Sunday, June 16, 2013 - 23:44

PRISM. National solutions will most certainly not solve the problem.

After the NSA's surveillance scandal hit the big stage various voices demand solutions away from the United States and with that away from Google, facebook, Microsoft and others. The idea is to move data out of range of the NSA. There's however a catch with that.

If you move data outside the jurisdiction of the United States you usually move it into the jurisdiction of someone else.  You're just switching the characters on the guys who are spying on the data. Not every country is that ruthless. But it would be foolish to believe they are far behind. If you move the data into Germany or France you'll have the very same problems just with some other 3 or 4 letter company.

German services for example have a direct line into Email accounts. And the BND just recently started a 100M+ € program to expand data mining going out of and coming into Germany. Something very similar to the domestic data mining is pushed over here and the reasons given are the very same BS. It just happened to collide with the constitution in an unfavorable way...for now. It's relatively easy to see that PRISM is a U.S. scandal simply because all of the involved are U.S. based entities. If they would be German it's quite certain that it would be a German scandal.

The problem isn't really with the NSA or with any other service. It's with politics. As long as politicians see terrorism - among other things - as an opportunity to tune into the very same people who elected them they will authorize and demand that the services do exactly as they do. The reasons given are always the same. There is some higher interested we all share. In case of terrorism it's protection from it. And no one gets tired to explain how often this worked. Of course all of that is classified and with that not verifiable.

It's highly likely - if not certain - that it does jack. How exactly were people in Boston protected? And this wasn't really an unlikely target. Most of this kind of spying is only relevant if whatever it is happened already. But there is a good reason to chose against it. It may increase the chances to solve the case or make it generally easier. Not having it may mean that some things may not be easily solved or maybe not at all.

People believe that democracy is just another political system that happens to be there and since they have nothing to hide there's nothing to lose. What everyone forgets is that democracy is a very fragile system and virtually all of them were born in blood. Usually lots of it. You don't have to open a history book to see that. Just watch the news. Oppressive regimes don't give up power just because someone asks them to do. Our free societies cannot dwell in a pool of distrust against the people.

No one ever claimed our way of living has no downside. It has. It is the fact that in our societies a very smart bad guy may slip through the net more easily than in a 1984 candy store. And it also means that someone who's coming here may have intentions to harm us. But it also means that this bad guy hardly ever is the government. If you look at all the other shitholes out there it's pretty obvious that this price is not a very high price to pay.

It doesn't mean noone should be monitored. That would be stupid. But there has to be a specific reason why someone needs to put under surveillance and this reason must be well founded. If we snoop into just everyone just because someone may be a up to something at some time in the future we are digging deep into the foundation of our societies. Sometimes you just don't see it because you're too close to the dig site. And if you start to see it the foundation very likely is already in danger of collapsing.

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