- I can't find a definition of the acronym PRISM as it applies to this topic. If anything, a prism implies splitting a singularity rather than the aggregation of some thing which is the direction I'd expect any security service to go in analyzing data and seeking out patterns.
- The PRISM graphic is naff. It looks like something a 2 year old would have lashed up. But then who can judge taste?
- Authenticity seems to hinge on the use of state logos. Anyone heard of 'cut and paste?'
- The timeline over which certain vendors are alleged to have voluntarily provided access to data seems overly clumsy. It doesn't for instance appear to follow the evolution of services in the way I would have expected.
- The way in which each vendor denies providing access looks like a script they all follow - if so then someone somewhere must have written it. WPP perchance?
- There is an enormous amount of muddling discussion. Obama talks at length about not listening to calls, talks about tapping into metadata and then infers that the NSA can assess threat from phone numbers and length of call. Come on - are we in the realms of fantasy and crystal ball gazing here?
- Doesn't it strike anyone as weird that claims are being made about harvesting and then analyzing YouTube data - most of which is in the public domain anyway - Skype calls and presumably Google Hangouts? The notion is laughable but heh - watch for those traffic spikes.
- Given the current state of the art in compute power, can anyone seriously envisage even attempting to sift through ALL of that data and coming out the other side with anything other than garbage? I'm sure NSA has some serious compute power available at its finger tips. But then I would have expected IBM to have gone further with Watson and still not come up with a machine remotely capable of whatever the NSA is said to be doing. Hang on - maybe the NSA has invented a global master data management solution that can miraculously disseminate, aggregate and infer terror attacks. Awesome - can we all have a piece of it so that global data integration miraculously evaporates?
- The way in which the law is said to be framed and/or interpreted means any vendor that is providing data - if they are - can plausibly and strenuously deny whatever the heck they like. I've seen some mad things in my time but this is stretching credulity to an extreme that even Dr Who would struggle to fathom.
What I find far more credible is the idea that Big Government is prepared to play on our collective fear of terrorism in any way that suits it. It's called propaganda. Assessed in those terms then it is very easy to see how governments of any persuasion might concoct a story that it can (almost) plausibly hold up but without telling us anything of substance.
Government can easily corral vendors into becoming complicit in whatever truths and half truths it wishes to spin, citing 'national interest' without fear they will let whatever cats out of whatever bags they may wish to get the rest of us to suppose exist. Better still - why not concoct assumed compliance and then let the vendors deny everything - adding to the mystique surrounding whatever the heck is really going on. Hang on, isn't that already happening?
If I am even remotely correct then I'd argue that governments on both sides of The Pond have done a very good job of putting the fear of whatever gods we may believe into the collective psyche. It doen't have to be about terrorism any more. It can be as simple as creating vague doubts in our minds about whatever real or imagined threats exist.
In the process however, more of our freedoms are being lined up for destruction in ways that Roman emperors can only have dreamed about.
As the old show title says: stop the world - I want to get off.
Image credit: wikipedia
Featured image credit: Blessed Is The Kingdom