Mark Zuckerberg runs a giant spy machine in Palo Alto, California. He wasn’t the first to build one, but his was the best, and every day hundreds of thousands of peopl eupload the most intimate details of their lives to the Internet. The real coup wasn’t hoodwinking the public into revealing their thoughts, closest associates, and exact geographic coordinates at any given time. Rather, it was getting the public to volunteer that information. Then he turned off the privacy settings.
If the state had organized such an informationd rive, protestors would have burned down the White House. But the state is the natural beneficary of this new “social norm.” Today, that information is regularly used in court proceedings and law enforcement. There is no need for warrants or subpoenas. Judges need not be consulted. Th Forth Amendment does not come into play. Intelligence agencies don’t have to worry about violating laws protecting the citizenry from wiretapping and information gathering. Sharing information “more openly” and with “more people” is a step backward in civil liberties. And spies, whether foreign and domestic, are “more people,” too.
* Marc Ambinder and D.B. Grady. (2013). Deep State: Inside the Government Secrecy Industry. New Jersey: Wiley. Pp. 27.