I’m going to open with a quote from a very important Guardian article published this morning entitled ‘Privacy under attack: the NSA files revealed new threats to democracy.’

“The power of that Roman empire rested in its leaders’ control of communications. The Mediterranean was their lake. Across their European empire, from Scotland to Syria, they pushed roads that 15 centuries later were still primary arteries of European transportation. Down those roads the emperor marched his armies. Up those roads he gathered his intelligence. The emperors invented the posts to move couriers and messages at the fastest possible speed.”

I don’t know how much you have been following the Edward Snowden case but it was this British paper, the Guardian, that had the courage to ‘out’ Mr. Snowden so many months ago. This recent article suggests that there is much (much) more to the attack on our privacy than just those coming from the likes of the NSA.

The article says, “The situation at Facebook is different. Facebook is strip-mining human society. Watching everyone share everything in their social lives and instrumenting the web to surveil everything they read outside the system is inherently unethical.”

And, “What the US data-mining companies basically believed, or wanted us to believe they believed until Snowden woke them, was that by complicity they had gained immunity from actual thievery. But we have now learned their complicity bought them nothing. They sold us out halfway, and government stole the rest.”

The article goes on to say what in fact defines privacy – “Our concept of “privacy” combines three things: first is secrecy, or our ability to keep the content of our messages known only to those we intend to receive them. Second is anonymity, or secrecy about who is sending and receiving messages, where the content of the messages may not be secret at all. It is very important that anonymity is an interest we can have both in our publishing and in our reading. Third is autonomy, or our ability to make our own life decisions free from any force that has violated our secrecy or our anonymity. These three – secrecy, anonymity and autonomy – are the principal components of a mixture we call “privacy”.

I urge each and everyone of you to read this article. It is deep and comprehensive (not too mention quite long). It is without a doubt one of the most sobering things that I have ever read. It hits you in the gut, hard, like in a ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ kind of way.

But thankfully the article offers hope – ”

“We face two claims – you meet them everywhere you turn – that summarise the politics against which we are working. One argument says: “It’s hopeless, privacy is gone, why struggle?” The other says: “I’m not doing anything wrong, why should I care?”

These are actually the most significant forms of opposition that we face in doing what we know we ought to do.

In the first place, our struggle to retain our privacy is far from hopeless. Snowden has described to us what armour still works. His purpose was to distinguish between those forms of network communication that are hopelessly corrupted and no longer usable, those that are endangered by a continuing assault on the part of an agency gone rogue, and those that, even with their vast power, all their wealth, and all their misplaced ambition, conscientiousness and effort, they still cannot break.

Hopelessness is merely the condition they want you to catch, not one you have to have.

So far as the other argument is concerned, we owe it to ourselves to be quite clear in response: “If we are not doing anything wrong, then we have a right to resist.”

Edmund Burke once famously said that “All that is necessary for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing.”

PS – I am crossing back into the US in July to renew my Mexican visa and I will say it here and now that I am fearful. I am fearful that some of these posts that I have been publishing that have been critical concerning issues like our nation’s stance on foreign policy, the way in which our borders and airports are policed could possibly put me in harms way. In fact I am way more fearful of the TSA than I am of some of my present neighbors here in Mexico, namely the narco-cartels. ‘To me, ‘to serve and protect’ has become both fraudulent and hypocritical.

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