work a plan. Now, we are in a situation that other nations, conspiracy theorist, lobbyist can use. In addition, this drives some major political and public issues to side that need to be addressed by our nation and now we will be bogged down handling something that in the past has been blown off as, ‘yep, that’s big brother at it again, lets change the regime and move on!’ All kidding aside, there is topics that, by far, scare me and leave me confused on the direction of our nation over this.

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