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Modern Big Brother: The Immorality of a Nation of Spies

George Orwell used the term “Big Brother” in his renowned novel 1984. Once upon a time, readers could enjoy Orwell’s work without associating it with modern politics. Sadly, this has changed. The Orwellian dystopia that he once described has become a reality in America. With the rise of the NSA and proposed laws that strip us of our freedoms, we have entered the age of 1984.

Big Brother in the United States

The United States of America is a proponent of spy culture. Other countries also have their own government spies, but America has truly embraced Big Brother. Our government has created entire obig brotherrganizations meant solely to watch the people of our country. They have even admitted to hiding certain information from the public–all while the public pays for these organizations to exist. In the past decade, we have seen:

  • The rise of the NSA. The NSA (National Security Agency) is an organization that was outed by Edward Snowden. It is known for spying on citizens using modern technology. While it has existed since 1952, little was known about it before Snowden whistleblew in 2013.
  • Government documents have been hidden from the public. Some government documents have been released to the public after being covered up for many years. Unfortunately, those documents tend to have a lot of information redacted. This means that some details are still unavailable to the public.
  • Attempts to remove our internet freedoms. The internet was created to be used as a source of information for all. Unfortunately, there have been a number of attacks on what we refer to as net neutrality–or the concept that internet providers have to treat all data equally. Multiple attempts from big brother have been made to remove net neutrality. We are on the brink of yet another attempt now in November of 2017.

Edward Snowden: An American Hero

The National Security Agency is the epitome of modern Big Brother. Before 2013, the American public knew very little about it. Then, the nation was introduced to a whistleblower named Edward Snowden. A former CIA employee and government contractee, Snowden leaked classified information from the NSA. He was not authorized to do this. Nevertheless, he felt that it was important for the public to know about the government’s wrongdoing.

After the leaks, the U.S. Department of Justice charged Snowden with the theft of government property and the violation of the Espionage Act of 1917. He has been permitted to stay in Russia under the right of asylum. His extensions have granted him the right to stay in Russia until 2020.

The Leaks

Snowden’s leaks, along with other sources, have taught the public that:

  • Great Britain has their own version of the NSA. They have tapped fiber-optic cables internationally. They collect data from British Telecommunications, Verizon Business, Level 3, Vodafone Cable, Interoute, Viatel, and Global Crossing.
  • XKeyscore sees all. XKeyscore is a program that reads almost everything that people do on the internet. According to NSA documents, it is the “widest-reaching” system that they use to analyze data on the web.
  • Tailored Access Operations (TAO) hacks computers all over the world. This government-hired elite hacking group infects targets with malware. This proves useful when other methods of surveillance do not go as planned.
  • Through a program called Dishfire, the NSA collects text messages. The National Security Agency collects data from 200 million text messages per day. This program is worldwide, meaning that it is even collecting data from its own citizens in the United States of America.
  • Google and Yahoo did not volunteer their data center links. The NSA took their information anyway. The NSA took data center links between both Google and Yahoo without permission.
  • The NSA does surveillance on world leaders. Foreign governments and world leaders are not safe from the National Security Agency. In fact, the NSA has admitted to spying on a minimum of 122 world leaders.big brother
  • The NSA undermines internet security measures. When the NSA receives encrypted information, they sometimes cannot read it. That is why they have forced commonly used encryption programs to install backdoors so the NSA can read the data that is being encrypted.
  • Phone records can be obtained through secretive court orders. Most cell phone providers give almost all of their customer phone records to the NSA.

CIA and FBI Documents

Government organizations have lied to the public on more than one occasion. They release documents late, after redacting a lot of the information. In many cases, the redacted information seems important to understand. Just a few instances of redacted CIA documents include:

  • The JFK assassination files. Some of the JFK assassination files were released in 2017, but why did it take the government so long to release this information? Some of these documents have obvious omissions and redactions, while others are easier to read.
  • The 9/11 documents. A lot of information is redacted in the documents regarding the attack on New York City on September 11th, 2001.
  • UFO documents. It can be difficult to believe that the government has not told us all there is to know about UFOs. However, recently released files on UFOs suggest that there is a lot to be learned. These documents feature redacted information and carefully chosen words.

Net Neutrality

Net neutrality is absolutely pertinent to assure that Americans continue to have proper access to the internet. The government has threatened net neutrality a number of times. Though past attempts have failed, the Federal Communications Commission wants to try it again. Their most recent attempt has been featured in the news, but many still do not know what net neutrality means.

Net neutrality forces internet providers to treat all data the same. That means that you cannot be charged extra money for accessing your email or checking your social media notifications. However, if net neutrality is repealed, providers can then treat different data in different ways. You may have to purchase a separate package for social media, email, video streaming, and the news. Each one of these packages cabig brothern cost whatever the provider chooses. Even those that work at the FCC are skeptical of this move on behalf of Big Brother.

It is difficult to live in a society that is controlled by the government. George Orwell’s 1984 was not too far off with its suggestions. Today, it is the everyday person’s job to fight the nation of spies that we face. The American citizen is not the enemy, even if our government wants to treat us like we are. We do not deserve to be spied on or have our rights stripped away from us. Americans and people all over the world are being exploited by the government. It will not end unless we demand to be treated better.

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