July 06, 2013
Everyone Does It

If I were Edward Snowden, forced to live in an airport terminal for an unclear period of time, wondering whether a plane I might have boarded would even be allowed passage to asylum, unable to contact family or friends in any direct manner, I would be very happy as long as I maintained an internet connection. If his motivation was as he described it, to start a conversation about the universal intrusions of modern intelligence operations, he should be overjoyed.

When The Guardian published the NSA documents showing that the FISA court, purportedly the close overseer of NSA targeting and collection, agreed to rules that prohibited almost nothing with respect to non-citizens, many Europeans were outraged.

But not all. Some knew that their own governments were doing as much of the same thing as they could manage.

Referring to the system as a “French Big Brother”, Le Monde said the French state was able to use the surveillance “to spy on anybody at any time”. The paper wrote: “All of our communications are spied on.”

Le Monde said that after Snowden’s revelations about the NSA’s Prism surveillance programme prompted indignation in Europe, France “only weakly protested, for two excellent reasons: Paris already knew about it, and it was doing the same thing”.

The difference between American spying and that of other government/corporate partnerships is purely our access to the data flowing through the biggest sites on the web: Facebook, Google, Apple, Yahoo, AOL, and Microsoft reside here, and the traffic passing through their servers is uniquely available to us. Every other government would be doing the same thing if it were possible. And by the same token our government is no better than any other, whatever myths we may cherish about our exceptionalism.

It is getting harder to find someone who doesn’t realize that their emails and conversations are intercepted and recorded, presumably presumably just what Snowden wanted.



Posted by Chuck Dupree at July 06, 2013 09:30 PM
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The French government advised the White House (during the Ford and Nixon Administrations, re Presidential visits to France) that "all French hotel phone installations, as with ALL private phone service lines in France, are government-tapped." (My source was my cousin, then a US Naval LtCommander assigned as White House military attache; his primary White House sfaff duty was establishing/maintaining secure communications during Presidential trips abroad.)

Posted by: Hoffmann on July 7, 2013 5:37 AM


Posted by: noseyparkerunit on July 7, 2013 12:04 PM

And of course if it is okay for us to listen in on anything done by foreigners, by reciprocity it is fine for the UK, Russia, or Canada to spy on Americans. So even if Prism is not getting your stuff in full and is only capturing metadata because you are a Yank, then what about Prisma or whatever the Russkies call their system.

Good times!

Posted by: on July 8, 2013 1:01 PM

I read in some comment stream at The Guardian the idea that now any country in the world could refuse overflight to Air Force 1, force it to land, and search it for someone accused of illegal espionage, namely the NSA director or the DNI. What could we say?

Posted by: Chuck Dupree on July 8, 2013 1:48 PM
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