Many groups for many reasons will want to equate NSA surveillance in the Prism program and phone systems and the Chinese state-sponsored hacking scandals that constantly emerge.
They're both hacking, but that's where the similarity ends. Prism, we are asked to trust, is about protecting Americans from terrorism.
Chinese state-sponsored hacking, it appears, is about stealing corporate and military secrets to give Chinese business and the military an unfair advantage and also to help the Chinese government suppress dissidents.
So in that sense, they're very different.
The real thing they have in common is this: They both harm American business.
Prism has seriously damaged the reputation, standing and trustworthiness of brand Silicon Valley. Governments and users abroad will now assume that using these world-leading American services expose them to shady data harvesting by the NSA. This gives non-American competitors a huge advantage. Thanks a lot, George Bush, Barack Obama and all the a-hole congress members who signed off on Prism.
Preventing terrorism is necessary. But why does the security apparatus get to unilaterally decide that anti-terror activity is more important than American freedom, privacy and the success of Silicon Valley.
It seems to me that making America obsessed with terrorism is the goal of terrorism. Falling into this trap feels like a surrender, or at the very least a blunder of the most gigantic kind.
Everybody will talk about Prism's trampling of the 4th amendment to the Constitution. And everybody should talk more about its trampling on the 1st amendment -- the "gag order" that goes with the unconstitutional compliance requirements.
But what hardly anybody is talking about is the trampling taking place on the technology companies that have been hacked by the NSA.
President Calvin Coolidge famously said: "The chief business of the American people is business." Nowadays, it seems like our government believes that the business of the whole nation is to freak out about terrorism.
Enough! It's the job of elected leaders to balance concerns about security against our way of life. And they're not getting the balance right.
Instead of spending trillions on massive data centers to record every phone call, every email and every social networking post to protect against terrorism, why not divert some of those resources to protect the American business interest. We could start by protecting us from the Chinese hackers.
In other words, instead of using our trillions of tax dollars and our nation's hacking skills to help China harm US business, why not protect do something different for a change and protect American businesses?
- Beijing International Schoolpresent
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