At almost the moment that individual citizens, outside science and the military, began using the internet governments have tried to control and regulate it. The problem, in almost every case, is that they understand neither the culture of the internet or the technology involved.
In some parts of the world, as time has passed and elected officials have become younger, this has begun to change. However, in Canada, the Harper Government is demonstrating once again that they still don't really get it.
Harper is trying, once again, to introduce a massive internet surveillance program. They are taking this action just as US politicians are getting ready to dump their program for being expensive, unpopular and not terribly effective.
Chances are that programs like the NSA and Harper's proposed surveillance will never be more than a colossal waste of money.
The problem, aside from the obvious invasion of privacy, is that such programs can only effectively monitor people who don't do anything wrong and who have nothing to hide.
If you were doing something that you didn't want the government to know about, it wouldn't be hard to become invisible. Because governments have been trying to monitor, censor and control the internet for decades, some very smart people have found ways to elude such monitoring and control.
Take, for example, this new "NSA proof" cloud drive, or this new chat software that lets you text on your phone without connecting to the internet or a mobile carrier, or the Tor Project which bounces your signal all over the world, making you almost impossible to monitor or trace, or inexpensive VPNs which disguise your activity and your country of origin. If you really want to be on the safe side you can even build your own internet.
For those who are engaged in illegal activities, hiding those activities from the government is easier than it is to hide your phone number from telemarketers. It is the rest of the population, the people who aren't doing anything seriously wrong that Harper will be monitoring, at a cost of many millions of dollars (and civil liberties).
For someone who once claimed to be a fiscal conservative Harper seems to love throwing money away. There were, for example, the multibillion dollar airplanes that the military didn't want or the multi-billion dollar prisons at a time when the crime rate is falling fast. Now we can add the multi-million dollar internet surveillance program designed to monitor everyone except criminals.
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