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View Diary: The real NSA scandal: It regards itself as having "customers" (32 comments)

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  •  All federal agencies view themselves... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FG, Hey338Too, Valar Morghulis, Tortmaster

    as having "customers." Or "stakeholders." Or some other marketing-based term. Or a whole bunch of them.

    Believe me, there's less to it than meets the eye. Yes the term itself is a bit creepy but it's simply shorthand for "those entities we interact with and who use our services."

    The same terminology is even used internally by, for example, HR departments, which are now called "human capital offices." Another creepy expression. Anyway, you contact your HR department and you're a "customer." The intention is at least somewhat noble...the idea is to treat the people you interact with from outside as "customers" who presumably have some inherent value, rather than as "impediments to getting your work done." I don't know if changing terminology in this way actually accomplishes something estimable but there it is.

    •  I agree in part with your point (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoasis, StrayCat

      I've worked for government agencies and that lingo does get the sling-around. But it's a mindset, not just a placeholder term for a more nuanced view. At some point, it begins to take on a life of its own. The agency as a purveyor of services, not just to citizens or policymakers as a function of government overall, but services that must be paid for, and thus "sold" to customers. Not necessarily sold to them in monetary terms, although who knows whether the NSA has never done that. But in terms of marketing and hand-holding and the establishment of need, as in, you need us. At some point, the entire enterprise -- because that's what it now is -- becomes self-fulfilling.  

      •  I find the terminology unpleasant (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I've worked for the federal government for over 36 years and I do understand how these things work. When you can't do something constructive you change titles and terminology.

        Here's my point: The fact that the NSA has "customers" is among the least problematic things about the agency and its policies. It's not a scandal.

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