What it comes down to, in the end, is: “Trust us.” And the trouble with that is that in recent decades our political elites have done precious little to deserve our trust. Now we’re being asked to suspend our disbelief as they eavesdrop on all of our online activities – to trust them, in a way, with the most intimate details of our social and private lives. And all on the basis of laws that they – or their security apparatuses – wrote in order to rationalize and legitimize their snooping.
– John Naughton
From The Guardian, about the revelation that its Government Communications Center (GCHQ) has been eavesdropping on citizens for years through its own clandestine surveillance program called “Tempora”. It has also been collecting data gathered from the US PRISM program since 2010.
What we’re witnessing is the metamorphosis of our democracies into national security states in which the prerogatives of security authorities trump every other consideration and in which critical or sceptical appraisal of them is ruled out of court.
China is laughing its collective head off right now, basking in what is surely the most biting example of Western hypocrisy in years. We have publicly shamed China for years over its lack of respect for liberty and justice, but when our wildly unrestricted surveillance programs are unearthed by people like Julian Assange and Edward Snowden, we look like fools who stand for nothing.
If Edward Snowden was Chinese and worked for the Chinese National Security Agency, Obama probably would already have had him to dinner at the White House and nominated him for the next Nobel Peace Prize.
– Chinese netizen
Reveal the dark secrets of a political adversary and become a hero. Reveal the dark secrets of your own country and be vilified forever.