First we saw Micah White split from Adbusters and announce the creation of the Occupy Solidarity Network, an explicitly political creature with its root in Occupy Wall Street. Now two weeks later Democracy brings us WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange Calls on Computer Hackers to Unite Against NSA Surveillance (starting at 31:00 mark).
This is much more serious than one guy with a history of disruptive journalism calling out the man. Two weeks ago in NSA Spies, Brazil Shuns Boeing, Selects Saab we saw a U.S. defense contractor lose a $4.5B fighter fleet upgrade due to the NSA’s clumsy spy games. This comes after a steady flow of negative news about U.S. communications and cloud vendors, and the world has not yet begun to digest the shocking revelation that the NSA can intercept new computers and other devices in transit in order to ‘root’ them.
The defenders of our hard won freedoms are at work as well. The ACLU is suing the NSA in an attempt to find out just how deep the illicit surveillance rabbit hole goes.
The harm done to U.S. technology companies can not be overstated. The NSA has access starting with phone call metadata and ending with the ability to intercept your new laptop and install malware on it if they feel you are a person of interest. I was already fairly encrypted myself and thanks to Edward Snowden’s revelations I find that it’s not just the techies who want this. Everyone I work with to the last man has agreed to some sort of communication privacy upgrade, from OTR encrypted chat to PGP encrypted email to various schemes to ensure that voice calls remain private.
Thanks to the NSA’s astonishing overreach every person with an opinion worth consideration already has or will very soon be disappearing behind a wall of open, audited cryptographic tools. One of the many things being discussed in this world is the need for proper oversight. A Quadrennial Intelligence Community Review would be a step in the right direction, but only if the members of Congress charged with reviewing IC activities are not hopelessly compromised by the very system they are meant to oversee.