Uitdaging tot transparantie

NEW YORK – Dus nu weten wij Amerikanen het. We weten dat onze overheid niet alleen buitenlanders bespioneert; ze bespioneert ook ons.

Natuurlijk is het meeste wat de overheid over jou ‘weet’ alleen ‘bekend’ in de zin dat iemand er bij zou kunnen komen als ze meer over jou zouden willen weten, of dat jouw data binnen een of ander patroon vallen dat ze onderzoeken. Dus, tot op zekere hoogte, zijn de data die overheden verzamelen onschadelijk. Tenminste totdat zulke informatie gebruikt wordt voor een doel in de echte wereld, zoals mensen op een no-fly lijst zetten of om mensen wiens online posts ‘problematisch’ zijn in een institutie te stoppen. En dat is nog maar het begin.

Persoonlijk ben ik met tegenzin bereid te accepteren dat de overheid van de VS mensen bespioneert, vooral buitenlanders, zolang dit binnen regels gebeurt die publiek bekend zijn en worden gehandhaafd. Het argument dat ‘de anderen het ook doen’ is zwak, maar het is ook waar. De afwezigheid van een wereldregering ontmoedigt machtsmisbruik en hoe imperfect ook, dwingt dit regeringen om te concurreren (ook al spannen ze vaak samen). En in een imperfecte wereld is een deel van de taak van elke regering om haar burgers te beschermen tegen vijanden.

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