Are You a Perfect Citizen?
Published on Dissident Voice, by Tom Burghardt, July 12th, 2010.
… In a sign that illegal surveillance programs launched by the Bush administration are accelerating under President Obama, The Wall Street Journal revealed last week that a National Security Agency (NSA) program, PERFECT CITIZEN, is under development … //
… The Grim Road Ahead:
A confidence game only works when “marks,” in this case American citizens, allow themselves to be defrauded by a person or group who have gained their trust.
And when trust cannot be won through reason, fear tends to take over as a powerful motivator. This is amply on display when it comes to Washington’s ginned-up “cybersecurity” panic.
According to this reading, fraudulent internet schemes, identity theft, even espionage by state- and non-state actors (say corporate spies who benefit from NSA’s ECHELON program) have been transformed into a “war,” one which Bush’s former Director of National Intelligence, Mike McConnell, currently an executive vice president with the spooky Booz Allen Hamilton firm, claims the U.S. is “losing.”
But as security technology expert Bruce Schneier wrote last week, “There’s a power struggle going on in the U.S. government right now.
“It’s about who is in charge of cyber security, and how much control the government will exert over civilian networks. And by beating the drums of war, the military is coming out on top.”
Schneier avers that “the entire national debate on cyberwar is plagued with exaggerations and hyperbole.” Googling “cyberwar,” as well as “‘cyber Pearl Harbor,’ ‘cyber Katrina,’ and even ‘cyber Armageddon’–gives some idea how pervasive these memes are. Prefix ‘cyber’ to something scary, and you end up with something really scary.”
Hackers, criminals and sociopaths have been around since the birth of the “information superhighway.” Schneier writes, “we surely need to improve our cybersecurity. But words have meaning, and metaphors matter. There’s a power struggle going on for control of our nation’s cybersecurity strategy, and the NSA and DoD are winning. If we frame the debate in terms of war, if we accept the military’s expansive cyberspace definition of ‘war,’ we feed our fears.”
This is precisely the intent of our political masters. And if the purpose of “cyberwar” hype is to breed fear, mistrust and helplessness in the face of relentless attacks by shadowy actors only a mouse click away then, as Schneier sagely warns: “We reinforce the notion that we’re helpless–what person or organization can defend itself in a war?–and others need to protect us. We invite the military to take over security, and to ignore the limits on power that often get jettisoned during wartime.”
Destroy trust, increase fear: create the “Perfect Citizen.” (full long text).