Privacy Under Attack: The NSA Files Revealed New Threats to Democracy

Privacy under attack: the NSA files revealed new threats to democracy, by Eben Moglen. “It is utterly inconsistent with the American ideal to attempt to fasten procedures of totalitarianism on American constitutional self-governance. But there is an even deeper inconsistency between those ideals and the subjection of every other society on earth to mass surveillance.” Recommended reading.


Hat tip: Bruce Schneier. There’s more to learn in the comments on his link. Based on lectures by Eben Moglen at Columbia Law School in association with the Software Freedom Law Center.

Democracy is the Worst…

All this idea of a handful of men getting hold of the State machine, having the right to make the people do what suits their party and personal interests or doctrines, is completely contrary to every conception of surviving Western democracy. Some reverence for the laws ourselves have made, Some patient force to change them when we will. We accept in the fullest sense of the word the settled and persistent will of the people. All this idea of a group of super men and super-planners, such as we see before us, ‘playing the angel,’ as the French call it, and making the masses of the people do what they think is good for them, without any check or correction, is a violation of democracy. Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time; but there is the broad feeling in our country that the people should rule, continuously rule, and that public opinion, expressed by all constitutional means, should shape, guide, and control the actions of Ministers who are their servants and not their masters.

Sir Winston Churchill