STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
Is India's New Snooping a Good Idea?
By Staff News & Analysis - June 20, 2013

India sets up elaborate system to tap phone calls, e-mail … India has launched a wide-ranging surveillance program that will give its security agencies and even income tax officials the ability to tap directly into e-mails and phone calls without oversight by courts or parliament, several sources said. The expanded surveillance in the world's most populous democracy, which the government says will help safeguard national security, has alarmed privacy advocates at a time when allegations of massive U.S. digital snooping beyond American shores has set off a global furor. – Reuters

Dominant Social Theme: This is a bad time. We need to roll back this stuff.

Free-Market Analysis: It is fashionable to pooh-pooh the idea of directed history. But how does one explain the convergence of large democracies and their increasing affection for authoritarian invasions of privacy and freedom?

Now apparently India is embarking on the same pathway of intimidation and authoritarian secrecy as the US, Britain, Europe, etc. What does this leave among the major powers? Russia? China? Aren't they already there?

This brings up the qualms we have about the courageous revelations of Edward Snowden. Our basic question remains: Is a message being sent? Are those who control the Western mainstream media interested in explaining more fully the West's blossoming surveillance society?

The mainstream media IS controlled. This is simply a fact. And central banks evidently and obviously have concentrated ownership as well. Just investigate the BIS.

Governments are controlled by money power and money power is global. But globalism has come under attack via what we call the Internet Reformation. And the push-back, it seems, is one that involves increasing intimidation.

Major news organizations like Reuters are going out of their way to let us know the surveillance state is an increasingly active paradigm. Here's more:

"If India doesn't want to look like an authoritarian regime, it needs to be transparent about who will be authorized to collect data, what data will be collected, how it will be used, and how the right to privacy will be protected," said Cynthia Wong, an Internet researcher at New York-based Human Rights Watch.

The Central Monitoring System (CMS) was announced in 2011 but there has been no public debate and the government has said little about how it will work or how it will ensure that the system is not abused. The government started to quietly roll the system out state by state in April this year, according to government officials.

Eventually it will be able to target any of India's 900 million landline and mobile phone subscribers and 120 million Internet users. Interior ministry spokesman K.S. Dhatwalia said he did not have details of CMS and therefore could not comment on the privacy concerns. A spokeswoman for the telecommunications ministry, which will oversee CMS, did not respond to queries.

Indian officials said making details of the project public would limit its effectiveness as a clandestine intelligence-gathering tool. "Security of the country is very important. All countries have these surveillance programs," said a senior telecommunications ministry official, defending the need for a large-scale eavesdropping system like CMS.

"You can see terrorists getting caught, you see crimes being stopped. You need surveillance. This is to protect you and your country," said the official, who is directly involved in setting up the project. He did not want to be identified because of the sensitivity of the subject.

The trouble with this logic is simple. Government is unfortunately usually the largest purveyor of criminal activity at any given time. Over 150 millions deaths are directly attributable to government activities in the 20th century, according to Black Book.

And government "crimes" are not ordinarily those that have been recognized throughout human history. For most of human history, it was widely accepted that if you left one place and went to another, the place where you'd previously lived would not have a further claim on your income via taxation.

But that is no longer true. Increasingly, governments assert powers that are antithetical to accepted natural law and declare that those who disobey are "criminals." Within this paradigm, criminality is in the proverbial eye of the beholder.

Something is driving this movement to extend the boundaries of government authority and to expand definitions of criminality. We tend to think it is a globalist preoccupation and one that has been triggered by the awakening masses.

But we wonder if an unwilling majority can be effectively intimidated over a long period of time, and if this method of building and maintaining society is a stable one.

After Thoughts

This leads to all sorts of further speculations …

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