It’s not much of a stretch to say that Edward Snowden, whether you think of him as immature or dangerously idealistic or idealistically heroic, was one of those who walked away in the parable of Omelas–and right into a complex dystopic saga. Uncovered, the NSA’s actions could have the same impact as an act of terrorism (where the T’s are the NSA and other agencies who surveil without serious oversight)–generating paranoia or helpless complacency or fear of repercussion within the general public. The federal sector–where it overlaps the small piece of the defense industry that employs me–shrugs off the surveillance with an “It’s been going on and will continue to happen regardless of public outcry. If we’d left it alone, we could have carried on feeling secure instead of fearful.”
We’re a comfortable, conservative country, willing to shout our fear, indignation, and anger via intertwining streams of personal and public media, than rise up in revolution. We’ve seen government response to physical public displays in our cities and other countries. That looks pretty uncomfortable.
So where can I get an affordable, portable TSA-like gateway to pat down in- and out-bound packets?