Thanks to whistleblowers, we are only now beginning to learn the full extent of the domestic surveillance program conducted by the NSA.
It's become quite the scandal and a national embarrassment. But if you thought that would discourage other nations from implementing similar laws, you would be wrong.
New Zealand has passed legislation allowing its main intelligence agency to spy on residents and citizens.Just a few weeks ago Malaysia pushed to expand their domestic spying.
Parliament voted 61 to 59 on Wednesday to expand the powers of the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB).
GCSB was only previously allowed to spy on those with no right to reside in New Zealand.
The detention of David Miranda exposed the full extent of Britain's domestic spying laws and their ability to be used to silence political dissent. Britain has long been the leading surveillance state.
HOW WE CAN BE WATCHEDOf course this is not even close to being a full listing.
4.2m CCTV cameras
300 CCTV appearances a day
Reg plate recognition cameras
Shop RFID tags
Mobile phone triangulation
Store loyalty cards
Credit card transactions
London Oyster cards
NHS patient records
Personal video recorders
Worker call monitoring
Mobile phone cameras
France has their own echelon program and does Netherlands
The European Union has their own Data Retention Directive
Russia has their SORM laws which date back to before Putin, and are against the Russian Constitution, but the government doesn't care
Even Sweden has legalized warrantless wiretapping
Obviously this is not a full list, and we are unlikely to ever know just how much we are being spied upon. However, the debate that our government never wanted to have has finally begun (12 years late).
Maybe, finally, the phrase "Land of the Free" won't be just another meaningless political slogan that both parties use to distract the public.
In an interesting side note, Edward Snowden is becoming the new Che Guevara.
In China, the electric car company Hong Yuan Lan Xiang has filed an application for the "Snowden" trademark in both English and Chinese. They're even claiming a vague product tie-in: Their "top secret" technology promises to be as earth-shattering as Snowden's leaks. Or at least so the company's executives claim.Funny how Snowden has become so popular in nations that know exactly what a surveillance state looks like.
Meanwhile in Russia, the country's patent office simultaneously received three different applications to register an image of Snowden. One even depicts the whistleblower with long hair in the style of Che. Somewhere in Russia, an enterprising businessman is probably hoping that Snowden's image will become the next T-shirt sensation for moody, café-dwelling intellectuals the world over.