Mass surveillance, power and control

There seems to be an irreversible flow of power–from the people to the government.

It happens all over the world, on all levels. In the EU there is also a flow of power from member states to Bussels. And power moves from democratic institutions to non-elected officials and bureaucrats.

Whilst this is a general problem–blanket mass surveillance makes it even more severe. It accentuates and accelerates the ongoing power shift.

Politics is the business of power. In principle, no one in a leading political position would be there unless he or she is willing to fight and outmaneuver others. Politicians are appointed by a method of selection by domination that rewards characteristics that are disagreeable, objectionable and dangerous. The same goes for career bureaucrats and most high functionaries.

Giving such people a tool like mass surveillance is unwise. They will use it for their own purposes. Because they can.

This is not about fighting terrorism or criminals. It’s all about power. And it works in two different ways.

The first is because information is power: Controlling and tapping into the flow of information is a source of power in it self.

The second is control: Mass surveillance is there to make sure that people obey. To identify and to stifle dissent. To protect the people in power from the general public. In the name of some supposed “national interest”.

This is not how things are supposed to be in a democracy.


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