Medium: Why should you care about government surveillance?

Posted by Soledad Vega on Wed, 07/08/2015 - 10:49

A question we get asked too many times. 

Article by Thor Benson for Medium

“If you’re not doing anything wrong, then you have nothing to hide,” people often say. That’s true. If you’ve never driven too fast in your car, taken a hit from a joint or if you never drank a beer before you turned 21, perhaps you’ve never done anything wrong. Perhaps you are perfect. That being said, most people break the law now and then. That’s not the point, though. It’s not always about you.

Regardless of the fact the president’s own review board has found domestic surveillance doesn’t stop terrorist threats and that a federal court ruled the way the NSA conducted mass surveillance was illegal, there are other important reasons for the American populace to care about the government spying on its own citizens.

John Oliver famously attempted to get Americans to care about surveillance on his show Last Week Tonight. He flew to Russia to interview Edward Snowden, and he had him frame the debate around if the NSA can see your dick pics under specific surveillance authorities. It was hilarious and got the issue some attention, even though Snowden had already exposed the fact NSA employees regularly share people’s nude photos. It’s a contentious topic, and the tides are slowly starting to change. They need to change more quickly.

The fact of the matter is: We live in a society, and not everything that should matter to you will affect you directly. I am not an illegal immigrant, but I care about the rights of illegal immigrants. I am not homosexual, but I care about their rights. I am not the victim of racist police violence, but I believe it is a very important topic. Many people have been able to see how these things don’t directly affect them but are significant concerns for a functioning and moral society. There are three groups affected by surveillance every single American should care about: Lawyers, activists and journalists.

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