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The Total Surveillance Society

Governments in developed nations around the world may be talking the language
of austerity but there is one budget in all of them that is not being cut. Security and
surveillance operations run by national intelligence agencies are having money
thrown at them and are increasingly networking their resources against the “credible
threats”. What credible threats,” you might well ask? l !aeda? "ran?, #orth $orea?
%rug &artels? &yber terrorists? re these really credible threats. 'r are they talking
about subversives within society, the risible 'ccupy movement, those effete rich kids
who decided to live rough on the streets while occupying the financial districts of
#ew (ork and )ondon but as soon as nights get cold and dark went home to mum, a
hot shower, a substantial meal and a warm bed. "n reality they were about as
threatening as a smelly fart.
*he answer is “none of the above”. We are the threat.
+ust as the #orth tlantic *reaty 'rgani,ation -#*'. is becoming a global
military superpower without a distinct enemy, the &entral "ntelligence gency,
/ritain0s 1"23, and other intelligence agencies are increasingly pooling their
intelligence and networking their information2sharing networks. *o what purpose
would agencies in which secrecy and paranoia are almost an obsessive compulsion
wish to cooperate?
*he answer is simple. "n a world in which the tiny elite minority -the one per cent.
of are well off and the super2ma4ority living in ab4ect poverty, the intelligence
agencies, like national armed forces, s. "n a conflict between the minority super2
wealthy and the rest of society, intelligence agencies those who work in the see an
evolutionary advantage in setting themselves up as the protectors of the wealthy and
protecting the interests of corporations and not the mass of citi,ens. "ntelligence
agencies, therefore, have decided to become a global 5anopticon where no one can
hide and everything we do is tracked electronically.
ttempts to create a worldwide
database of personal data, beginning
with basic criminal information, were
forestalled by the fact that the chief
promoter of such a combined on2line
repository of information, the 6nited
States, lacked a government department
akin to other nations0 "nterior 1inistries
that would be natural partners of the
mericans.
*he merican "nterior %epartment
had nothing to do with internal security
because it had 4urisdiction over such
areas as federal lands and national
parks.
*he 6. S. 7omeland Security %epartment, set up in the aftermath of the 89::
attack on the 6nited States created the impetus for the creation of global
communication networks and databases for use by intelligence agencies in /ritain,
The Panopticon - total surveillance to
guarantee good behaviour.
;rance, Germany &anada, ustralia, +apan and other developed nations and emerging
economies. *he merican %epartment of %efense, /ritain<s %efence 1inistry and
leading =uropeans nations had already been co > operating for some time through
5ro4ect =chelon, a system for monitoring electronic communications and flagging
patterns of keywords associated with terrorist activity. /ritish 1ilitary "ntelligence
-1 " ? and 1 " 3. and the civilian police force Special /ranch under the internal
security umbrella of *he 7ome 'ffice were eager to hook up with the 6 S #ational
Security gency -#S., &entral "ntelligence gency -&"., and ;ederal /ureau of
"nvestigation -;/". all now controlled by the massive %epartment of 7omeland
Security and with access to pooled governmental data gathering resources. *his in
turn has led to new ties with foreign intelligence and national security agencies to
build a network of shared databases.
"n this case merican =@ceptionalism, an ideological snobbery that has in the past
made merica insufferable as an ally, works in the interests of freedom. *he 6nited
States security agencies envisaged the network as a one2way street. *he mericans
want to draw the world0s intelligence into its own databases while only allowing its
partners, including longtime intelligence allies like /ritain and &anada to have access
to a small percentage of data amassed from electronic surveillance and theft of
personal data. merican =@ceptionalism decreed that the 6S had a prior claim on
anything that it deemed necessary to safeguard it<s interests because the 6nited States
was a morally superior entity. *his did not play well to other powers.
"n AB:A, the =uropean 6nion and 6nited States agreed to allow the mericans to
store for up to fifteen years 5assenger #ame Cecords -5#Cs. on every =uropean
6nion citi,en who flies. "t was promised that the treaty would contain safeguards to
prevent the e@ploitation of the data but attempts by libertarian members of the
=uropean 5arliament to take the agreement before the =uropean &ourt of +ustice and
challenge it on grounds that it violates the Geneva &onvention defined right to
privacy were blocked by senior = 6 officials in /russels. 5#C data, like national
identification numbers, are keys that unlock countless files on individuals and reveal
information on dietary choices and thus religious beliefs and via that to an
individual0s ethic group, health condition, and se@ual orientation. *hat is 4ust from
flight records. "f the 5#C information is linked to airline customer data files much
more can be obtained including credit card details and banking information.
