October 6, 2013, D. S. Kane
For over a decade, the United States has waged war on hackers while it has simultaneously hacked into the lives of its own citizens "to protect us" from ourselves.
Since the beginning of the Snowden scandal, my friends have asked if I believe he is a hero or a traitor. For months, I've pondered an answer, since both answers have very little merit.
Snowden exposed the NSA' s despicable behavior, and for that, he is a hero. The best outcome would be a national debate leading to a national policy the majority of voters could approve (or reject). The worst outcome would be what has happened so far: Snowden is a wanted criminal, the NSA continues to hack into everyone's identities with impunity, and the hacker community is furious to the point where there will be many, many more Snowdens in our future.
In his thriller novel Black List, Brad Thor envisions a world where new technologies lead to the increasing loss of our personal privacy and inevitably leads to the total loss of our personal liberty.
It's a two-edged sword. Much that the government does for us is beneficial. My tolerance diminishes when it comes to personal privacy and liberty. Which is the sole province of our country's intelligence agencies and services. Those 1,200 organizations now number in excess of 1.4 million people. Way too much manpower unless you fear an uprising. And given the huge and expanding gulf in power and wealth between rich and poor, is that so far fetched?
So, maybe we've ignored the bigger issue. Washington is like an onion. Every scandal is a cover-up for a larger, more important issue:
This country is no longer a democracy, and hasn't been since we turned past the millennia. What we now have governing us is a group of idiots. And they control us using spy agencies and clandestine services. Maybe that's the bigger secret here. But if that's true, then I can only view Snowden as a hero.