Sunday, November 16, 2014

America's rising surveillance apparatus and the future of telecommunications as a global force for peace.

     An American journalist by the name of Shane Harris has written a book entitled “@War: the Rising Military-Internet Complex” and it's about the in intracracies of the United States government's surveillance apparatus and the collusion of our law enforcement and spy agencies with American telecommunications companies.  Salon has posted an excerpt of the book that talks about the National Security Agency's relationship with Google, AT&T, CenturyLink, and other telecomm companies under the justification of cyber protection and warfare.

     Twenty-first century computers and an establishment of an interconnected online world of communication, commerce, gaming, and espionage and be the defining characteristics of the turn of the twenty-first century and they will most likely have lasting consequences that Generation Y will be forced to deal with in the coming decades.  The generation that has come to be called the millennial generation views itself as so-called “digital natives,” meaning that we have grown up with technology in such an instrumental way that we've grown more comfortable with it than any generation prior.  However; this can have potentially dangerous side-effects in regards to how we use the technology that we've come to be reliant on.  Many current heads of state and corporate giants (in the US and abroad) are still operating under Cold War mentalities of intelligence-gathering, surveillance, and proxy warfare; but this mentality looks to keep the world locked in a state of bitter distrust with each country looking to gain something on others.  The American War on Terror was designed to prevent the rise of another world power with the capability of challenging the US and is driving US foreign policy with the intent to maintain American dominance throughout the world.  As a result, we are seeing the internet and World Wide Web becoming tools of government/corporate espionage and modern warfare rather than tools of peaceful aims like international communication/diplomacy and humanitarian work.

     In the coming decades, as more torches are passed from the baby boomers to the younger generations, it will be up to us (millennials) to decide what direction to take the world, which will involve questions about how to regulate the emerging virtual apparatus that we are calling the Web.  Will continue the culture of fear that was bred by our forefathers during the Cold War, or will we make an effort to move away from that and attempt to unify humanity through technology?

     Sacrificing freedom for security leaves with neither freedom nor security, so governments need protect their people from outside threats while maintaining civil liberties of each of its citizens.  If maintaining civil liberties means being slightly less protected otherwise, I choose to maintain liberty.  The Web is becoming a larger part of people’s lives every day and privacy allows for the purest forms of self-expression; privacy is crucial to liberty.  Millennials have the power to advance human societies to their next level of consciousness, a more peaceful interaction.  We need to use our voices now and demand universal civil rights protections, not just for Americans, but for every human being.

     There is nothing more important in a democracy than well-informed electorate.  Journalism is the tool the people have to hold their leaders accountable.  Be a citizen journalist.

     In a democratic society, voting is the least one can do as an active citizen.  Being political is a constant state of mind and, in an ideal democracy, everyone is political.  That is why an effective news media, so important; the media is supposed to be person  the arbiters of honesty and accountability.  That's why I want to be journalist, so I can educate Americans to and give the knowledge and know-how to make reasonable decisions on school boards, in the audience of a debate, and in the voting booth every 2-4 years.

     You can say that the system is broken because we don't get  the leaders that want, but that's only because most Americans don't actively participate in the process.  Americans can make their system better if we all come together and demand it to be better.  And, if you don't participate in the process, that gives the wealthy elite classes even more power because the majority's voices are not being heard.  Good luck trying to overthrow the current system (that's not going to happen).  We have to change society from the inside.

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