I think we’re asking the wrong questions on the NSA whistleblowing.

Forgive me dear readers – but I’m at TED in Edinburgh, so this is going to be more a “quick note” than I’d like it to be…

But — I fear we’re looking at the wrong question on this whole NSA whistle-blowing thing. I’d like to propose a few I think we should be asking.

Why are we so concerned with the government mining the data that we are already giving Google Facebook, etc.? Are we not as concerned with Google and Facebook mining our data? Why not? Is commerce and behavioral “nudging” not as concerning as security?

And why aren’t we addressing the fact that the whistleblower worked for a contractor to the government? In other words, why aren’t we discussing how NON-GOVERNMENTAL employees are performing this mining. I could also ask why we’re comfortable letting non-governmental people fight our wars, man our security, and run our prisons — but I’ll leave that for a future rant.

In fact, in general, why aren’t we asking whether the free market should be performing the tasks that (in my opinion) we SHOULD be asking the government to provide?

And finally…why is it we don’t seem to realize we’re asking for the impossible. Blaming the government when something slips through the security cracks, but complaining when they actually try to do something about it?

Let me clear. This is not an easy topic. I’m uncomfortable that my records are being accessed, and that the world we live in has so many gray areas.

I’m just more uncomfortable that we’re not having the richer, deeper debate about the larger context this plays into.

Your thoughts?


One thought on “I think we’re asking the wrong questions on the NSA whistleblowing.

  1. Well, Google and FB bury in their terms of service (which no one reads) that they can use your data yadda yadda yadda. And the services are voluntary, so if you want to go off the grid, just stop using thier services. But at least they have told you they may use your data for purposes other than what you intended.

    The government on the other hand made no such information available to the public, which is much more disconcerting. Only after this became public knowledge did the administration say they were willing to have an open debate on the subject at the same time saying that certain civil liberties would have to be compromised in the name of security. Well, we are only having an open debate on this since Snowden told the Guardian about what happened. We have secret courts giving the intelligence community carte blanche to do whatever theywant, to whoever they want, in the name of national security. I don’t think this is what the Founders imagined.

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