Possibly the least productive conversation that has arisen since the great Snowden leak is what rules Congress should implement to protect the privacy of online users. Asking the state to pass rules to curtail its own misdeeds is like asking a wolf to guard your sheep from danger. As an advocate of self-defense I, along with my peers, often point out how ineffective government rules are at protecting people. Restraining orders, for example, are nothing more than pieces of paper that are unable to actually protect you from an aggressor who doesn’t care about disobeying a judge’s command. Laws against murder, assault, and rape have not stopped murders, assaults, or rapes. To make my point even more clear, rules have already been established to protect the privacy of online users but the National Security Agency (NSA) broken them thousands of times per year:
The NSA audit obtained by The Post, dated May 2012, counted 2,776 incidents in the preceding 12 months of unauthorized collection, storage, access to or distribution of legally protected communications. Most were unintended. Many involved failures of due diligence or violations of standard operating procedure. The most serious incidents included a violation of a court order and unauthorized use of data about more than 3,000 Americans and green-card holders.
Rules are meant to be broken as they old saying goes. No amount of Congressional oversight will protect us from Big Brother. Hell, Congress is Big Brother. Let’s put the conversation about what laws to pass to rest. It’s no more productive than an argument between two children who are trying to determine if Batman is better than Superman (granted, since that argument involves Batman it’s already more productive than any conversation about what laws to pass). What we need to discuss is how to protect ourselves from prying eyes at all times. Even if the NSA stopped spying on us we’re still being watched by numerous corporate entities, such as Google and Facebook, that have a keen interest in tracking our every move online.
We should be having conversations about cryptography, anonymity, and decentralization. Those things, unlike the passage of laws, actually hold the potential to protect us from Big Brother.