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Big Fucking Data

Here’s my reaction to the whole NSA thing: like a lot of people on the left, I kinda figured this was happening anyway. I kinda figured that the PATRIOT Act was written specifically to allow this sort of thing (whether the particular actions violated the statute or not, it allowed them to do this sort of thing) and reauthorized and modified to allow this sort of thing, all with widespread public support. So when it got leaked that this sort of thing is actually happening and people expressed outrage, well, my instinct is to say why weren’t you outraged ten years ago? Or five years ago?

Of course, many of the people who are outraged now were, in fact, outraged over the initial PATRIOT Act and its revisions and extensions, so there’s that. And there’s the other thing, which is that being right late is one hell of a lot better than being wrong; my irritation about people only being outraged now is, pretty much, dickishness. Far better to be irritated at people who were so utterly ineffective at explaining what was outrageous about the PATRIOT Act in the first place—people, that is, including YHB—that it’s only now that people get it.

Anyway. this is interesting, as is this, as is a bunch of other stuff out there, including My Gracious Host’s father’s FBI file for some insight into our law-enforcement snoopishness. And it was Atrios who pointed out that this is largely a scam, that the incentives are all for NSA to pour ever-increasing quantities of pelf into the pockets of Booz Allen Hamilton and their colleagues for ever-increasing snoopage into our lives.

And, if you follow the Madisonian system, the counter-incentive is provided only in… well, outrage. Yours, mine.

By the way, the absolute best and most productive path for that outrage is to contact the campaign of a legislative hopeful and demand a policy statement that agrees with your priorities. So if any of y’all happen to live in a place with, f’r’ex, a special election for the US Senate coming up within a few weeks, now would be an excellent time to indicate to your preferred candidate or candidates that you are outraged.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,