Furthermore, Where Did I Leave That Walrus Anyway?
When I head about the Snowden Situation, I immediately felt a sympathetic cord ring inside me. Not so much to take a side for guilt or innocence, but a sympathetic feeling of someone who has felt the invisible presence of having my personal space penetrated. I initially thought I would write-up this great paper about the Prism Project. I remembered about a book I read about Sam Israel and Bayou Securities. No—better idea still, Danny Casolaro’s story would make a stronger backbone. Then the X-Keyscore story broke and I had to clear my desk. Today I just learned about the SOD* program [*see end paragraph, Rachael Maddow, 8/5/2013]. Of course, if all else didn’t inspire me, I could always write about The Monarch Program.
This is the nebulous soup described in the movie ‘The Fog.’ What is it, what is out there? I think the reason I can’t sketch out what I am feeling because the metaphor used to describe the NSA program locked me into a dull charcoal. It isn’t specifically that vast quantities of data is being ‘vacuumed up.’ That may be part of what is going on, but I am teaching myself to not fall for the shell game. Someone described the entire scope as a giant squid, reaching out and sticking to everything. I prefer the simile of an octopus. It sticks and rips away historically stuck data, AND it extends into many areas of our daily life. And when the diver detective gets close, it spits out an inky blot so nothing can be seen clearly.
The results of the trip wire that Snowden walked through displayed itself when I read the NPR Snowden Wrap-up article. I heard what he said when I watched the live Q & A, but NPR put it into permanent text. This young man said, in a stray but intentional thought lurking in the conversation, that predictive analysis can be applied to each and any person. By leveraging many technologies applied against hard database data, a type of virtual ESP blankets any point on the globe. This is an arms race for control over people’s brains. But are we looking through a lighted keyhole or is the door finally ajar?
The following is taken from the NPR website, displayed here without NPR’s permission to highlight the importance of this subtle point…
GREENWALD: Why should people care about surveillance?
SNOWDEN: Because even if you’re not doing anything wrong, you’re being watched and recorded. And the storage capability of these systems increases every year consistently by orders of magnitude, to where it’s getting to the point you don’t have to have done anything wrong. You simply have to eventually fall under suspicion from somebody, even by a wrong call.
And then they can use this system to go back in time and scrutinize every decision you’ve ever made, every friend you’ve ever discussed something with, and attack you on that basis to sort to derive suspicion from an innocent life and paint anyone in the context of a wrongdoer
When the horror of having all thoughts, conversations, relationships and activities monitored; reality asks how should we now defend ourselves. I tried to imagine this electronic fog-space. Snowden has described some of the best protective pre-emptive devices for harvesting information. But if civil liberty was reset, old-fashioned boots on the ground won’t replace the now uncovered electronic warrior sponges. Citizens are being asked to tolerate the eavesdropping to phone, written word, electronic conversations, and possibly brain wave thoughts because there is no alternative. The operators may be required to broadcast an ‘interference’ layer which makes the citizen or spy alike think they are listening to or tracking someone else. Like layers of a gob-stopper candy, each layer that gets dissolved reveals another hard shell and a new flavor of surveillance. [really sucks]
Most thoughts I have written about pertain to waking hours. But what happens when the target goes to sleep. Can I be subliminally whispered to in the first few minutes of twilight? Can specific pieces of personal information be suggested to warp the brain’s dreamtime? When you know there is a monster in the shadows, but have little light and no experiential foundation to visualize what you think you feel, the eyes and imagination WILL draw out something more horrific than past perceptions. And perhaps, we are so far off the curve of acquired experience, our imaginations are correct. Expert systems combined with The Prism project, X-Keyscore and the Monarch Program have already been revealed. Imagine the coming attractions; bio-engineered clones will impersonate human life. [Watch Gattaca, 1997, or search wiki] A Bluetooth device and a look-alike armed with a broadcasted constructed decision criteria profile could do this now in real-time. Read the NPR Snowden interview transcript…
The Octopus seems to reach any place signals can create a dimensional atmosphere. Politicians like Lindsey Graham appear to be in two places at on this topic . The Prism Project seems a necessary part of modern data collection, but universal gun owner background checks appear to be too invasive. [Idea from MSNBC Rev Al Sharpton television show] Another example is the insurance industry. Prices are set and coverage is approved or denied. Decisions are considered locked for fear of competitive reprisals. The ‘carrot’ of privacy gets dangled in front of you eyes, but like the donkey, citizens are asked to just keep pulling that cart. A final troubling situation arises when chosen individuals actually make a mistake or fail. Forces move in to prevent disaster, and over time, failure is considered desirable. Of course, the safety net won’t be there for regular people. They are lured to replace the previous person’s disaster. The magical enchantment encourages citizens to pay now, so another can repay an old debt.
I really set out to write about some of the spy vs. spy projects and devices. I want to be sure I am factually accurate. But I also have a sense that all of the revelations have not yet revealed themselves. MY UNQUALIFIED GUT OPINION tells me the type of work Snowden performed for Booze Allen requires a back channel grey network to click back and forth in cases of data corruption. This data corruption may originate from password hacking, packet theft, or ‘listening in’ to those who are listening in. In order to separate the doppelgänger mirror image from the real operative, I WOULD GUESS in this type of scenario, one needs to step away from the shadow or reflection that one casts. Who knows what authority is monitoring this grey network because the level of unknown about the front channel has become apparent through Edward’s revelations. Who knows what happens to the data once it is acquired, reduced to text or storage, and sits on someone’s disk or desk. Outdated versions of the tools could make their way into the secondary market. One person’s junk is some unacquainted newbie’s treasure.
These tools still seem light years ahead of how the collective citizen mind is thinking. If the bad guys use these tools, then the good guys should to, right? I want to describe these tools as I see them. They are the cane and spoon for the surveillance crowd. I have a feeling they won’t live without them, now that they have been proven effective. I just hope that someone will pass a law that protects my sleeping hours. The one feeling that I know to be true is the longer I become acclimated to this new definition of privacy, the more time it seems I have already been living under its grip. CAUTION: Unconscious siphoning may have physical effects…
8/4/2013 [first draft]
Used without permission, Reuters News, John Schiffman…
*SOD: The SOD forwards tips gleaned from NSA intercepts, wiretaps by foreign governments, court-approved domestic wiretaps and a database called DICE to federal agents and local law enforcement officers. The DICE database is different from the NSA phone-records database. DICE consists of about 1 billion records, and is primarily a compilation of phone log data that is legally gathered by the DEA through subpoenas or search warrants