&urrently, the #ational Security gency is building a %ata &enter on a #ational
Guard base in /luffdale, 6tah. *his will be a massive data storage center that is the
si,e of :D football fields. *he center will contain stored communications records as
well as transactional data, including financial, travel, and medical information, on
perhaps billions of people around the world. *he center is designed to store a
yottabyte of data > eEuivalent to ?BB Euintillion -?BB,BBB,BBB,BBB,BBB,BBB,BBB.
pages of te@t.
*he data will range from that derived from relatively open sources to deep data.
%eep data obtained through sophisticated computer espionage programs, including
those that crack passwords, encryption schemes, and data hidden by pi@el
steganography and other sophisticated methods. 1icrosoft is a silent partner of #S
in collecting massive amounts of stored data from clouds and from interactive
networks like Skye. 1icrosoft took over control of Skype in AB:: and it is believed
by many privacy e@perts that the firm routinely shares customer data with the #S
and other intelligence and security agencies -time to think about switching to )inu@?.
*he location of the #S data centre in the 1ormon state of 6tah is also
significant. *he 1ormons, or &hurch of +esus &hrist of )atter %ay Saints, maintains
the world0s largest genealogical databases
owing to their custom of bapti,ing the
ancestors of converts to the 1ormon faith.
&ombine the 1ormon geneological
records collected from every nation on the
planet with the transactional data maintained
by the #S in nearby /luffdale, and the
world0s all seeing eye or computeri,ed
5anopticon not only knows every detail
Global surveillance
about living individuals but an immense amount of information about their deceased
ancestors. *hat is the sort of information craved by tyrannies because a characteristic
of all tyrants is paranoia. *o those who live in fear, everything is a threat.
*he %utch rapporteur for the =626S 5#C agreement, which has also been
e@panded to include ustralia and &anada, was Sophie in0t Feld of the %emocrats 33
5arty. She withdrew her sponsorship of the 5#C agreement because of misgivings
over the privacy controls afforded the data -i.e. if you are not merican with rights
safeguarded by the 6 S constitution you have no privacy.. 1s. Feld complains that
since taking her stance she has been sub4ected to e@tra security screening every time
she visits the 6nited States and 6.S. authorities have refused to tell her why.
"n the future, the massive international connected spy grid will make similar
decisions with or without the intervention of a human being.
"ndividuals will find themselves under arrest based on a decision made by a
computer. We have all read reports of the kind of insane responses artificial
intelligence systems can make when faced with ambiguities. /eing unfortunate
enough to have the same name as a terrorist or criminal could turn out to be a death
sentence. *o the idiot technocrats who will run these systems the computer is always
infallible.
"n some 4urisdictions -and not by any means only third world tyrannies., people
have been targeted for surveillance and arrest based on a belief by law enforcement
that they may commit a crime. /ritain<s )abour government -:88D > AB:B. tried to
introduce a law that would have allowed indefinite detention without the right to a
court appearance for those suspected of terrorism. 6ntil public outcry forced the
abandonment of the law it was 4oked that owning a beard could land you in 4ail for
life. *he storage of massive amounts of personal data will make such pre2crime
enforcement and detention without trial a common occurrence. 5eople will be guilty
of being accused.
"n addition to 1icrosoft, it is rumoured the databases will be fed data from massive
commercial data centres, including the pple i%ata &entre in #orth &arolina, the
=/ay data centre also in 6tah, as well as 1icrosoft0s massive data centre in San
ntonio, *e@as, which is located close to another #S intelligence2gathering facility
called #S *e@as. Google are already known to share information with government
agencies.
*he intention to implant a Cadio ;reEuency "dentification -C;"%. &hip into the
body of every citi,en has been denied by western governments but what cannot be
denied is that laws permitting this gross violation of the Geneva &onvention are in
place.
;reedoms we take for granted are under threat from this scientific dictatorship. *he
freedom of the road, that is freedom to travel where we wish without <let or
hinderance< -without having to seek permission or report our movements to the
authorities is an =nglish common law right that dates back to the )iber +udicialis of
$ing lfred, signed into law in the ninth century.
"n /ritain we became aware of the surveillance state pro4ect when the )abour
government was in power -why is is always regimes styling themselves <socialist< that
are drawn to fascism. wave of public outrage caused the freedom loving socialists
to abandon a plan to force all /ritish citi,ens to carry and C;"% chipped
"dentification &ard at all times -to be outside your home without it would have been a
crime. and to charge us all GHB for the privilege of being <tagged< with one of these
things. !=%.
5erhaps the last word on this should go to one of the last genuine liberals to lead a
ma4or nation.
I*here is little value in ensuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not
survive with it. nd there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased
security will be sei,ed upon by those an@ious to e@pand its meaning to the very limits
of official censorship and concealment.I > +ohn ;. $ennedy
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