|USA Edition||Today Is Sunday December 8th, 2013|
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At a time when Americans’ trust in government is at an all time low recent revelations about electronic spying reinforce notions of government as a threat to personal safety and freedom, if not an emerging police state.
Now comes the German Chancellor, Mrs. Angela Merkel to ask her ally, President Barack Obama, to cease and desist from listening in on her private telephone conversations. She was preceded in such concerns by French President François Hollande, and Italian Premier Enrico Letta. Others may have complained in less public ways.
The public explosion of complaints about U.S. electronic surveillance now threatens British Prime Minister David Cameron’s efforts to finalize a long-range trade deal between European Union nations and the U.S. Germany’s, France’s and Italy’s complaint about their closest ally spying on the head of state may complicate or delay any such trade pact.
Which raises the question: At what cost American’s massive intrusion on privacy?
Clearly America has the power, wealth and technology to intercept and process everything everywhere. Does it know the long range cost? And is it willing to pay such a price?
Purists argue that the long term costs of NSA’s electronic surveillance programs may be far higher than the potential rewards. Given that the underlying purpose of American surveillance is to thwart terrorist attacks on U.S. citizens, personnel, interests and infrastructure the government may well be willing to pay any price.
One might make a strong argument against spying on our closest allies but for the reality that every nation with the technical capabilities are themselves listening exactly as the NSA is doing — and in some cases doing so jointly with U.S. authorities. Thus the complaints of America’s European allies have the feel of being for public consumption.
But there are other costs at home. At a time when Americans’ trust in government is at an all time low recent revelations about electronic spying reinforce notions of government as a threat to personal safety and freedom, if not an emerging police state.
|Governance & Privacy|
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