Don’t believe the argument that mass surveillance is only a problem for wrongdoers. Governments have repeatedly spied on anyone who challenges their power, says Glenn Greenwald in an extract from his book about Edward Snowden and the NSA, No Place to Hide. [….]
The document then lays out what it calls the “Disruption Operational Playbook”. This includes “infiltration operation”, “ruse operation”, “false flag operation”, and “sting operation”. It vows a “full roll out” of the disruption programme “by early 2013” as “150+ staff [are] fully trained”.
Under the title Magic Techniques & Experiment, the document references “Legitimisation of violence”, “Constructing experience in mind of targets which should be accepted so they don’t realise”, and “Optimising deception channels”.
Such government plans to monitor and influence internet communications and disseminate false information online have long been a source of speculation. The GCHQ documents show for the first time that these controversial techniques have moved from the proposal stage to implementation.
All of the evidence highlights the implicit bargain that is offered to citizens: pose no challenge and you have nothing to worry about. Mind your own business, and support or at least tolerate what we do, and you’ll be fine. Put differently, you must refrain from provoking the authority that wields surveillance powers if you wish to be deemed free of wrongdoing.
This is a deal that invites passivity, obedience and conformity. The safest course, the way to ensure being “left alone”, is to remain quiet, unthreatening and compliant.
Nothing new, but still important and worth a read. Is this the type of society we want to live in? For me, the answer is a clear “no”.