Posts Tagged ‘Edward Snowden’

So, after taking a little time off to move mi familia to our dream home in the mountains, I decided not to make any commentary on the latest government scandal and alleged violation of our collective civil rights until I was back at my little hovel and I could spend a little time gauging the sentiment on the matter.  It seem that Ed Snowden is doing what he can to keep his name in the media spotlight and all the back room Constitutional scholars are helping him right along.

So, just a little summary of events before I go on.  Ed Snowden, a CONTRACTOR of dubious distinction decides one day that he allegedly cannot live with what he believes to be a violation of our collective civil rights due to a government program called Prism that sucks in everything electronic floating out in the ether and the American government can see it and use it against you.  Snowden was labeled a “whistle blower” as he high-tailed it out to good old Hong Kong and begins to spill secrets to the press.  Along the way he praises traitorous Army Private Bradley Manning for his Wiki Leaks actions and seems to have some trouble verifying his own personal bona fides.

Along the way we have been inundated with the usual rallying behind the Constitution and 250 year old quotes from people for whom terms such as Internet Protocol, cellular device, Verizon, AT&T, NSA, CIA, DIA, DHS and a thousand other terms were in no way part of their lexicon.  These gladiators of Constitutional defense are quick to quote the many white guys in power who wrote the document that serves as the core of our Republic all the while espousing the fall of our Democracy when they are too stupid to realize we do not, and we have never lived in one.  We live in a Constitutional Republic which uses the Democratic process to choose our leaders.

Snowden, praised as a “whistle blower” is no where near close to the dignity that term deserves.  He is a cowardly traitor pure and simple.  A whistle blower is one who stands their ground to right a wrong, an institutional deficiency.  They stay where they are and bring to light the wrongs and help others to face the wrongs that have been perpetrated against them.  They, despite the obstacles in front of them and the harm it may cause them, do not run to the land of one of our international rivals and begin to share the secrets they swore to protect.  Hong Kong, by the way, is a semi-autonomous free trade zone in China, a country that has been proven over and over again in the last five years to be behind numerous state sanctioned cyber attacks in our borders over the last five years.  Snowden is not so noble to be a whistle blower, he is a traitor pure and simple.

Why is he a traitor and not a spy?  If he were a spy then at least he would be doing his damage on behalf of a country.  This would be disappointing and hurtful, but at least there is some sort of ideology behind that.  He is a traitor because he worked himself into a position in which he was entrusted with a certain amount of secrets and the responsibility that encompasses.  He willfully violated that trust and ran because as he alleges he was too scared of going to jail for what he believed to be wrong.  It is cowardly, weak, and undermines the good works that are done by others in similar positions who have more integrity and legitimately do so with the best interests of the country in mind.

So, after all the yapping this shit bird has done over the last week and a half, I am still not sure what this uber-program does that the loudmouths are complaining is violating my privacy and yours.  What I do know is that the majority of us have willfully given up our privacy on many fronts and have been doing so for quite a few years now.  Don’t believe me then let me list the ways that we fail to add personal protection to our electronic media on a daily basis:

1. Social Media – take a look at your privacy settings on your favorite social media application.  Dig a little deeper on to your news feed and look at all the pertinent information that can be mined from your friends based on their posting: location information, time, family members and friends tagged in photos, their friends, your opinions, likes, hobbies, possibly phone numbers.  All sorts of information that can be gleaned and used to “social engineer” a friendship with you that can be used for nefarious purposes.

2. Cell/Smartphones – everyone loves their Android or I phone, yet they never question all the information that is being sent back to the manufacturers and service providers that you know absolutely nothing about.  GPS information, contacts, numbers called/received, do you back-up to the cloud or save your information on your own computer? Try to use your phone internationally and see how many spam texts you get carrying malicious code in them.  Register on a foreign carriers network and complain to them when they turn over to their law enforcement the fact that a US phone has registered on the network and where it is located.  Try and argue privacy in some European countries, I dare you.

3. Digital Images – down load one of the many free exif viewers out there on the web, drop a photo from your phone or digital camera and take a gander at the amount of information contained in that photo that has nothing to do with the selfie of your jiggly bits in the bathroom mirror.  That is what your spouse’s divorce attorney is going to have done when you try to tell them that photo was for them and you were not meeting your little piece on the side.

4.  Social Media (again) – pull up your favorite search engine and do a search for some products that you would never look for normally.  Go back to your Facebook page take a look at the right side of your feed and tell me what kind of advertisements you see.  In just a very short while, you will see ads for some of those very same goods and services you were just Googling.  Magic?  I think not, do a little search on Smart DNS and see what you find.

So why all this publicly searchable information?  Because there is nothing noble or good about running away to a country that will most likely be an enemy of our in some way, shape or form in the future; at a minimum they will be an adversary to be wary of, actually, they already are.  Because we willfully and gladly give up our privacy each and every day to keep our tweets tweeting and our “selfies” stored in the public domain for all eternity.  At worst the big GOV is doing nothing more than anyone of us can do with a bunch of freeware and time.  The difference being we as individuals are innately more prone to do so with nefarious intent and I would like to think that if the GOV is doing it they are doing so with the intent of keeping us safe.  Do I like the fact that Uncle can take a peak at what my porn watching habits are? No.  But it is a little more palatable for me knowing that I am one of many people who puts their information out in the public domain, willingly so even though I try and take a little more precaution that the average user.  When it comes to Uncle, it is damned if you do, damned if you don’t.  If the possibility is there and they do not do it and there is another horrific attack like 9/11 then there will be public crucifixions on a biblical scale.  If there is never another attack like that again they will get crucified for violating a privacy that we willingly violate on our own anyway.