Glenn Beck on Thursday interviewed security technologist Bruce Schneier about America’s ever-expanding domestic surveillance programs, and Schneier — who has written 12 books and testified before Congress — said he believes the government’s decision to collect information on every man, woman and child is a type of “insurance policy.”
“A bunch of organizations have looked at these metadata programs. The metadata, again, is data about data. It’s the social networks, the traffic analysis. It’s not the content, but who’s talking to who,” Schneier remarked. “Every time you look at this, it is not valuable. … It doesn’t stop terrorist attacks. So why is it being done? That’s an interesting question. It seems like it’s an insurance policy.”
Schneier said if someone told you a foreign government was monitoring its citizens the way the U.S. government monitors its own, you would say it is “obvious” they are trying to control the people.
Beck also spoke with John Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute, whose organization has come to the aid of people who have spoken out against the U.S. government and faced government retribution.
“They’re watching everything,” Whitehead said. “Everything is in a file. You’re being watched.”
“We are entering a very dangerous new digital existence, and we’re doing it casually!” Beck commented. “We’re just like, ‘Hey, you see this? My television can talk to me!’ Yes it can. But it can also listen to you.”
“The number of ways that we are inviting intrusion into our lives is absolutely astounding and limitless, yet concerns are rarely given much voice,” Beck continued. “Forget the NSA for a moment and let’s talk about hackers. We’re giving them the pick of the litter! In what way would you like to enter my life and steal my identity? In what way would you like to come into my house and record all my conversations? In what way would you like to come into my Wi-Fi and plant false evidence, exact revenge?”
Beck said the world is changing, and asked his audience if they are willing to give up their liberty because “my phone calls to Aunt Edna are boring anyway.”
“Let’s not forget that cell phone that you plug in at your bedside every night,” Beck cautioned. “Let’s not forget all of the conversations that you have with your laptop or your iPad sitting on your lap. … On any given day the average American going about his daily business is going to be monitored, surveilled, spied on and tracked in more than 20 different ways. That’s you.”
Schneier said he is “short-term pessimistic and long-term optimistic” about the domestic surveillance programs, saying there will likely be corruption and abuse in the coming years until a balance is found. Until that time, he said, the government will keep its “very expensive insurance policy.”
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