Thursday, 1 August 2013

Rising Supervillainy vs. Sousveillance

The recent revelations on X-Keyscore come at a time when the English speaking world is putting the final nails in the coffin of individual rights, the basis of civil society. While the latest surveillance system raises more questions as to the nature of its implementation and infrastructure, its existence is proof of the absolute contempt for citizens' rights that the "Free World" once prided itself on.

This is not an isolated trend. From the US to even New Zealand, politicians are eager to justify increasingly unpopular spying. Part of me wonders if the rush of these bills are not intended for future implementation, but rather post-hoc justification for questionable activities that have been going on for some time. Given the communication between the 'Five Eyes' intelligence agencies (especially in the post-9/11 chaos),  this may not be totally out of the question.

However, an interesting dynamic remains. What if the public were given access directly to these tools? Not merely knowledge of their existence (as Snowden and other whistleblowers had provided), but allowed to view politicians and their own requests/demands for information? Imagine a bill allowing public recognition of an administration's information demands, requests, and the like disclosed after they leave office. Of course, the statue of legal limitations regarding certain crimes would definitely be a point of contention. The surveillance infrastructure exists (and can break common types of encryption), so why not allow taxpayers to turn it against the would be kleptocrats that currently control it?

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