Watching the Watchers

Despite being the most powerful man in the world, President Barack Obama is not allowed to use an iPhone because his security advisers have claimed it is not secure enough.
Gibbs, S. (2012) Obama Can’t Have An iPhone ‘For Security Reasons’. The Guardian Online. December 5, 2012, http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/dec/05/barack-obama-cant-have-an-iphone-security-blackberry

It disturbs me that people seem to find this funny. It’s not. Because I’m almost certain Obama’s security advisers aren’t worried about Al Qaida hacking the presidential phone. It is far more likely that they are concerned that their own surveillance apparatus is, to some extent, out of their control.

That’s the problem with massive spying operations. They require a lot of funds and a lot of people. A shadow bureaucracy, in fact. And like any large and powerful organization, although it might have been born of a well-meaning sense of the need to protect a country from its enemies, history shows that it inevitably grows into a machine that serves no one but itself.

President Obama’s private conversations are not at risk from evil foreign powers. They’re at risk from the post 9/11 apparatus Bush built and he continued to build.

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