NSA/ stay night

While the House of Representatives narrowly defeated (217-205) a measure to challenge the NSA’a massive surveillance program, the Senate has passed a proposal to sanction nations that might offer help to whistleblower Edward Snowden.

On July 10th, a Quinnipiac poll showed that 55% of Americans accepted Snowden as a whistleblower, while 34% saw him as a traitor. Two weeks later an ABC/Washington Post poll showed that 53% thought Snowden should be charged as a traitor while only 36% disagreed.

This should not be a surprise. Most of the mainstream press and much of the new mainstream blogosphere have led an attack on Snowden as a talented magus gone rogue, and a defense of the NSA as heroic spirits of the global empire. It appears to be the nature of established journos and politicos to defend an illusory status quo in which the courts are independent, corporations are benevolent, democracy works, and the worst enemies are on the other side of the aisle.

The Guardian differs in, Edward Snowden’s not the story. The fate of the internet is:

In a way, it doesn’t matter why the media lost the scent. What matters is that they did. So as a public service, let us summarise what Snowden has achieved thus far.

Without him, we would not know how the National Security Agency (NSA) had been able to access the emails, Facebook accounts and videos of citizens across the world; or how it had secretly acquired the phone records of millions of Americans; or how, through a secret court, it has been able to bend nine US internet companies to its demands for access to their users’ data. …

… here are some of the things we should be thinking about as a result of what we have learned so far.

The first is that the days of the internet as a truly global network are numbered. … Balkanisation is a certainty.

Second, … the idea that the western powers can be allowed to continue to control it has become untenable.

Third, … the Obama administration’s “internet freedom agenda” has been exposed as patronising cant.

… no US-based internet company can be trusted to protect our privacy or data. The fact is that Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft are all integral components of the US cyber-surveillance system. …

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