(This theory of course presupposes that actual humans will attempt to read and analyze the computerized output generated by their complex algorithms. If it's all automated with no human oversight at all, then we are definitely screwed. All the science fiction novels you ever read will come to life. I have visions of HAL 900 taking over that remote Utah data mining site they're building, and running amok).
So much dumpster diving by FBI and NSA agents. So many billions of emails with so many combinations of suspicious words to wade through. So many complicated algorithms and terabytes. So many sales receipts from Walmart, reams of photographs of people taking photographs of people taking photographs. Let's face it: there is an immense but finite number of people with security clearance working for the Surveillance State. Nobody knows the true number -- although Dana Priest of The Washington Post put it at about the entire population of Washington, DC a few years ago in her Pulitzer Prize winning series. It has probably at least doubled since then.
Nobody, writes Priest, has ever mapped the entire secret labyrinth of the massive security apparatus. Nobody, not even the Defense Secretary or the president, can tell you the names of all its of its many subterranean subsidiaries and private subcontractors. Nobody knows how much money is being poured down its maw, because so much of the funding is top secret and there is probably a lot of laundered money to finance whatever the hell it is doing. The Security State is an entity unto itself with a life of its own. It is way beyond any one person's control.
And now Eric Holder says the behemoth needs more time to go through all the piles of what is likely utterly useless information. The reason he will not comply with Freedom of Information and Congressional requests on the actual workings of the Patriot Act is probably not so much that the information on state secrets is classified and sensitive, but because it will reveal ineptitude and paranoid pettiness on such an staggering scale that even the people who haven't been paying attention will start paying attention.
Senator Ron Wyden stood up last week and announced that if we only knew what our government is doing to our privacy, we'd be alarmed. He also might have meant we'd be appalled to learn that the Homeland has employed a confederacy of dunces to spy on us. And the irony is he can't reveal the unconstitutional machinations of the Secret Government and the Secret Patriot Act and the Secret Court because by doing so, he would be breaking his oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. I love it when politicians use the Constitution as a human shield and then proceed to shred it to bits when we're not looking.
This, remember, is the same politician who is partnering with Paul Ryan to voucherize Medicare. So I am not really expecting him to go all Serpico and do the courageous thing and spill the beans on government malefactors. Although, wouldn't it be a treat to watch President Obama and Henchman Holder prosecute a United States Senator as a whistleblower under the Espionage Act? Not happening. All Wyden can do is passive aggression. "I know something you don't know. Na na na na na na!"
So what is a spied-upon citizen to do? Well, we can always turn the tables on them and do some spying ourselves. ProPublica has a great tool, for example, for regular people to help expose the secrecy of Citizens United -- the Supreme Court decision that enables rich elites and corporations to give unlimited anonymous money to candidates. The website says their invention has the potential to uncover illegal relationships between the politicians and the SuperPacs, which are supposedly independent entities unconnected with the campaigns. But come on. We know they've got their grasping tentacles wrapped so far around one another that they are truly one and the same corrupt corpus.
Take lots of photos, everywhere and anywhere. Copy and paste all seven volumes of Remembrance of Things Past and email them to 100 friends. Start a dozen blogs and fill them with polysyllabic words the goons won't understand, like polysyllabic. Write a lot of comments in New York Times message boards (monitored by Homeland Security) and relentlessly make fun of the government while doing so. Use your imagination.
Back in the 60s and into the 70s, paranoid President Richard Nixon began a totally illegal CIA spying campaign against muckraking journalist Jack Anderson. Anderson got wise to it, and fought back with the help of his gaggle of children and assistants. Whenever they caught a goon in sunglasses taking pictures they snapped pictures right back. Anderson planted joke booby traps in his garbage cans to disgust the agents. If he was being tailed, he turned his car around and chased the tailers. On one occasion his kids managed to block off an entire motorcade of agents on their street and then proceeded to take their pictures. Nixon called off the pursuit only when Watergate seized his undivided attention.
Of course, those were the simpler, pre-Internet, pre-terror days. Richard Nixon was booted out of office, but he bequeathed his paranoia to most of his successors. President Obama, well on his way to becoming more Nixonian than Nixon, has the luxury of conducting his own operations behind the craven secrecy of a computer screen. We just never know when his clones are looking over our shoulders. So we might as well make their lives more confused than they already are, and maybe amuse them and ourselves at the same time.
Remember: the reading levels of Americans continue to plummet. Most high schoolers score only at fourth or fifth grade levels. Even the reading proficiency of college graduates rapidly deteriorates in later life, because hardly anyone reads any more. The government is being very foolish in its systematic destruction of public schools in order to enrich the profiteers of private education. Without an educated surveillance force of the future, pouring billions into imperialism and domestic spying now is just pouring money into an infinite black hole. Even another century of pathological information mining and hoarding will not make a difference if the average spy can only read at a fourth grade level. Algorithms do not translate into human intelligence. Computers can't compensate for epidemic ignorance. OMG, WTF, LOL.
|Big Brother's Opulent Resort|