Just who wants to wiretap the Internet?

New legislation will make it easier for the government to tap every cellphone call and every email. Who's pushing this?

Clay Bennett / The Christian Science Monitor
This cartoon first appeared on July 31, 2003, in response to the Patriot Act. Under a different label, the government is again looking to prioritize safety over privacy.

I’m reading the predictable but still startling story in the New York times called “U.S. Wants to Make It Easier to Wiretap the Internet.” The idea is that the government wants to wiretap every cell conversation, every email, every transmission, and wants to put the burden of providing for that capacity on private companies. Instead of enhancing real security, providing betters services, improving technology in a way that consumers want, these private companies will have to shift massive resources toward developing some dumb bureaucratic mandate in the government’s ongoing episodes of Spy vs. Spy, or Kaos vs. Control, or whatever you want to call these ridiculous games the government plays. They aren’t really about your security. They are about the government’s security.

In any case, I began to look at the story from the point of view of politics. Who is supporting this thing? Well, the Obama administration plans to submit legislation but the driving force for it seems oddly removed from the actual Obama administration. Congress is not in the picture here much. I think the clue comes from the lead of the story: “”Federal law enforcement and national security officials are preparing to seek sweeping new regulations…” And there you have it. Law enforcement and security officials: this is the core of what is called the state. The rest of what we see and what we vote on is the veneer.

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