The Invisible Line Between Private and Public

During my early days of libertarianism I, like most young libertarians, developed a distaste for the public sector while I pointed to the great things accomplished by the private sector. Now that I’m older and, I hope, wiser I’ve learned that the divide between the private and public sectors is nonexistent. Every major corporation in this country has been co-opted into the state’s machinery. The biggest technology companies have granted the National Security Agency (NSA) access to their customers’ data. That access comes with a downside though. The NSA has a limited number of agents so combing through all the collected data, even after automating the process greatly, isn’t feasible. This leaves the NSA with a major problem but, luckily for them, the private sector is always willing to help:

Amid the torrent of stories about the shocking new revelations about the National Security Agency, few have bothered to ask a central question. Who’s actually doing the work of analyzing all the data, metadata and personal information pouring into the agency from Verizon and nine key Internet service providers for its ever-expanding surveillance of American citizens?

Well, on Sunday we got part of the answer: Booz Allen Hamilton. In a stunning development in the NSA saga, Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald revealed that the source for his blockbuster stories on the NSA is Edward Snowden, “a 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA and current employee of the defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton.” Snowden, it turns out, has been working at NSA for the last four years as a contract employee, including stints for Booz and the computer-services firm Dell.

A piece of this recent surveillance fiasco that’s often overlooked is that Edward Snowdan was able to acquire the information he leaked while employed for an NSA contractor. Booz Allen Hamilton, as a contractor, is just as much apart of the state as the NSA itself. Shit like this happens everyday and it makes finding the line between the private and public sectors impossible.

Needless to say, I no longer point to the private sector as an example of greatness. Now I point to the “black” and “grey” markets, which work outside of the state’s authority. Agorists businesses, ones being run in a manner that directly opposes the state, hold a very special place in my heart.