by Christoper Jasinski
I love a good argument. Most that I have these days tend to focus on civil liberties, and the issue of government surveillance comes up frequently. It’s usually during these debates, running on some soliloquy-within-a-soliloquy about the ever-increasing Orwellian surveillance state, that my counterpart will let this argument stumble out:
“I don’t see why it’s such a big deal. I’ve got nothing to hide.”
Edward Snowden’s revelations of the NSA’s apparatus for collecting and indefinitely storing troves of innocent peoples’ internet activity and metadata sparked one of the most important conversations our society has had in a generation. Even the politically uninvolved started to wake up. The experience was visceral for many. There was something inherently wrong about an opaque government agency collecting some of our most personal information.
Simultaneously, another group of people emerged from this debate. I affectionately refer to them as The Panopticon Nihilists. These folks aren’t evil extremists. They’re not a subversive cult who meets bi-weekly in an underground bunker. They’re not even plotting to take over the world. Quite the opposite.
They’re probably your kindly neighbor who just bought an Amazon Echo for their kitchen.
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