Knowing The Government Is Spying On You Changes How You Act

from the if-you've-done-nothing-wrong? dept

We've already had a few posts discussing why the whole "if you've done nothing wrong, you've got nothing to hide" argument is bogus, but this weekend's edition of the radio show This American Life had a fantastic short section in which the host, Ira Glass, spoke to lawyers for detainees at Guantanamo Bay, who are all pretty certain that every one of their phone calls is being recorded and listened to. What's amazing is the emotional response you hear from most of these lawyers, who recognize that they can no longer comfortably speak freely to anyone on the phone ever again. The stories of them not being able to be emotional with their children when speaking to them on the phone, or in which their friends accuse them of being especially curt and officious whenever they call are somewhat heartbreaking.

These are the things that many people simply don't recognize about the psychological impact of a surveillance state. When you have no real downtime -- no time when you can be free from prying eyes, it messes with your brain in a really profound way. This short segment (just 8 minutes long) really highlights how much a little thing like the inability to ever speak to someone privately changes your entire way of speaking and communicating. As we seem to be drifting rapidly towards such a surveillance state, these are the issues that we should be thinking about and understanding. There may be certain benefits to being able to do widespread surveillance, but we should not and cannot ignore the costs.


Reader Comments (rss)

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    Ninja (profile), Jun 18th, 2013 @ 8:09am

    Obviously. Even if you are sure to be law abiding you'll always have that pesky doubt deep down your mind that will erode you overtime. If you know you are monitored 100% of the time in your communications are you really going to say those naughty, pornographic things to your partner? Are you going to discuss your personal dilemmas? I wouldn't. Sometime in the future because I slipped somewhere this may be scrutinized by others. Or worse, hacked and released in the wild. No, you cannot rest with a surveillance state. This alone is enough to drive people insane.

     

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      The Real Michael, Jun 18th, 2013 @ 6:22pm

      Re:

      No way am I changing the way I act or communicate. I don't live in fear, not of government nor "terrorists".

       

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    Akari Mizunashi (profile), Jun 18th, 2013 @ 9:46am

    I don't know. The people in the UK seem to have adapted well, if you read this idiot's http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jun/18/edward-snowden-leaks-grave-threat article.

    I love the line "Snowden has given Beijing something it couldn't achieve on its own: moral equivalence."

    Of course I jest about those in the UK, but when articles like this try to dispel why the surveillance isn't an issue of a police state, it's obviously written by someone who lives in one.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2013 @ 10:06am

    I was going to comment, but then realized the NSA is watching me...

     

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      Michael, Jun 18th, 2013 @ 10:30am

      Re:

      They are not watching you.

      They are reading your email, tracking your movements, and noting everything about all of your phone calls.

      The new xbox gives them the ability to watch.

       

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        DrS, Jun 18th, 2013 @ 10:47am

        Re: Re:

        But not the 2 cameras on the two phones in my house?
        Not the 2 tablets with 3 total cameras?
        Not the 2 personal laptops with cameras?
        Not the work laptop with a camera?

        I'm sure those are all completely unhackable.

        Heck, with the work one, they might not even have to work that hard. Everyone trusts their employer, right?

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2013 @ 3:05pm

        Re: Re:

        Your computer must be a very old one. All modern computers come with a camera they can monitor you.

         

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    weneedhelp (profile), Jun 18th, 2013 @ 10:09am

    the mental cost of drones

    Coming to a US city near you.

     

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    RyanNerd (profile), Jun 18th, 2013 @ 10:17am

    Reminds me of 1984

    Don't be guilty of a "Face Crime" (such as not looking happy when Big Brother has a victory).

    Sad really, it breaks my heart to watch as America continues to tumble more and more down into an unconstitutional Police State.

     

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    Michael, Jun 18th, 2013 @ 10:24am

    Knowing The Government Is Spying On You Changes How You Act

    That is complete bunk.

    Knowing the government is spying on you means you are probably going to have to deny that the government is spying on you so you cannot possibly admit that your actions have been changed by the spying. So, this is completely impossible to study if it were to ever happen.

    I mean, what spying? My government? No way. That is reserved for communist nations and dictatorships.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2013 @ 10:31am

    Duh!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2013 @ 10:48am

    those in positions of government and of power with the 'ear of the government' are interested in nothing other than what they want. they are not interested in what they have to do to achieve what they want. they are not interested in what has to be given up, lost or taken away to achieve what they want. this is a clear example of everything a government and a nation should NOT be doing!! but when the person most interested in doing this is nothing but an egotistical prat, expect no let up!

     

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    Sammy, Jun 18th, 2013 @ 11:01am

    Second Amendment

    I used to think the US was a gun crazy state with the Second Amendment.

    Well I think it is time for the true meaning of that amendment

     

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    Rapnel (profile), Jun 18th, 2013 @ 11:14am

    Think of the Children!

    How about now? Can we actually think of the children now?

     

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    Wolfy, Jun 18th, 2013 @ 11:24am

    Cameras hacked?

     

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    wolfy, Jun 18th, 2013 @ 11:25am

    cameras hacked?

    A little piece of tape over the lens will fix that.

     

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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2013 @ 11:44am

    Why is he so desperate to censor this post??

    See it for yourselves...

    http://bit.ly/14gT9mc

    More to come. Plenty more.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2013 @ 7:59pm

      Re:

      This is a private, non-government site. Mike has the right to deny you access. By circumventing his attempts to deny you access, you are in violation of the law. According to most of the trolls around here it doesn't matter how easy it was to circumvent his measures, you are guilty and should be hung. How does it feel to be a filthy hacker criminal?

       

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    Rekrul, Jun 18th, 2013 @ 12:31pm

    If Snowden really wanted to derail the NSA domestic surveillance program, he should have used his access to record some phone calls by top members of congress and then released them.

    Maybe hearing their private calls made public would get them off their asses.

     

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    art guerrilla (profile), Jun 18th, 2013 @ 12:43pm

    i object...

    *NOT* because an innocent person will feel surveilled...

    *NOT* because it will change how we live...

    *NOT* because it is expensive bullshit for no good return...

    i object because it is MORALLY WRONG and constitutionally horrific, *regardless* of any/all good/bad consequences...

    i know, i know, morals are so last millennium...

    art guerrilla
    aka ann archy
    eof

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2013 @ 2:24pm

    When you have no real downtime -- no time when you can be free from prying eyes, it messes with your brain in a really profound way.


    Do you realize you've just made the case against Christianity?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2013 @ 3:38pm

    See the link that Mike is desperate to censor: http://rdd.me/e9cd9hqe

    Mr. Freedom hates that his constituents even know this link exists.

    More to come!

     

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    Anonymous, Jun 18th, 2013 @ 5:02pm

    It makes me even more rebellious.

     

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    BentFranklin (profile), Jun 18th, 2013 @ 8:02pm

    This article is the best counterpoint to anyone who brags they have nothing to hide.

     

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    Mike Gogulski, Jun 29th, 2013 @ 5:42am

    drifting?

    "As we seem to be drifting rapidly towards such a surveillance state..."

    Mike, Mike, buddy... there is no more drifting. We were talking about drifting during the 1990s. The surveillance state is here. It's no longer a matter of transition or potentiality. Pervasive surveillance is now part of the background context. All that comes next is that it transforms from something notable as new into worth discussing only in the terms we use to address changes in the weather.

     

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