Government spying and corporate spying

spy-vs-spy-without-bombs-775529I’ve been told that I should not complain about secret NSA, CIA and FBI surveillance of the public because corporate surveillance is so much more thorough and detailed.   Google knows more about me than the NSA ever could.

I’ve also been told that I should not complain about corporate spying because any information I yield up through a commercial transaction is the result of a voluntary decision on my part.

I think that the question of whether Big Government or Big Business is the worse problem is, increasingly, a distinction without a difference.

I think government surveillance agencies have access, or soon will get access, to all the information that Google, MasterCard, Barnes & Noble and other corporate entities have about me.  And I think that if I ever were able to create serious problems for a big corporation, they would be able to get access to any files that police and intelligence agencies have.  From the standpoint of those in charge, Big Data will be one seamless whole, and it won’t matter whether a particular datum’s origin is public or private.

ANATOMY OF THE DEEP STATE by Mike Lofgren for Moyers & Company


4 Responses to “Government spying and corporate spying”

  1. whungerford Says:

    Government data collection can be limited by law; it isn’t clear if or how corporate spying could be restricted.

    Responsible government data collection is in the public interest–it might prevent serious crimes. Corporate data collection is needlessly intrusive–I have no interest in being bombarded with targeted ads. It isn’t clear how the use of such data can be restricted. We could pass laws against transferring such data to another, but they would be hard to enforce.


    • philebersole Says:

      In 1966, General Motors apologized for hiring private investigators to spy on Ralph Nader in hope of finding personal information they could use to discredit him and the cause he represented. About the same time, the Federal Bureau of Investigation wiretapped Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and actually did find personal information that J. Edgar Hoover used to try to discredit and undermine him.

      Now GM was a private company and the FBI was a public agency, but I don’t regard what GM attempted to do and the FBI actually did are two different kinds of things. I think they both were examples of the same thing, an attempt to protect people in power against their opponents.

      I think the coming of Big Data provides new opportunities for corporations and governments to dig out information with which to discredit or blackmail dissenters, and I see nothing to prevent them from working together to do this — barring a public opinion that is much more aroused than it is now.


      • whungerford Says:

        Really, GM hiring persons to investigate a critic and government using its powers to destroy a spokesperson for racial justice are one and the same? In this case, I see GM’s actions as relatively responsible, and Hoover’s actions as clearly illegal. In the case of MLK, Hoover was clearly out-of-control–mad. It seems very pessimistic to assume that is the norm for government. While I can think of other examples of government gone crazy, the murder of Fred Hampton or RMN’s “dirty tricks” for example, I prefer to view such things as aberrations.


  2. Holden Says:

    This is a great example of modern day Fascism, at least how I’ve always interpreted it.

    One thing I do like is that, at least with all the exposure to the issue, we now see a clearer picture than ever as to how to circumvent the spying if needed.

    You simply go off grid. Easier said than done, but possible if you really care to have privacy to at least certain elements of your life.

    For example, there are certain items I only pay for in cash (alcohol mainly). The reason being is, I assume soon enough credit card companies and insurance companies will wisen up and decide to datamine my purchase history for reasons to raise my premiums.

    go off grid.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: