I’ve had difficulty managing to put my reaction to the whole PRISM/NSA surveillance thing into thought. Not words, notice, but thought. I’m not even sure how to begin thinking about it. My gut instinct is that it’s wrong and unpleasant and morally reprehensible, but when I try to think about why, I can’t get anywhere. When I try to defend it or understand the reasoning, I still can’t get anywhere. I keep trying to be surprised and I can’t quite manage it. I mean, how many times have you joked with a friend saying ‘that google search got me on a government list somewhere for sure!’ etc? In a way, we already accepted that surveillance was going on, if only in a ‘flagged keyword’ sort of way.
The only way I managed to get a grasp on it, in the end, was to try to imagine how I’d feel if I learnt my records had been pulled, or that there was a worker somewhere assigned to following my every online move.
I’d feel almost physically violated. Everyone has things they do alone they wouldn’t do in any sort of company. It’s just the way human nature works. Everything is split into ‘us’ and ‘them’. Or, eventually, on the most basic of levels, ‘me’ and ‘everyone else’. The internet is ‘me’. My web history reflects my thought process, or my obsessions, my interests and my thoughts, feelings. My social media presence is who I am. My friends, my interactions. My personal communications with my friends via instant messenging.
Basically, it’s part of that intensely personal ‘me’ time everybody needs to stay entirely sane. The very concept of someone thinking about invading that makes me feel like I need a wash.
Although… I’m also sadly aware that there is nothing really new. All those ‘private’ instant messages? Facebook can access them. My web browsing history? An open book to my ISP. Even the ‘flagged keyword’ system everyone jokes about. The NSA surveillance is nothing new, it’s just that now we’re completely aware of it. And it seems almost unfairly easy. They don’t even have to try. We’ve handed it all to them. It’s all ready sitting on various databases, all they’re doing is putting it all together in theirs.
So yeah. Everyone has this vague feeling of unease about it, like they should be hugely pissed but can’t quite work out just why. So William Hague can access every facet of our lives. So we weren’t told about it.
So we were, hilariously, all up in arms preparing to fight a ‘snoopers charter’. How entirely silly do we all feel about that now, eh?
According to various governments, we have sacrificed privacy for security. Is it wrong that I can’t fully comprehend why I should give a shit about the loss of either? What does that say about society?
This was supposed to help me properly realise my thoughts on the matter. Instead it’s kind of gone in a circle. Guess I’ll call it a bad job, then.