Today the United States celebrates Independence Day. We celebrate our freedom by exploding small dangerous things with our kids — there is no better holiday.
This year feels a bit bittersweet to me.
I don’t blame the NSA, CIA, or any of the government contractors for the massive privacy invasions revealed through Edward Snowden — in my opinion these agencies were doing their jobs and operating inside the law — or so they are/were told by those that hired them (the ones that make the law). That’s not criminal in my book.
Lying in front of Congress is a different story, but the directors of these agencies are politicians installed by the White House — they aren’t the people following orders of the powers that be, slaving to protect a nation they so very much believe in.
I blame the politicians. I blame Congress for not investigating when they should have. I blame President Obama for not living up to the message that he sold the country on when he ran and won the election. These are tough problems, but the way that these problems were handled are the way that a parent handles a small child. “We know better, it’s not open for debate or discussion, go back to playing with your friends.”
Of course we put these people in power, and I still believe they did a good job making this program in the image of Internet users.
It’s hard to think that today we celebrate freedom, when we now know:
- Our emails are being tracked, traced, trapped, and recorded by our own government and shared with foreign governments.
- Ditto our text messages, phone calls, etc…
- We will get scrutinized more if we try to be more private by using readily available methods to protect ourselves from our governments spying on us.
- Our snail mail is even being monitored and copied.
- Cellular carriers and mobile OS makers our making money off of us by selling our data.
We may, yet again, need to fight for our freedoms that we won long ago. This time we aren’t trying to wrest control from foreign rulers, we are trying to right our own ship, we won’t need guns, but we will need sharp tongues.
For now, I’m going to go shoot off a cannon, and get dangerously close to dubiously made “entertainment explosives”.