The Big Brother bargain: How government surveillance became easy and cheap

http://salon.com.feedsportal.com/c/35105/f/648624/s/362dfeaf/sc/36/l/0L0Ssalon0N0C20A140C0A10C210Cthe0Ibig0Ibrother0Ibargain0Ihow0Igovernment0Isurveillance0Ibecame0Ieasy0Iand0Icheap0Ipartner0C/story01.htm

For more than six months, Edward Snowden’s revelations about the National Security Agency (NSA) have been pouring out from the Washington Post, theNew York Times, the Guardian, Germany’s Der Spiegel, and Brazil’s O Globo, among other places. Yet no one has pointed out the combination of factors that made the NSA’s expanding programs to monitor the world seem like such a slam-dunk development in Washington. The answer is remarkably simple. For an imperial power losing its economic grip on the planet and heading into more austere times, the NSA’s latest technological breakthroughs look like a bargain basement deal when it comes to projecting power and keeping subordinate allies in line — like, in fact, the steal of the century. Even when disaster turned out to be attached to them, the NSA’s surveillance programs have come with such a discounted price tag that no Washington elite was going to reject them.Continue Reading…

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