DIGITAL AMERICA

From “security” to manipulation

// Posted by on 02/22/2014 (1:10 AM)

The United States has deliberately and publicly stated its intent to control the “third space”/cyberspace. Washington has used different arguments to do so mainly to attract support, or at least diminish opposition, from its citizens. Also, according to The Guardian one of the arguments stated by the National Security Agency (NSA) is that it needs citizens’ private data to maintain a secure country and help prevent another terrorist attack like 9/11. However in their process to maintain security the espionage policies the US has adopted have completely erased the line between citizens’ private and public information.

Apart from distinguishing between private and public citizen information, the use that the government has made of the information they share with their citizens is also a topic to discuss. Journalists such as Gleen Greenwald argue that through different programs, which have been reveled not just by Edward Snowden, but also by whistleblowers Daniel Ellsberg and Bradley Manning, the government has been able to control its population by manipulating public opinion through telecommunications in an attempt to preserve status quo as stated in The War on Wikileaks. This is why there’s a need to find alternatives to mainstream communicating channels where real journalists can disclose valuable information for public opinion like in the case of Wikileaks.

The Washington administration has also been able to control the “third space” internationally. They have succeeded in breaking political frontiers and establishing channels of interaction alongside politics, in homogenizing their “western culture” and democratic values in countless countries and in interfering in other countries national interest by upholding their security flag.  However, as stated in Farrell and Finnemore’s Foreign Affairs article “The End of Hipocracy” the last thing the United States has done is follow what it preaches. The United States has always kept in mind the interest of its elite, and this can be seen in how it has been reacting to current revolts around the world.

The President has publicly condemned the use of force in Ukraine, but is apparently less interested by the revolts in Venezuela. The Monroe Doctrine of America for the Americans seems to have been forgotten as no security or democracy flag is being taken to the Caracas administration even though human right violations are more than evident. Its hard to imagine but the control that Chavez and Maduro had over it citizens in regards to access to information and the control of such is not that different from the control of cyberspace that Bush and Obama have been exercising over their citizens in the last decade. Maybe this is the reason why international security seems to have taken a back seat in the United State’s agenda, its more convenient for Obama to have a population with little or no opinion regarding protests for government unconformity.

Sofia Potes

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