Late on 26th February 2014 (London time) much of the world’s media reported on a surveillance program codenamed Optic Nerve.
On 4th February 2014 Faire Sans Dire published a news article entitled “When you’re next on line … smile please” effectively predicting that the revelation of GCHQ et al harvesting live pictures from webcams and their equivalents and even purportedly plain computer screens would be in the public domain sooner than later.
Faire Sans Dire wasn’t spying on anyone including GCHQ as well as the Guardian and its merry men like Greenwald and Miranda orbiting Uranus. (For those of you who don’t know, Miranda is a moon orbiting the planet Uranus!) All Faire Sans Dire was doing was applying intelligence and logic.
In fact it was obvious given everything disclosed in the public domain to date that programs like Optic Nerve were bound to have been created bearing in mind Google could ramble around the globe (without a care in the world) locking onto every webcam etc that could be detected.
On 5th June 2013 the “Snowden saga” began to dominate much of the world’s media: it was, of course, focused on that common thief Edward Snowden, the NSA and GCHQ. It goes without saying that some of you may believe Edward Snowden was a hero, a 21st Century Robin Hood.
Time will tell but he must have known that much of what was being reported in the media was “old hat” apart from the fancy acronyms and flash Harry project names: much of what was reported as “news” had been in the public domain for years. What’s more, the supposed “journalists” involved must have known it was “old hat” too unless their research was fundamentally flawed. If they gave a damn about people’s rights to privacy they could have written just as sensational articles about these topics years ago because as said most of the information about harvesting data by governments had been in the public domain for ages.
So why did Snowden do it and why did the “journalists”, the purported protectors of our liberties, wait for years to denounce governmental surveillance (notably only by the USA and the UK) much of which had been going on all over the world and been in the public domain since not that many years after 9/11?
Maybe Snowden did what he did to cover up what really happened in a very clever convoluted way and take the journalists along for a ride too. Snowden stole a vast treasure trove of data and then went to China followed by a hop, skip and jump to Russia. Of the data he stole only a small fraction related to issues about the privacy of those taxpaying citizens who paid his salary but that could easily have become his cloud cover.
Apparently some 80 per cent of the 1.6 million documents stolen were only of interest to military organisations not that anyone seems to know for sure what was stolen but that’s another story in itself which Faire Sans Dire may probe later. The extent to which he acted in collusion with others and if so whom remains an open book. Indeed he could have colluded with others who were unaware they were party to his scheming and treachery: but collude he did. Even so, there remain many “ifs” and “buts”.
Nevertheless, if you still think Snowden is a hero start asking yourself some more probing questions. For starters, why hasn’t he returned the harmful information he stole if, as he has painstakingly emphasized, he doesn’t want to harm the USA? He can’t safeguard it for long. Mind you, the same could be said of the NSA before this fiasco hit the news but in their defence it is hard to cope with anyone with the mentality of a suicide bomber like Snowden! No matter what, there are many more penetrating questions Snowden should answer.
Notwithstanding that digression from what transpired on 5th June 2013 when the Snowden saga started, on 17th February 2012, well over one year earlier, Faire Sans Dire reported in its first ever news article entitled “Ever-increasing cyberspace risks” that surveillance etc in cyberspace by many countries across the globe had got out of hand. On the same day in its second ever news article a section of that article amplified some of its concerns about not just governments’ abuses in cyberspace but how those abuses were magnets to criminals and other ne’er do wells.
If your brain is in lateral mode you may soon surmise why Faire Sans Dire published a second article that partially covered the very same topic that very same inauspicious day! It wasn’t planned like that.
Indeed Faire Sans Dire’s concerns weren’t so much with the USA, the UK or NATO countries but with criminals (like Snowden) infiltrating the state run data harvesting and interception agencies. Similarly there were concerns about corrupt or morally bankrupt countries such as North Korea where murder most foul at the paws of Dim Kim Jong-un’s dogs usually follows an indiscreet search, text or email by one of his elite.
So next time you want to know what is really going on before the “common herd” find out, why not ask Faire Sans Dire. After all, Shakespeare recognised the “common herd” for what they were and look where that got him. Julius Caesar didn’t and we should all know what happened to him on 15th March!
PS If you are concerned about all this then hold your nerve because next time you travel abroad you may want to consider just how many countries have a picture of you reading this article on their computers at passport control.
This article was first published on 26th February 2014.