Quite convenient how we tackle surveillance the week after Monday's Moment of Truth revelations about metadata collection in NZ. It's a shame we couldn't discuss surveillance on Monday before the election rather than after it, as the two readings basically outline two of the main reasons I'm infuriated at the NZ media's reporting of Greenwald and Snowden's presentations.
The basic gist that I got from Andrejevic is that deep down, everyone's a stalker. Evidence for that is the fact that the very term "stalk" becomes far less severe if it follows the word "Facebook". And I think I established my personal opinion during the dystopia seminar that the only thing preventing utopia is the fact that we're all assholes deep down. Given those two qualities, it wouldn't be surprising to imagine an NSA/GCSB agent peeking at some unlucky Kiwi's e-mails or texts if something picqued his curiosity. With the sort of data he'd have access to, the whole world can be his own "Big Brother". On paper, a system of mass surveillance sounds like a great way to keep crime in check, but its potential for abuse is just too great (because humans are assholes).
Now the second article about ways paranoia is understood is also incredibly relevant to this week. A while ago, John Key tried to justify the GCSB bill by pulling the terrorism card. I mean sure, that probably works in America where terrorist rhetoric gets thrown around like the f-word in a Quentin Tarantino movie, but here? Sure, if NZ had actually been attacked in the past, or had seen some definitive proof of terrorist activity, that could've seemed plausible, but we've had no such luck. When he released those documents for "Project CORTEX", they seemed to use the same rhetoric of "protection", as the operation appeared to be concerned with protecting NZers from malware (basically making CORTEX a glorified anti-virus program and thus irrelevant as proof that SPEARGUN is bullshit), thus making it appear that the GCSB bill was again about protecting NZers.
The part that's really pissing me off though is the fact that there are actually people buying this crap. It's visible in the comments to the news reports (though internet commenters have never been the most intelligent lot) and I've also heard friends try to justify it.
Hopefully this weekend's election shows that Kiwis are smart enough to see through the smoke screen.
Anyway, enough with the politics, I will leave with this (it's still slightly relevant):