George Orwell Would Laugh

George Orwell Would Laugh

NSA surveillance goes beyond Orwell’s imagination – Alan Rusbridger

Guardian editor says depth of NSA surveillance programs greatly exceed anything the 1984 author could have imagined

The seal of the U.S. National Security Agency....
The seal of the U.S. National Security Agency. The first use was in September 1966, replacing an older seal which was used briefly. For more information, see here and here. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The potential of the surveillance state goes way beyond anything in George Orwell‘s 1984, Alan Rusbridger, the Guardian‘s editor-in-chief, told an audience in New York on Monday.

Speaking in the wake of a series of revelations in the Guardian about the extent of the National Security Agency’s surveillance operations, Rusbridger said: “Orwell could never have imagined anything as complete as this, this concept of scooping up everything all the time.

“This is something potentially astonishing about how life could be lived and the limitations on human freedom,” he said.

Rusbridger said the NSA stories were “clearly” not a story about totalitarianism, but that an infrastructure had been created that could be dangerous if it fell into the wrong hands.

“Obama is a nice guy. David Cameron is a nice social Democrat. About three hours from London in Greece there are some very nasty political parties. What there is is the infrastructure for total surveillance. In history, all the precedents are unhappy,” said Rusbridger, speaking at the Advertising Week conference.

I heartily share Alan Rubbridger’s concern about later governments. The possibilities for abuse are so incredible that it is difficult to wrap your mind around them.

But what about Business Ethics? What are the implications there?

The government is tracking all financial transactions, so they know who invests, in what and for how much in any and every American business. That’s power. Since they monitor all e-mails, they have every kind of inside information including promotion and firing decisions. They can do something no government has been able to do before: understand the inner workings of a corporation in detail and in real time. Since corporations have incredible power, this check to that power’s implications are hard to measure. But we could be on the edge of an era in which government management of data enables corporations both domestic and foreign to be brought to heel.

Of course, they know enough personal information to blackmail millions, discredit millions more and by implication of knowing silence tens of millions of others. I find these implications disturbing.

It may be that Obama will not abuse this power but where is the guarantee for those who will come in the future?

James Pilant

From around the web.

From the web site, Tech Crunch.

From July 3rd, 2013.

A number of high-profile websites will be taking part in an online protest tomorrow against the National Security Agency (NSA)’s surveillance of online activity and phone calls. The protest is organized by non-profit organization Fight for the Future, and will see participation from thousands of sites, including, Namecheap, Reddit, 4chan, Mozilla, Fark, TOR, Cheezburger, Demand Progress, MoveOn, and EFF, among others.

However, none of the tech companies – like Facebook or Google – whose cooperation with the NSA was outed in the PRISM reveal will be involved in tomorrow’s events.

From the web site,


Enhanced by Zemanta