David Michaelis: Obama’s PRISM Paradox, Time to Calibrate

There are tradeoffs for 100 percent security, according to President Obama. The biggest issue with PRISM is that no one ever asked Americans whether they were willing to give a way their privacy and data. It’s a false paradox, says our political columnist David Michaelis. And it’s a false paradox. Read more here …

aNewDomain.net –”You can’t have 100 percent security and also then have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience,” U.S. President Barack Obama told reporters at a press conference about the PRISM debacle. He continued:

We’re going to have to make some choices as a society … (but) there are trade-offs involved.”

In other words, there will never be 100 percent security so there doesn’t have to be 100 percent invasion of privacy, either.

Terror is a fact of life as are car accidents on freeways, earthquakes in Silicon Valley and tornadoes in Oklahoma. The Boston bombing happened although the main perpetrator was known to the authorities.

It will happen again unless U.S. citizens want to live in a North Korea-type of total spy vs. spy police state environment. The North Koreans appear to have 100 percent security, sure. But they also have 100 percent invasive oversight.

Do we really want to live like that in the United States and in other democratic countries?


Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Americans by and large won’t want to lose their hard-won freedoms — not in a false trade-off like this one.

Yes, society needs to weigh the trade-offs required to fend of terrorism in an open discussion. But we as a society in the United States did not make that decision because no one ever asked us to.

Would you vote for total surveillance, for instance, if it would stop drunk driving?

The effect of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks over the years has amounted to a slow erosion of awareness and resistance to Big Brother’s watchful tech eyes and ears.


Trust us, says the government in defending its NSA PRISM project. Trust us, it says, because in it we who run the big data surveillance programs are saving lives. American lives.

But like the drone program, the government here is unleashing new technologies without taking into account collateral damage. Two weeks ago Obama recalculated the drone equation and scaled down the program. He needs to similarly calibrate the PRISM program so it will fit the vision of the founding fathers.

They never promised 100 percent security. They envisioned 100 percent freedom.

For further reading, check out this must-read article from The New Yorker, which explains why metadata is a megatool.

For aNewDomain.net commentary, I’m David Michaelis.

Based in Australia, David Michaelis is a world-renowned international journalist and founder of Link Tv. At aNewDomain.net, he covers the global beat, focusing on politics and other international topics of note for our readers in a variety of forums. Email him at DavidMc@aNewDomain.net.