|Attack innocent students? You get unemployment. Darn.|
Have they brought us security? Not only do I doubt it (e.g., Boston bombings could occur 10x a day if people were angry) but I also think that the overt efforts have weakened security (e.g.., the pathetic incompetence and waste of the TSA, the horrors of a useless war in Afghanistan, and the total disaster of the gratuitous "liberation" of Iraq).
But, wait... isn't this a price worth paying -- a price for security -- for those of us with nothing to hide?
I'd say no; Orwell would say no; Stalin would know no, but here's the reality in a police state:
(1) The purpose of this surveillance from the governmen'ts point of view is to control enemies of the state. Not terrorists. People who are coalescing around ideas that would destabilize the status quo. These could be religious ideas. These could be groups like anon who are too good with tech for the governments liking. It makes it very easy to know who these people are. It also makes it very simple to control these people.I think it's high time that the US "defense" and "security" (oxymorons) complexes be downsized as
Lets say you are a college student and you get in with some people who want to stop farming practices that hurt animals. So you make a plan and go to protest these practices. You get there, and wow, the protest is huge. You never expected this, you were just goofing off. Well now everyone who was there is suspect. Even though you technically had the right to protest, you're now considered a dangerous person.
With this tech in place, the government doesn't have to put you in jail. They can do something more sinister. They can just email you a sexy picture you took with a girlfriend. Or they can email you a note saying that they can prove your dad is cheating on his taxes. Or they can threaten to get your dad fired. All you have to do, the email says, is help them catch your friends in the group. You have to report back every week, or you dad might lose his job. So you do. You turn in your friends and even though they try to keep meetings off grid, you're reporting on them to protect your dad.
(2) Let's say (1) goes on. The country is a weird place now. Really weird. Pretty soon, a movement springs up like occupy, except its bigger this time. People are really serious, and they are saying they want a government without this power. I guess people are realizing that it is a serious deal. You see on the news that tear gas was fired. Your friend calls you, frantic. They're shooting people. Oh my god. you never signed up for this. You say, fuck it. My dad might lose his job but I won't be responsible for anyone dying. That's going too far. You refuse to report anymore. You just stop going to meetings. You stay at home, and try not to watch the news. Three days later, police come to your door and arrest you.
Bottom Line: Now I have another reason to choose Canada over the US. Pathetic.
* NB: I wrote this before Snowden came out as the whistleblower