NSA scandal is about property, not privacy (part two)

Some further comments on the NSA data-mining scandal:

You are not being spied on when organizations look at your social-media data, because you don’t own your social-media data. They are not your or my property.

The missing point in sociologists, journalists, and other intellectuals’ understanding of the NSA data-mining scandal is the problem of property. The data being gathered and so-called “spied on” is not the private property of the users. It is the private property of the owners, the corporations. And the owners can share the data with whom they choose. NSA spying is a question of property being shared from private companies to public institutions. Users’ concerns can be registered, therefore, not by invoking property rights; users have none. Users’ claims to privacy are non-existent. They cannot claim a right to privacy on property they do not own.

Users can register their concerns only by not using, that is, by not creating data, not creating property.

But users like making the data. They show no inclination they will undercut their productivity.

The cultural and economic question settled, the political question then becomes paramount: is the government using the data for truly good reasons? That is, does the NSA nefariously abuse the data?

Even post-Snowden, we don’t know the answer to this question. It is important to note that Edward Snowden has given details only about the existence of a private-to-public data-sharing program. He has not given details about any actual abuses. Nor, evidently, has he provided compelling reasons for typical users to stop using social media or to stop carrying their phones around with them. If you are planning a physical attack on US property, yes, Snowden has provided reason not to communicate via cell phone. Or to even carry a cell around.

Short of that, Snowden has provided the typical US consumer little to no reason to foresake the convenience, entertainment, and educational capacities of their phone.

In terms of what Snowden has provided,  I suspect we have more noise than signal, and that the young man has fooled a lot of otherwise good intellectuals.

This entry was posted in advanced capitalism, hard data, intangible assets, intellectual property, macro-economics, Media and knowledge, political sociology, politics, qualitative sociology of economics and politics, Symbolic data, the database, theoretical drivel. Bookmark the permalink.

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