It has already been three months since NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden, stunned the whole world with information leakage regarding NSA phone and Internet surveillance programs. Since then, people have been arguing nonstop and contemplating on the issue but where have these put us, so far?
People must stop arguing about the issue of privacy v. security – which isn’t getting us anywhere – and instead focus on another, slightly overlooked, factor in this equation: ourselves.
In this ridiculously overwhelming information-ran world of today, information-trading is the name of the game. Francis Bacon was right. Knowledge is, indeed, power and whoever holds the most knowledge holds the most power. Surely, our intelligence agencies are at the heart of it. But maybe we played along ourselves.
The 9/11 tragedy was enough to put everyone in a state of paranoia which may have paved the way for these privacy-for-security trade-offs into our lives. Twelve years later, these little trade-offs have blown full scale right under our noses and have blinded us with promises of security. Little did we know that perhaps our “yes’s” to little things such as “this website would like to access your personal information” or “Facebook would like to access your profile”, or even a simple subscription to alarm monitoring services and such, etc. were already initiations into how our current world operates. Bit by bit, we were being molded to embrace information-trading as a normal part of our daily lives.
People nowadays have gotten used to giving off information to gain access to more information. It’s been deeply embedded in our society that everyone’s doing it, just not as large and impacting a scale as what NSA, CIA, etc. are doing. Maybe this is why we’ve neither gone silent nor aggressive on the matter. The truth is, as infuriating as this is, we’re still groping around something we’re not entirely sure about. Of course we’re enraged by the total invasion of our privacy but maybe, we’re partly to blame for it. Maybe we let it happen somehow.
We all know the probabilities of it happening. We’ve seen it in movies, in news articles, and so on. And now that we’re faced with actual evidence, we’re left dumbfounded and in a state of panic and pin-pointing.
Under the Lens
This is not to say we are letting the government or intelligence agencies working on these secretive privacy-invasion operations off the hook. They are supposedly the ones running this country, ensuring the safety of the public. Recently, however, we’re finding that perhaps the means by which we are protected may be the very thing we need protection from.
Recent events urge us to suspect that perhaps the intelligence agencies are the real shot-callers and the president, just a face of the government. What’s really being protected here are not the people’s interests, but the people behind the government and their interests at large.
The nation is being policed by a handful of people who are always on-guard for any possible naysayer. Everyone is put under the magnifying lens and is up for interrogation when the need arises. In truth, however, we are all guilty of the same thing. We’re already willingly divulging personal information every day, just not aware of up to what extent it is actually being used. We consume information, even others’ personal information, for our own purposes. In a way, we keep track of each other, putting everyone under our own lenses. The noteworthy difference between us and the higher-ups is the level of willingness and scale of impact each holds. Not to mention, the availability of actual consent.
Call for Action
The world has gone upside down. Everyone is presumed guilty until proven innocent. Who else can be trusted? Clearly the government is implying we cannot be trusted. If our own government cannot trust us, why must we trust them?
It’s time to take a stand. No more accepting this as simply a means to their proposed end. Otherwise, they will continue to sacrifice every ounce of our privacy for our supposed security.
Circumstances affect people’s perceptions. Due to how our world operates today, we’ve learned to engage in seemingly harmless trade-offs. Apparently, we’ve been giving up more than what we originally bargained for and we’ve been doing so ever since. Clearly, if there is one thing that must change first, it is our mindset. How we approach and handle this issue depends on our knowledge and ability to grasp what is really in question and what is at stake. Changing how we think will affect how we act later on.