posted by Michael Thomas
With the shocking nature of the PRISM and other ubiquitous surveillance measures which have come to light recently since Edward Snowden’s leaks, it was easy to forget the question of how exactly they were watching us; using which measures and software. The answer to this question, on a global level, is Narus, and their current efforts are actually more frightening than the current surveillance system.
An investigative report published on July 30th, 2013 in the German newspaper Zeit, reveals a company which saves 60-80% of all online traffic, avoids making any public statements whatsoever, originates in Israel in 1997, and is known worldwide as the primary creator and vendor of surveillance technology.
As discussed in Salon’s June 10th analysis, the vast majority of US surveillance is privatized, and that means a huge amount of our private online movements are being recorded and stored by organizations whose central ethical creed is to obey the profit margin.
When you think about the fact that governments are investing our money, our tax money, in private corporations to spy on us, it becomes clear we are not living in any real democracy or even an effective republic.
If this wasn’t frightening enough, the newest product on their website is the Narus nSystem, which merges artificial intelligence and learning software with the analysis and collection of your personal data. This means that the development and sale of AI, which can be designed to filter or search for anything or any characteristic designated, as long as one provides it the initial resources to learn from, is not only openly for sale to governments, but also anyone with enough money.
This developement is one of the biggest threats to democracy, equal rights, and privacy, in the world. It is becoming possible for companies and governments to use network data and this software to find potential threats –leaks- or opponents, and do whatever they see fit. Since no sane person could ever present the argument that governments or corporations have never done illegal or unethical things in the pursuit of maximum gain or control, I needn’t provide any number of examples in both past and recent history which would negate this argument.
If we add this threat presented by the relative silence of the media in providing competent analysis of even the most serious problems facing us, and their avoidance of consulting real science in regard to issues with clear science, then we have to deal with the potential of a functional totalitarian surveillance state coming to fruition probably around the same time as many serious threats are beginning to manifest and become visible, but too late to reverse.
If you care about these issues, then do something about it. When only 10% of people become convinced of an idea, it quickly spreads to 90% (Syzmanski. 2011). We come into contact with people every day and we get to choose what we do or talk about with them. And those in power would love nothing more than for us to waste our time.
3. Syzmanski. 2011. “Minority Rules: Scientists Discover Tipping Point for the Spread of Ideas”