Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

The product of the government’s knowledge of your activities and your knowledge of the government’s activities is constant

with 2 comments

As governments become more invasive, subjecting their citizens to universal surveillance (email, phone calls, CCTV, and other ways of scooping up essentially all information, breaking encryption, hacking into computers, and so on), they also become more secretive, classifying everything and hiding what they are doing so that citizens do not know. It creates a great inequality of information: the government starts to know everything about you as you are able to know less and less about the government. For example, two recent reports in McClatchy:

US sets new record for denying, censoring government files

White House is again refusing transparency, groups charge

And this, in the National Journal: FBI’s Plan to Expand Hacking Power Advances Despite Privacy Fears

Add to that the many ways that NSA has been secretly spying on us, as well as on our allies and our enemies—as revealed by Edward Snowden—and the way the Obama Administration viciously persecutes any whistleblower who informs the public of what the government is doing (well, except for David Petraeus).

It’s obvious that this process is well underway in the US. And the secrecy is not just about what they learn about you, but also about agreements they are making that will greatly affect your life and future. For example, take the demand from Obama that we buy a pig in a poke in the TPP trade agreement. Democracy Now! has a good video report, with transcript. Their blurb:

Congressional Democrats are openly criticizing the secrecy surrounding the negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), just as President Obama begins a major push to pass the controversial deal. The United States is engaged in talks with 11 Latin American and Asian countries for the sweeping trade pact that would cover 40 percent of the global economy. But its provisions have mostly been kept secret. After the White House deemed a briefing on the trade pact “classified,” Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut called the measures “needlessly secretive,” saying: “If the TPP would be as good for American jobs as they claim, there should be nothing to hide.” This comes as Obama recently called on Congress to pass “fast track” legislation to streamline the passage of trade deals through Congress. Meanwhile, theAFLCIO says it will withhold contributions to congressional Democrats to pressure them to vote no on fast-track authority. And some tea party-backed Republicans are saying Obama cannot be trusted with the same negotiating authority that past presidents have had. This spring, the White House has invited Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to address a joint session of Congress in which he may promote the TPP. For more, we speak with by Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, who has been sounding the alarm about the negotiations. She says Congress could vote on the TPP proposal in the third week in April.

UPDATE: Original title changed because it was wrong: what I wanted to show was the teeter-totter effect: as the government increased its knowledge about you (by spying on you and what you say and write and read and buy and keeping track of whom you associate with and communicate with), it correspondingly shuts down your access to knowledge about what it is doing. The product is constant in that the increase is spying is matched by a decrease in transparency.

Written by LeisureGuy

19 March 2015 at 12:56 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Doesn’t that effectively neutralize the FOIA? “It is OK if we do this because we are doing it for your own good, to protect the public” has been used by countless totalitarian regimes to justify oppressive behavior and dodge accountability. That our own government, one created to guarantee freedom and individual rights, is doing this is all the more troubling. One of my coworkers recently stated that the United States is now more Communist than his native China, and there is some truth to that.

    How ironic the government gives itself permission to spy on us till the cows come home, but threatens those who post innocuous drone videos on YouTube. ( Ref. )

    Good for you, Leisureguy, for standing up for truth and freedom!


    19 March 2015 at 1:18 pm

  2. Reblogged this on Citizens, not serfs.


    19 March 2015 at 2:08 pm

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