It is a bizarre coincidence that at a time when America’s so-called progressive Obama administration appoints a credible person in Susan Rice as the National Security Advisor, a British and an American newspaper have broken a story that is both capable of causing worldwide repercussions, as well as come across an old story in a new edition. That the US has been listening in to our conversations, our every day details, tapping into our phones and digital records are not really earth-shattering revelations, but the fact that the grapevine circulating since the world war era has been placed on solid grounds, with concrete evidence to back up the allegations, is reason for both alarm and satisfaction. It is ironical that within a few days since the beginning of the much-awaited trial of Private Bradley Manning, who’s been accused of waging war against the US for having leaked millions of classified documents to the whistle-blowing site WikiLeaks, America is once again under the scanner for snooping around, with its giant Internet search engines such as Google and social networking sites such as Facebook acting as information scoopers from not only the Americans, but also, logically obvious as it is, for people across the world. America’s National Security agency has been gathering information, intimate, private and often threatening, including medical conditions, sexual preferences and activities, as well as any form of social communication that give up indications of individual’s ideological and political moorings, in secret for ages. However, with the advent of internet, particularly in its popular social media and search engine formats, the job of the American, as well as other states such as China, Russia, Israel, and even the Indian government, has become much easier.
Worldwide, people have started realising the harmful potential of creating a surveillance society, wherein the government acts like the Big Brother watching over every move of the individuals, who have been reduced from being the empowered citizens of their countries, with concrete rights and duties towards the state and the society, to potential criminals and transgressors, even terrorists, who must be watched all the time. Snooping on digital communications stored by the nine major Internet services clearly elucidate how the US government and other establishments have been aggressively mining personal database of billions of people, collecting and analysing them for the benefit of the state. At the cost of personal liberty and integrity, nothing is left sacred, sacrosanct and unsullied by the prying eyes of the states, with the Internet, which anyway has its origins in the defence networks, now metamorphosing from a powerful instrument in the hands of the people into a draconian tool of surveillance and systematic observation, with human lives reduced to mere usable data for the establishment. That the NSA and FBI appear to be casting an even wider net under the project ‘PRISM’, which gives the US government access to every little digital detail, should give reason to everyone to come out and protest.