Did We Give The Government Permission to Spy on Us?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Telephone buttons Telephone buttons (melloveschallah/flickr/CC-BY-2.0)

In the days since Edward Snowden leaked details about the National Security Agency’s data collecting program, we’ve seen editorialists and average Americans expressing outrage over what’s been called a government breach of privacy.

But Steve Blank says we shouldn’t be surprised. In fact, he’s shocked that so many Americans are even raising an eyebrow. As he sees it, the government and information carriers have long been connected; and we gave them permission to be connected as voters.

Blank is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and academic. He’s the author of the online series “The Secret History of Silicon Valley.”


Steve Blank

Produced by:

Kristen Meinzer

Comments [5]

@Jerrold Richards from Lyle, Washington

You've been watching too many Michael Bey movies...

Snowden is about as heroic as a draft-dodger who flees to Canada. A true conscientious objector stays in country becomes a medic or goes to jail.

It is important for the American people to know about what its government is doing but self-selecting to reveal the composition of American sources and methods IS NOT the way. He deserves praise AND jail. Sorry.

Jun. 11 2013 03:35 PM
RUCB_Alum from Central New Jersey

Snowden is NOT a whistleblower in the sense that he has revealed misfeasance, malfeasance or corruption. He is drawing attention to systems and procedures that the American people (through their elected representatives) have approved. If you are shocked by what WE have permitted to pass, you weren't listening when these subjects were originally debated. No matter... If you are P.O.'d now, pick up a pen and write a letter to your representation.

Please don't use partisan finger-pointing at Obama (or Bush) for what you now consider to be an overreach. That debate was years ago.

Jun. 11 2013 03:27 PM
Audy Davison from Portland Oregon

This is a big issue. I certainly don't see Ed Snowsden as a criminal. In a democracy we need open information. If the terrorists' goal is to destroy our way of life, then if we use the fear of terrorism as an excuse to lose our democracy and freedom and privacy, then they have won. I think in history we often see the fear of enemies as being used to harm the people of the society with no benefit to the nation only those in power.

Aren't we the land of the brave and the free.


Jun. 11 2013 01:39 PM
Jerrold Richards from Lyle, Washington

Is this where I put a comment about whether or not whistleblower Edward Snowden is a hero? Maybe this comment can be moved to the appropriate location as necessary.
Hero, maybe. Courageous, probably. But naive? Yes, I would say.
Clearly no fool, he must have thought about the possibility of being murdered, probably in some manner so as to smear his reputation. I guess I admire his courage for going ahead anyway.
But I am not sure he has considered the most likely possibility. Most likely, he faces sensory deprivation in a small space, until he goes insane.

Jun. 11 2013 01:25 PM

The nature of the "meta-data" which is so carefully concealed by the media and government are your personal associations. The threat to our society is an attack on Freedom of Association.

During the era of Senator Joseph McCarthy most of the victims cited their rights under the 5th Amendment to the US Constitution. Some however choose a different route, the 1st Amendment. Specifically those aspects which the Supreme Court calls freedom of Association.

One aspect deemed significant about Freedom of Association is - "the Supreme Court ruled, in National Association for the Advancement of Colored People v. Alabama (1958),[206] that this freedom was protected by the Amendment and that privacy of membership was an essential part of this freedom" (from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution)

Does membership here mean my associations with other individuals, or just the organizations such as the NAACP?

Jun. 11 2013 09:33 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.