It’s been a bit over three years since Edward Snowden made his great revelation to the public that the NSA is spying on pretty much everyone. Except this wasn’t really news to anyone who has been paying attention; it was news only to the drowsy and apathetic masses still looking the main stream for answers. What has happened in these past three years? Have Snowden’s revelations somehow turned back the tide on government and corporate surveillance? No. More like the opposite, and this time with they do it with the consent of the masses.
Snowden’s revelations stirred up some debate back in the day. People were shocked and all that, but then everything went back to normal. People went back to consuming, governments and corporations went back to promoting their interests at the expense of the people. The only difference is that now everyone knows they’re been spied on, and it’s somehow cool. It used to be that there are only two things that are certain: death and taxes. Now it’s death, taxes and spying.
Interestingly, around the same time as Snowden was making government spying public information, Microsoft announced that Xbox One would have to be connected to the internet and spying on you all the time. I don’t think this was co-incidental. Even if Microsoft did go back on some of their threats against privacy, I’d be surprised if Xbox One didn’t spy on you in some way. Then there’s Windows 10.
It has installed itself onto the computers of countless people who didn’t want it, it spies on you and based on what I’ve heard it’s not very good to use either. Still even some of my friends use Windows 10. Their attitude is that since everyone is spying on you, you might as well accept it. Since it’s so prevalent, it’s supposedly normal. Like the movie Se7en put it: “We see a deadly sin on every street corner, in every home, and we tolerate it. We tolerate it because it’s common, it’s trivial. We tolerate it morning, noon, and night.”
Microsoft is just the most blatant example of a software company that is spying on you, but collection of data is everywhere from computer games to sites like Facebook and searching things with Google. The contribution to society that Snowden provided is not to inform us of this potential danger, since you already knew about it if you wanted to be informed, but to make you accept a deeper level of enslavement. Or perhaps that you’re like a rat in a maze being studied. But as long as you get the piece of cheese in the end, you don’t mind. This is how the average person reacts to spying.
I’ve even seen people on the internet defend this violation of privacy. They love their enslavement, or rather they tell themselves they do, so they don’t have to face the seemingly impossible task of resisting it. I’ve seen people on the internet get angry if you speak out against mass surveillance. They’d rather be happy slaves instead of disgruntled ones.
This is what Edward Snowden has brought us. It wasn’t about giving us a favour. It was another successful attempt at social engineering. People are even more willing to accept their place as slaves and guinea-pigs than before.
I’m not. I may not be able to stop all the spying. I don’t have the time, energy, and know-how to prevent them from spying on me, but at least I can try to limit it. More importantly, I don’t need to accept it mentally and emotionally. This spying is wrong. It is immoral and ill-dignified. Even if it is everywhere, even if it is common it’s something I don’t have to accept. I don’t have to pretend I’m fine with it.