The problem is that it isn’t the gov’t that’s doing this, it’s private security corporations, in this case, Booz-Allen-Hamilton.
“Governments can be accountable, transparent and responsive to the people, if we choose to structure them that way.” while corporations are accountable only to profits and have no interest in “we the people” and don’t have to answer to us, as laws in place make them immune from both scrutiny and prosecution.
When the security of that country was done by the actual gov’t itself it was answerable to the electorate and often, famously, held accountable for it’s misdeeds.
It’s been only since the neo-con overthrow initiated by Regan/Thatcher/Mulroney et al that the idea that “gov’t is bad” and needs to be handed over to corporations to run has come into being. I wonder how many of the “government is the problem” folks of today are the same “government should be run like a business” guys from the 80s and 90s.
Time was when these programs had to be run, more-or-less, with economic efficiency. Now the same programs cost magnitudes more and are growing exponentially as more “markets” for security are identified. The current US outlay for theses guys is over $500billiion/yr and their CEOs make obscene amounts of this, and are unaccountable to you and I. Well, “them” really, because it’s US stuff. These corp’s turn that profit around and lobby for ever expanding spending and markets so as to enable an even more profitable security industry.
Though these companies are, and privatization in general is, touted as being of superior efficiency, compared to the gov’t, they are actually are far less efficient and wasteful by virtue of their massive profit motive.
They are also exactly the opposite of democratic. Internally, they are completely totalitarian, top-down structures unaccountable to their own employees. Externally they are not accountable to no one.
Our elected representatives are tasked with enacting the will of the people; they serve us. Corporations sever only themselves and the profit motive.
When Wells-Fargo collects data it OWNS that data, and in tern sells, rents or licenses it to other agencies. It’s far preferable for the gov’t to OWN national citizen data that a private company.
In the US their constitution provides for a free press and a system of congressional and legislative checks and balances. The security firms, by their very way in which they are legally set up are not transparent or internally knowable. It’s been said that corporations are, structurally, kingdoms. So there’s no way for citizens to monitor, police or correct abuses done by these corporations. There will be no Freedom of Information requests forthcoming.
So for people like Edward Snowdon, who see the inherent danger in this kind of arrangement, there was no way for him to bring up his concerns within the company. Seeing what he saw, he had no choice but to became a whistle-blower. It was his company he was exposing, not the government. Giving his life for the cause of freedom, democracy and the law makes him, not Public Enemy #1 but the most courageous man in America.