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THE SURVEILLANCE STATE MONSTER AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT Print E-mail
Written by Paul Rosenberg   
Tuesday, 13 August 2013

There's really no more doubt about it, the US government is a Surveillance State, far beyond any East German autocrat's wildest dreams. And it is far, far more dangerous to us than Al Qaeda.

We all come from a background that taught us that the Soviet Union and its totalitarian empire was horrifying (which it was), and that the USA was good, noble and pristine. That makes it hard for us to accept that the US has now become what East Germany once was. We keep looking for reasons to not to believe it.

Millions of Soviets, by the way, did not think their rulers were evil. They were constantly informed that they were the good guys, and they tended to believe it. Even people in the Siberian Gulag believed that what happened to them was an aberration; a few officials going too far. Alexander Solzhenitsyn reported in his masterwork, The Gulag Archipelago, that such men would moan in their prison bunks, "if only Stalin knew."

Please don't think that these Russians were stupid - they were not. Their error was to believe what they were taught and to give authority the benefit of the doubt.

We cannot afford to make the same mistakes.

What We Know

I don't want to use a lot of space on the details, so here are some highlights:

  • We know about Edward Snowden's releases on PRISM and many other domestic surveillance programs.
  • We know that the NSA is collecting almost everything on everyone, and that they can hack virtually any system at any time, including financial and health records.
  • We know that Microsoft, Apple, Google, Facebook, AOL, Yahoo and Skype are helping them.
  • We also know that the FBI is taking records from both AT&T and Verizon.
  • We know that the IRS has been attacking Tea Party groups.
And so on. I could fill pages with just headlines.

This last week, the government forced one secure email provider to close, and commanded them - under threat of instant imprisonment - not to talk about it to anyone. And this was enough to scare another email service into shutting down.

And behind all of this are secret courts!

Is that 'America' to you? It sure isn't to me.

So, What Now?

Your first move is to protect yourself. There's no use in saying much against a surveillance state while they're listening to your every word.

There are two ways to protect yourself:

  1. Get and use tools like Tor, PGP, and others. Yes, these are more or less hacker tools, but you can learn to use them.
  2. Buy service from Cryptohippie.
I've never been big on self-promotion, but at this point we're all in jeopardy and necessity bears upon me. Cryptohippie is an advanced VPN system, and as far as I know, it has no real competitors. Cheap VPNs abound, but they won't protect you. No service in the current situation can protect you without these things:

  • Multiple, jurisdictionally-aware hops.
  • Separation of concerns. (No single place or party having all your info.)
  • Out of band authentication.
  • Their own DNS system.
  • Real customer service.
Cryptohippie is actually an anonymity network, with a VPN connection on the front end. Not only does it protect your surfing, but when you do things inside the network (email, chat, voice), no one from the outside will know that you and the other party ever communicated.

So, you can either start taking care of your own security or you can buy good protection. Pick one and do it.

If you want to do it yourself, we'll show you how. Download The Cryptohippie Guide To Online Privacy, for free, here.   

Step 2: De-legitimize It

Legitimacy in human government is far more important than force. Ruling humans by force alone is a losing proposition. The effective rule of humans must focus on their minds.

Governments have power mainly because people believe in them. Yes, they do use violence and threats, but without a widespread belief that government is a noble doer of good, they couldn't get away with very much of it.

Once any serious number of people stop believing that it is right for them to obey, governments crumble.

We need to reject the legitimacy of the surveillance state that currently rules over America. Obeying it is not God's will or our duty to America's Founders.

In fact, obeying this monster would be an offense to the Founders. To illustrate, here's what Samuel Adams wrote in the Boston Gazette on January 21, 1771:

Nothing, in my opinion, can convey a more unjust idea of the spirit of a true American, than to suppose he would even compliment, much less make an adulating address to any person sent here to trample on the Rights of his Country; or that he would ever condescend to kiss the hand which is ready prepared to rivet his own fetters.

Before I close, I want to note the manipulative slogan that various NSA generals keep pulling out:

If you don't do anything wrong, you have nothing to fear.

Understand this clearly: these are the words of a predator speaking to his hostages.

As you sit, his gun pointed at your chest, he says, "As long as you do as your told, I won't shoot."

The trick of this slogan is that it takes the first position - with you as a hostage - as a given; as an assumed starting point. These words allow no possibility of you existing without a gun pointed at you.

But if "being an American" still means anything, it means that we are free men and women, and that we refuse to live as serfs, with weapons pointed at us.

And surveillance is a horrible weapon. Just ask someone from East Germany.

Paul Rosenberg is a computer security specialist and founder of CryptohippieTTP endorses Cryptohippie for your personal online security.



 

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