Do You Even Care That Your Government Watches You?

We discuss the global mass surveillance program and what this truly means for our liberties going into the future.  

In 2013 a man by the name of Edward Snowden who was working on behalf of the USA's National Security Agency leaked classified documents to the press unveiling the Government's mass surveillance program aimed at collecting mass amounts of data of private citizens. The revelations caused public outrage as many people found themselves betrayed and invaded by their own Government. The complexity of the revelations spanned globally, with Snowden revealing the British GCHQ having the most complex of citizen mass surveillance. 

From now, know that every border you cross, every purchase you make, every call you dial, every cell phone tower you pass, friend you keep, article you write, site you visit, subject line you type, and packet you route, is in the hands of a system whose reach is unlimited but whose safeguards are not
— Edward Snowden

Whether or not Edward Snowden's actions were justified truly depends on who you speak to. To some, he is a hero. To others, he stands as a traitor to his nation. Edward Snowden stood conflicted in his actions when he weighed up the oath he swore to defend the constitution and the civil non-disclosure agreement he signed protecting the state secrets. Snowden proceeded with his decision to release the documents which eventually leaked via The Guardian newspaper. Less than a month after the newspaper's revelations the US charged Edward with espionage and theft of property. Leaving him no choice but to leave his life in the USA behind and seek refuge overseas. Edward's story is available in the academy award winning documentary, Citizenfour. 

Trailer for the Academy Award® winning documentary, Citizenfour

As a former solider I truly believe in the value of intelligence gathering and national defence. But this must be inline within the morals and context of our society. The revelations above did not come as a result of aimless disclosure of top secret intelligence operations, but a carefully chosen method of releasing the evidence of an unmoral system and unlawful system which the courts have since declared the mass surveillance program performed by the NSA as illegal

Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.
— Benjamin Franklin

Do you care?

There is almost unmistakable apathy to a problem that cannot be seen and doesn't directly effect many people. If the Government was literally sending guys in suits into your home in the middle of the night to snoop through your personal belongings and record their findings then the issue would be certainly acted upon differently. But this advanced level of technological privacy invasion is leaps and bounds beyond the average person's apprehension thus leading to a collective lack of interest in this issue. But you should care, because it does effect you and it effects our future generations. So what if you don't care that the Government is collecting your meta data consisting of Facebook photos and iMessages. "I've got nothing to hide, right?" Absolute nonsense, and I'll tell you why.

Such vast submission to state clandestine programs that strip away our personal freedoms piece by piece as your data gets passed amongst global intelligence networks like fucking Pokemon cards outright stinks. Such programs pass from generation to generation, and our future citizens may not perhaps be so apathetic when they're facing blackmail from a corrupt police officer who has his hands on your personal information. We get it, the vast collection of data collected by our intelligence services vastly makes them more powerful and more capable of protecting their nation's interests. But your personal data is getting sucked into this unregulated machine which may be exploited by people who don't follow a moral code all under the presumption that everybody has your nation's best interests at heart. 

By starting from a position where everyone is a suspect, mass surveillance encourages the establishment of erroneous correlations and unfair suppositions. It enables individuals to be linked together on the basis of information that may be no more than a coincidence – a tube ride shared together, a website visited at the same time, a phone connecting to the same cell tower – and conclusions to be drawn about the nature of those links.
— Privacy International
The UK's GCHQ Photograph: Ho/Reuters

The UK's GCHQ Photograph: Ho/Reuters

But what if hypothetically an individual who had access to this data of yours just walks right out the door with your information. But unlike Mr Snowden, had more sinister motives on the mind? Perhaps a sale to criminal gang or an individual bribing somebody to obtain the recordings of your phone calls? All hypotheticals of course, but theoretical realities you should accept should the mass surveillance programs continue.  

For more understanding on this entire issue of mass surveillance, and to learn how to legally attempt to obtain what information GCHQ has collected on you, head on over privacyinternational.org now.

The founder of Capable Men. 

Currently operating personal projects while he simultaneously attempts to develop the Capable Men platform. John served five years in the British army, with a tour of duty in Afghanistan before eventually departing the forces to begin a career in the private security sector.

John attended several private protection courses dealing with security strategy, close-quarters combat training, firearms and advanced driving. This new profession took him worldwide Including the protection of government assets in South America, VIP tasks on the Côte d'Azur and security work within the French Alps.

His interests include global affairs, philosophy, hiking, sports and fitness.