Abiko asks John Roos: Is the US government spying on me?

Probably Our Man in Abiko’s saying what a number of people around the world are thinking outright, with the Edward Snowden (“Edouaardo” “The True Hooha”) revelations.

I’ve always felt that whatever goes over the internet can be intercepted over the internet. Encryption is one thing, but a lot of what gets sent isn’t. So it’s not surprising that the NSA or some other security outfit might be poking around, or more likely, scooping up massive dumps of data, to see what they can find. I remember someone once writing about how telephone calls under the old Ma Bell phone system used to be monitored for certain key words.

I keep saying: the law is behind (as in distance, not in backing) the technological advances. People set up a slam blog, like what happened to myself or Blogger Kei (Arena v. Doe), and good luck finding the party to serve. Someone wants to start an anonymous slander or harassment campaign on the net, well, it costs time and/or money to resolve. Someone tapes you in a clandestine fashion? I’ll let you know how that one turns out.

Having the Japan connection, I am particularly curious about what Snowden was doing working in Japan, from 2009 to whenever. What kind of internet security job was there in Japan? He was said to be working for a “military contractor”, which could mean anything. But what was it he was working on?

Abiko doesn’t strike me as the kind of person who is involved in things that the US government would want to be tracking. Unless books that promote a recognition and understanding of the suffering in natural disasters is some security issue. But there must be things that the US government wants to keep on top of in Northeast Asia—including Japan.

Snowden–who I see as no hero–sounds a bit like a braggart. So many computer types are, since they lucked into a math-related skill which happens to be in hot demand in the contemporary economy. But he obviously held jobs and found out things that are making the US government nervous about who he might talk to, and what he exactly knows.

This doesn’t sound like whistleblowing; it sounds like someone who committed to keep certain secrets, and then decided to take out a megaphone.

If our government is spying on us, people will steadily stop using the internet. The high technology people seem to think we all NEED to have this new things, the high-tech devices. It’s more that people LIKE the new things. But if the downside is that the law doesn’t re-form to protect the public, you’re going to see every innovation in high technology be another touchstone for huge controversy before it’s widely adopted—or not.

The internet can generate controversy. It probably shuts down when it generates controversy against itself.