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The Trouble With Snowden
I have been raising the alarm loud and long on my Facebook page over the NSA's decision to take up the mantle of the surveillance state that the Stasi laid down twenty-five years ago. But I haven't said much here on the blog.
One of the NSA's many cell phone tracking methods. CREDIT: Washington Post
Today's Snowden revelation seems almost pedestrian: the NSA is tracking your location using your cell phone. Not "can". Not "if it suspects you're a terrorist." Not "if you're a foreigner." Unless you've luckily slipped through today's collection dragnet (you'll be back in soon enough!), the NSA is tracking your location using your cell phone. Awesome WaPo infographic on your right.
But this only seems pedestrian because we have lost perspective, inured to the NSA's behaviour over a long year of revelations. Three years ago, on the other hand, this was so implausible it was a joke on 30 Rock: there was a character who refused to own a cell phone, because he thought it was a "CIA tracking device." This established that the character was a nut. I thought it was funny at the time, and of course I agreed that only a fringe lunatic would believe it.
The problem with the Snowden revelations is that they are proving, over and over and over again, that the fringe lunatics have been *exactly correct* about *almost everything* for the past ten years.