State surveillance has been going on for more than 150 years. However, eavesdropping – that is, in the sense of listening in on someone’s conversation – is a certainly ancient practice indeed.
That’s why for those who have been paying attention, especially in the 21st century – a century of change – the revelations brought forth this week by an NSA contractor are a yawn.
In fact, anyone familiar with Will Smith is familiar with NSA practices:
Moreover, this morning, the Obama Administration’s Chief of Staff, Denis McDonough, maintained that it did not believe it had violated the privacy of any US citizen in light of recent revelations.
As The Washington Post writes:
Having entered office in 2009 “pretty skeptical” about the importance and reach of federal surveillance programs, Mr. Obama “changed many things,” and in 2009 and 2011 presented a “classified white paper” of the programs to all 535 U.S. lawmakers, so “at the end of the day,” McDonough continued, “it was bipartisan majorities that enacted these.” McDonough also pointed to oversight of the programs by the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Court, as well as independent audits.
So, the NSA programs have already been voted into law, and the goal posts of privacy have been moved by those on top.
Today, we live data-filled lives. Data has become that for which we thirst before cogitation. It’s like what food is to bowel movements in the modern age. No longer do we ask ourselves, “What do you think?” or “Is this a good idea?” Instead, we ask “What do the data show?”
And so, we live in an increasingly transparent society, wherein all of our actions are scrutinized. Indeed, on many social platforms, such as Facebook, our daily behaviors can be seen by those with access to even our front-end profiles.
The same is true for government and other institutions, like banks. In order for these institutions to continue operating in a world of big-data, they will need technologies like Bitcoin in order to operate as they have heretofore and with less concern for being caught than would otherwise be so.
Even in the case of Edward Snowden. If the NSA paid this contractor in Bitcoin, the NSA could take effective means to distorting the relationship between controllers of Bitcoin wallets, and possibly convince a court of law that the NSA has plausible deniability as to ever having a relationship of any sort with Snowden.
This is excellent cause for the US government to turn to a more pragmatic approach in regards to Bitcoin. One that, say, is more inline with what the Canadian government has decided for now. The NSA needs Bitcoin. There is no excuse for denial.