Now that the extent of the U.S. National Security Agency’s surveillance programs has been exposed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, it’s beholden on the public to fight back or else find themselves “complicit” in the activities, according to Massachusetts Institute of Technology linguistics professor and philosopher Noam Chomsky.
The freedoms U.S. citizens have “weren’t granted by gifts from above,” Chomsky said during a panel discussion Friday at MIT. “They were won by popular struggle.”
While U.S. officials have long cited national security as a rationale for domestic surveillance programs, that same argument has been used by the “most monstrous systems” in history, such as the Stasi secret police in the former East Germany, Chomsky said.
“The difference with the totalitarian states is the citizens couldn’t do a lot about it,” in contrast to the U.S., he added. “If we do not expose the plea of security and separate the parts that are valid from the parts that are not valid, then we are complicit.”
He cited the still-in-development Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, which critics say could have far-reaching implications for Internet use and intellectual property. Wikileaks recently posted a draft of the treaty’s chapter on intellectual property.
Now that the information is out there, “we can do something about [the proposed TPP],” Chomsky said.
Source: PC World