When I compared President Obama to James Bond and their two beloved Moneypennies in a recent post, I was half-kidding. But isn't it a coincidence that the title of his latest West Wing Week propaganda video is called "Nobody Does It Better" -- the theme song of The Spy Who Loved Me? Check it out. It's just as overblown and satiric as the typical 007 movie. Every time the camera pans to the White House press corps, for example, they're frantically transcribing every golden Obamian word on their steno pads. There are multiple shots of Obama in such an exalted state of being that the videographer had to have been groveling at the president's feet in order to capture all those precious moments:
|Official White House Propaganda Photo|
And speaking of the dark side, now comes word that Obama wants to force social media and internet service providers to make it easier for his domestic goons to eavesdrop on the internet communications of every man, woman and child in the USA, the world, the universe, and points beyond. After all, the American Empire needs literally tons more data to fill the vast empty spaces of the newly-constructed super-secret Orwellian storage facility in Utah. (check out this site if you prefer your dystopia with a side of parody.)
According to yesterday's New York Times, the president is finally "on the verge" of submitting to the seductive FBI, which is apparently growing tired of the same old, same old-fashioned wiretapping. Those land lines are going the way of the dinosaur (or the faithful but aging first wife) . The much sexier Facebook, Twitter, Skype and the like are ripe for predatory Bondian picking.
It's not that the FBI doesn't already record our conversations, spying at will and without a warrant. It just figures it could use some of that good old retroactive cover from the executive branch. But the creepy part is that Obama is considering actually punishing large service providers if they, unlike him, do not swoon at the chance to act out Peeping-Tom fantasies and become full partners in government crime:
While the F.B.I.’s original proposal would have required Internet communications services to each build in a wiretapping capacity, the revised one, which must now be reviewed by the White House, focuses on fining companies that do not comply with wiretap orders. The difference, officials say, means that start-ups with a small number of users would have fewer worries about wiretapping issues unless the companies became popular enough to come to the Justice Department’s attention.
Still, the plan is likely to set off a debate over the future of the Internet if the White House submits it to Congress, according to lawyers for technology companies and advocates of Internet privacy and freedom.
Under the new proposal, providers could be ordered to comply, and judges could impose fines if they did not. The shift in thinking toward the judicial fines was first reported by The Washington Post, and additional details were described to The New York Times by several officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Under the proposal, officials said, for a company to be eligible for the strictest deadlines and fines — starting at $25,000 a day — it must first have been put on notice that it needed surveillance capabilities, triggering a 30-day period to consult with the government on any technical problems.
Such notice could be the receipt of its first wiretap order or a warning from the attorney general that it might receive a surveillance request in the future, officials said, arguing that most small start-ups would never receive either.As Philip Bump of The Atlantic points out, the White House proposal does not take into account that those small, temporary or start-up service providers with few users could easily bypass the new rules for allowing back-door i-Spying:
Which brings us to the most obvious way for terrorists or drug dealers or law-breakers or, yes, privacy puritans to avoid the FBI's proposed wiretapping ability: if you want to reduce the likelihood that your communications will be observed, check out what will hereafter be known as "burner" companies — new shops that enable the sort of communications you want to do but are unlikely to have enough users that one draws the attention of the FBI. Become a TechCrunch afficianado! When a company announces it's "a new way to connect people," that's your best bet, as long as it doesn't become too popular. (The "burner" analogy to cheap cell phones — you've seen The Wire, right? — is flawed, of course; that would be more like creating new Facebook accounts to send messages for a day or so.)
And, in keeping with the theme of government of, by and for the plutocracy, the new rules will also make it easier for corporations to use the backdoor technology to hack into our private communications. One more reason not to use Facebook. And forget about Twitter. Whoever doesn't already realize that your every Tweet is out there for public consumption is a twit. Even deleted Tweets linger in cyberspace forever.
The FBI doesn't even need a back door when most of our lives are already an open book. Nobody Does It Better. The Homeland Security state is De Best!
We weren't looking, but somehow they found us. We tried to hide from their love light. But like Heaven above us, the spies who loved us are keeping all our secrets safe tonight.