Snowden’s Mission

Data encryption is our only defense against the prying eyes

Before you go out and purchase Edward Snowden’s ‘Permanent Record’, consider the fact that by doing so, you are attracting even more unwanted attention to yourself.  The powerful forces that Snowden once worked for as a CIA employee and NSA subcontractor can (and will) draw conclusions from your queries, downloads and purchases, analyzing them, or more accurately, “manipulating” them (in Snowden’s words) so that they can predict behaviors to come.  If that sounds as farfetched as any scenario in some distant, fictional future where law enforcement preemptively strikes criminals before they even commit crimes, Snowden can confirm the future is here.  While millions of rapt viewers are Keeping Up with the Kardashians, thousands of equally voyeuristic private contractors are Keeping up with You.

The rewards that come with reading Snowden’s long-awaited and revelatory memoir come at a cost:  Your right to access it without triggering law enforcement agencies, while granting them the power to seize your communications without a warrant no longer exists.  Perhaps by googling the author, you have involuntarily given them the green light to access your text messages, check your medical records, store all your photos and emails, and keep every file you ever deleted in a database with the aim of exerting complete control over your life.

The above is just a partial list of their abilities, and a small sampling of the “spreadsheet of doom” compiled with your name on it, to be used against anyone who resists the National Security State.  Don’t think for a moment that this nexus of corporate, state and military interference into every aspect of your life is designed to keep you safe.  On the contrary, it was created to make you helpless against a system that could take you down at the stroke of a keypad for any perceived infraction against this regulatory, invisible force field known by a number of confusing acronyms.  These secretive institutions at the heart of the National Security State are in fact, transnational entities that serve a bipartisan political establishment with a stake in permanent war, and exist to uphold the status quo and defend it from the rabble-led movements threatening its hegemony.

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Jennifer Matsui is a writer living in Tokyo and a columnist for the print edition of CounterPunch magazine.

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