By Daniel Ellery
I have some thoughts, one being that this war on ‘terrorism’ has created through surveillance on unparalleled scales, the largest form of oppression the world has ever seen. Through the collection of metadata and phone logs, governments have the power to track people’s every move, in what is literally an exact living example of Aldous Huxley and George Orwell’s famous novels.
Edward Snowden helped leak information regarding the NSA’s mass surveillance of Americans’ phone and internet activity and is still being hunted for the theft of government property, two counts of violating the Espionage Act through unauthorized communication of national defense information, and “willful communication of classified communications intelligence information to an unauthorized person”. Australia has gone about it differently. What we have done is used the same blanket term ‘terrorism’ which is perfect because after all, anyone could be a terrorist, right? Through using terrorism as a guise, the Australian Government has set into effect the exact same breaches of civil liberties that Edward Snowden helped to uncover in 2013, but now, it is deemed completely acceptable. Not only completely acceptable, but totally necessary. This is how the grandest invasion of privacy has a snug home under the title of Terrorism.
It is no longer a thin line that we are treading, indeed, we have crossed it. Examples including but not limited to imposing penalties on anyone that speaks out about atrocities committed in the Nauru Detention Centre can basically be seen as a law passed to charge and prosecute whistleblowers. Like Edward Snowden, people that leak sensitive information that the public have a right to know, could be charged with espionage and even treason. This is the surely the biggest threat to democratic values we have ever seen on a global scale.
It is also very interesting to remember that Vladimir Putin provided Snowden with one year of political asylum in Russia. One cannot help but wonder what information Snowden has dispersed to Russia. When this is taken into account with the current state of affairs in Syria, it could escalate the conflict to much further heights of what it may seem to be at first glance.
What does this mean for journalists, human rights activists and people with critical thought legally and democratically challenge the government? The scope of power this lends to the government and government agencies is quite scary. When government pressure is used as a means to restrict or reduce media coverage of information the public have a right to know, it is media censorship plain and simple. No different to communist countries like China or North Korea.
It would seem now that if you have a view that opposes the mainstream that you have been radicalized. Now you have a title. You are a radical. And under Turnbull’s government, radicals are not wanted in this country. So heed that warning or risk having your name put on a watch-list or better yet, your citizenship revoked.
Another way to look at things is certain reality television has also had a hand in staging human experiments such as Big Brother, where contestants are put in a house for months on end with no contact to the outside world, and track their behavioral, emotional and mental changes and also their thoughts through interaction with ‘Big Brother’. Facebook and other social media sites are also used for various human experiments. From asking us ‘What’s on your mind?’, to knowingly altering the content of what you see in your news feed to study changes in ones mood. For example, showing an abundance of negative or unhappy posts to see how this affects the individual users’ emotional state. We tell these sources literally what we are doing, who we are with and where we are going every single day.
Technology like smartphones and the Apple watch prove that people will actually pay large amounts of money to be tracked, monitored and located easily. What more could over-reaching, information-crazed, privacy-denouncing Government want?
Not so long ago, the internet used to be a place where information could be shared freely, just like we as a society could go about our day to day business quite freely. Next time you’re walking around, talking of freedom like you’ve got it, ask yourself (or Siri) this: What is surveillance other than control?
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