When I was growing up, it was a joke that the NSA (who, at the time, didn’t officially exist) could listen in on every phone call, such that if you said a number of key words (bomb, plot, assassination… there was a list), then your call could be recorded and analyzed by spooks somewhere in America.
Oh, how we laughed.
And then we found out that Echelon was real. Of course, we scoffed at how the secretive UKUSA agreement (which, until 2005 also didn’t officially exist) that funneled all phone (and a vast amount of web traffic, all of it at first) through the uplink radar site down in Combe, Cornwall, England could actually manage to snag all traffic. It just wasn’t possible to listen to hours and hours of phone calls, or to have enough operators to pick up on all those words.
Of course, technology fixed all that for us years ago (the NSA has a patent on speech to text conversion, has done for years).
Still, we scoffed… but then it turned up that little black boxes belonging to a system called — amongst others — CARNIVORE were routinely plugged into American ISP’s (accompanied by a gag order that could get you disappeared to US gulags that also obviously don’t officially exist — probably because they’re an unmarked grave in the desert) that were set to sniff all packets and report back the findings to their FBI and NSA masters.
And then we heard about PRISM — remember Snowden? The guy who let us know that the government really does spy on every single one of us, over the internet, over cell phones, over land lines, over emails, instant messaging and even through laptop webcams? Yeah, that guy — and then…
Well, then it turns out that the UK would like a piece of that over-reaching mass spying pie, and they passed what’s generally called the Snoopers’ Charter, a bill that forces UK ISP’s to log all of your top-level web connections for at least a year. Web, IM, Email… everything is now being recorded for the good of the people.
Aren’t you just so lucky that Big Brother is looking out for you? Isn’t it just Double Plus Good?
Oh, and in addition to that (and in addition to the already scary litany of secret powers the government already has), now you won’t have to worry yourself about lascivious movies, as the same bill also bans certain types of porn. Because, as we all know, Big Brother knows best.
You may scoff at that, but the fact is that you are now being told what you can and cannot do, because these ‘lewd sex acts’, which are entirely legal for consenting adults, are illegal to record, own or traffic in… and why? Because reasons. Because muh moralz. Because, obviously, you’re too much of a child to be allowed to think for yourself.
And tomorrow, it might be, oh I don’t know, having an opinion on something which is illegal as somebody might have their feefee’s hurt by mean words.
You should be alert for such nannyisms, because they never stop. They only ever get worse. The moral police absolutely will find a new peccadillo to nail you over, tightening those thumbscrews until anything that they don’t like is punishable by years in prison. And it starts with porn, because it’s easy to tell somebody who’s half asleep to think of the children. And it’s a very, very slippery slope.
Get a VPN (no, I’m not being paid by them, but PIA are good), protect your privacy, phone your representatives and tell them they won’t be much longer if they don’t work for your interest, vote for the people who will stand up for your rights and send a message… or it may soon be too late.