Is Big Brother Bugging You?

Big BrotherWell, yes, and for quite some time already as became resoundingly clear after NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden came clean in the Guardian. He was bugged because he “does not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded”. Kudos to Edward for carrying out the biggest intelligence leak in a generation and being prepared to suffer the consequences.

But are we bugged about being bugged? Ironically there has been the usual public outcry in the same social media that is being intercepted by the NSA or a secret service near you as we speak. We don’t give a bugger about being recorded, in fact we revel in it. Connected consumers are happily giving up information control in return for information convenience.

History repeats itself and our collective memory is short lived, but not deleted from the Internet: PRISM is not the first of its kind, before PRISM came Echelon. Since 2002 our own Dutch AIVD and MIVD have been allowed to enter our computers, copy our data, crack our codes without prior permission from the justice department.

The big irony of course is that we are happily allowing our governments to give up our private liberty in order to protect public liberty, at least that’s what they claim. We should not be surprised. Already in 1999 Scott McNealy said consumer privacy issues are a “red herring”. “You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it”

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About Pim Bilderbeek