Unknown’s Letter (the Mask is Off)

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To whom it may concern,

I take umbrage at the NSA and their so-called PRISM surveillance program (code name US-984XN. Spooky name, no?). A little spying is to be expected from the most corrupt, technology-based government on the planet, but this simply goes too far.

The government ridiculously claims that the data they have collected in the PRISM project cannot “be intentionally used to target anyone living in the United States.” What the hell does that mean? In other words, they are saying: “Uh, yeah sure we’re spying on you, but we won’t use it against you in any way, we promise.” They don’t even need those guys in the movies in the “Jim’s Flowers” van anymore, they can just kick back, relax, and read all your emails from the comfort of their own home!

Even prior to the startling admission that major companies like Microsoft, Yahoo, Google and Facebook were freely giving information to the government when “pressured”, I may have been somewhat paranoid when it comes to online information. I try to stay low profile, not sending anything on Facebook or in an email that contains personal data (let alone credit card numbers like some other crazy people out there!) I also avoid social media except when it is absolutely necessary, preferring instead to use the little-remembered concept known in the 19th century as “speech” as my main form of communication.

Nonetheless, I must admit that I have Twitter and Facebook accounts, and a Tumblr page. In a few days I plan to remove myself from all of these services, but in the meantime I am trying to explain to both my friends and business associates why I am doing so . . . and sadly, the only way to share my message of change far and wide without having to tell the same story over and over is to use those same websites that I plan to remove myself from!

So Mr.Capitalism, this brings me to my question: in the world that we have created, is it possible to remove yourself from social media and the blogosphere entirely? Can one really achieve and sustain a productive social and work life without the usage of these new technologies?

Sadly, I fear that the answer might be no. What we have done is created a world where not only are these media services ‘tools’ to be molded and shifted according to ones beliefs, but rather as necessities, without which you are to be seen as a social pariah, out of touch with reality and the modern world. In that kind of world, everyone must recognize that they are susceptible to this kind of monitoring.

I think your answer can shed a lot of light on this issue since you straddle both sides of the debate: you both fund and supply the surveillance companies with the technological equipment they require AND you fight in the courts for the government to stay out of everyone’s business affairs and personal lives. Thank you for your time, I hope you choose to stand alongside internet activists around the world in choosing to call for greater transparency in governmental programs such as PRISM.

(No name was signed to this letter)

Dear “Anonymous” (like that really exists),

I would like to thank you for your letter, and further would like to let you know that your IP address, social security number and current location have been registered and sent to the proper authorities for analysis.

Just kidding! (Or am I . . .) Dun dun dun.

MISTER CAPITALISM