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Last Resort for Confronting 'Electronic Big Brother' (Le Temps, Switzerland)


"Barack Obama's explanations (Internet espionage is not about Americans, and is carefully controlled) do nothing to reassure those living outside the United States, unaware of how Washington will leash the monster it has spawned. ... Fortunately, this Leviathan also has an Achilles heel: the individual. ... Their existence is, for now, the best guarantee that the nightmare of Electronic Big Brother will not materialize."


By Sylvain Besson


Translated By Pierre Guittard


June 14, 2013


Switzerland - Le Temps - Original Article (French)

Private First Class Bradley Manning, the person behind the WikiLeaks disclosures of decades of classified U.S. diplomatic cables. His status as an American her, along with one-time CIA technician Edward Snowden, may be in dispute, but not his place in history.


TELEGRAPH NEWS VIDEO: Daniel Ellsberg calls Edward Snowden's NSA leak 'among the most significant in American history,' June 11, 00:01:32RealVideo

An individual act of disclosure becomes the last resort for confronting the nightmare of electronic Big Brother.


The Swiss secret services, ridiculed last year for allowing a computer technician to steal terabytes of data, must be smiling over the mishap that has struck their U.S. counterparts. By unveiling the NSA's program of Internet surveillance, Edward Snowden has eclipsed Bradley Manning, the soldier-analyst at the heart of the revelations of WikiLeaks. The two men have a lot in common: young and idealistic - Edward Snowden is "libertarian," they both appear to have discovered with dismay, what their government has authorized in the name of national security. The question that they raise is the same: are they heroes, or traitors?

Posted By Worldmeets.US


In the Snowden case, the United States has become a victim of a surveillance apparatus that has proliferated since September 11, 2001. Tens of thousands of intelligence specialists have been recruited, secret sites have proliferated, and the stove piping that separated the services has given way to the emergence of a huge network of sensitive information - and with a consequently greater risk of leakage.


The nature of intelligence gathering has changed. It is no longer limited to the acquisition of targeted data. Now, by means of the Internet and the digitization of the most trivial facts and gestures, it involves the automated collection of huge amounts of information about people's lives. The question of monitoring these activities suggests the need for some new terms. Barack Obama's explanations (Internet espionage is not about Americans, and is carefully controlled) do nothing to reassure those living outside the United States, unaware of how Washington will leash the monster it has spawned.


Fortunately, this Leviathan also has an Achilles heel: the individual. People like Manning or Snowden, who said, in the jaded words of a disillusioned intelligence specialist, "feel empowered to make a moral judgment on the conduct of the state for which he works," and that "there will be more and more of these types of cases." Their existence is, for now, the best guarantee that the nightmare of Electronic Big Brother will not materialize.

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Posted By Worldmeets.US June 14, 2013, 6:19am