It may be prophetic that it was an American Thomas Jefferson in 1787 who is quoted as saying “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure”. Read the full context at ‘The tree of liberty… (Quotation)‘.
Prophetic because it is the Government of the United States that is testing the patience and tolerance of more than its own populous as it continuous its fight for control over online open expression and orchestration in the information wars. Or rather the voice through its judiciary in the latest instance in the form of U.S. Magistrate Judge James Francis who last week ruled that local search warrants must include customer data stored in servers located outside the U.S.
In simple terms the US is completely losing the plot. It is proposing that it can reach into other sovereign territories out with the established protocols of ‘mutual legal assistance’. In other words the US is now getting so brash it is simply marching into other countries without asking and seizing property simply because it says it can! Property in this instance in the form of electronic data, but none the less property. Just ask Hollywood and the Recording Industry whether they deem their digital data (Movies, records) property or not.
Even the argument that it is an American Corporation based in the US does not hold, as Microsoft is the data processor NOT the data Controller. The Data Controller remains the individual whose data is being sought. A basic tenant of the digital world is the separation of Processor and Controller. Where the legal ownership and ultimate responsibility resides with the CONTROLLER not the PROCESSOR.
Credit so far to Microsoft that they have pushed back on this stating the simple basis globally accepted in the new age of Cloud Computing (supported by traditional sovereign state and international laws) that the data resides OUTSIDE the jurisdiction of the US and Microsoft is not obliged to hand it over.
The problem is the US government has a reputation as a bully, a reputation backed up by far too many corporate and personal cases where they have forced coercion through an abuse of their powers. The tactics used usually taking the form of indirect as well as direct threats of business operational burdens such as IRS investigations or restrictions on individual’s freedom of movement amongst others. For the rest of us in the world we have for a long time looked at our poor US cousins as they have become increasingly subject to losses of liberty, freedoms and impositions that few other parts of the world, with the exception of those that may be classed as regime’s, are subject.
The issue now is the US is breaking out of its own playground and throwing its weight around in an embarrassingly arrogant manner that crosses many moral and rational boundaries. In the context of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars it was on a huge scale, dressed up in the guise of ‘Global Policeman’. Latterly in the form of its stimulation of the Arab dawn across North Africa and involvement in the destabilisation of Syria. For many Americans the impact is off radar, their introspective predispositions leave them desperately ignorant of what the rest of the world actually thinks of their country, and what their politicians are doing in their name.
Even in the latest International situation its political and bureaucratic administration acts in an arrogant and duplicitous way. Just look at recent comments by US Secretary of State John Kerry against Russian Broadcaster RT. As for President Obama, he continues racking up George Bush scale incompetency marks in his performances. Where the US lost credibility many years ago its longstanding trusting partners are being contaminated by the hegemony themselves as the US engages increasingly more foul means than fair.
Another perspective is to question whether this is the desperate act of an administration trying to distract from its own internal fiscal horror show or just incompetence?
IF the US does not start addressing its delusions it may be staring a more seismic scale challenge in the face. The Dollar’s position as a reserve currency has never been weaker. With China and Russia’s tripling of Gold acquisitions in the last year and the threat of sanctions on Russia could see these economic powerhouses questioning the Dollars historic position and look at alternatives such as the EURO. Looking at this in the context of the failure by the US Federal Government to independently audit its Gold Reserves for over 75 years raises serious questions of confidence. The 1950’s audit does not count in many people’s eyes as it did not permit external auditors and only included 5% of the Gold apparently held. Read more in ‘The Biggest Government Lie in History?‘
The virtual world is evolving at an exponential rate. Information sharing and transparency abounds, governments can hide little and innovation is presenting new ways of addressing entrenched practices. The current poster boy in this regard is the Crypto Currency ‘BitCoin’ which continues to pose challenging questions that go to the heart of our financial systems. Solutions such as bitcoin represent a decentralisation of control that would start to tear down the political and fiscal establishment and regain a balance long lost.
The US and its camp followers need to heed the health warnings. Or I fear there will be a reckoning.