After Charlie Hebdo: The Uneasy Question Of “What Now?”

After Charlie Hebdo: The Uneasy Question Of “What Now?”

The horrific scenes in Paris has left an uneasy taste in the mouths of those tasked with reforming the NSA’s surveillance operations. Charlie Hebdo lost 12 members of staff. It was gutted by fanatics. But how should we respond to this and the other attacks that have taken place?

Charlie Hebdo poked fun at everyone and anyone; they were, they are, rebellious and naughty. They don’t want a security blanket wrapped around them.

Across the Atlantic, fears of similar attacks from radicalized individuals returning from Iraq and Syria have made some of those in power think twice about whether NSA reform is needed. There are those however who have resisted the hysteria, Adam Schiff (D-CA) amongst them:

“Some will argue that the events in Paris make it impossible to reform any of our intelligence gathering programs, but as long as we can accomplish these reforms bolstering our privacy, while maintaining our security, we should do so.” (Washington Post)

The Patriot Act which legalizes the warrantless collection of data expires on June 1 this year. All eyes will be on how this turns out.

“The issue isn’t whether we want the capability of tracking. The question is, who gets to hold on to the data? Should the government be gathering the data? As long as we can still get the data from the providers in a timely way — and we can — there’s no need for the government to gather domestic call data on millions of Americans who have no connection to terrorism.” (Washington Post)

In the coming months expect big, scary statements on the necessity of mass surveillance of phone records, bank records, internet records. Data is now a commodity, it is useful to governments and corporations alike, and when those two get together the result is generally not in the best interests of people like you and me.

Charlie Hebdo stood for freedom of speech. Using the attack on their offices and staff to continue to suppress the willingness of individuals—journalists, campaigners, lawyers—to talk about and discuss how to shape the world is an insult to those who died.

“I don’t have kids, no wife, no car, no debt. Maybe it’s a little pompous to say, but I’d rather die standing than live on my knees.” – Stephane Charbonnier, Former editor of Charlie Hebdo (BBC)

What do you think? How should we respond after the Charlie Hebdo shooting and other attacks? Join the discussion on Facebook, Twitter or below.

Written by Abezier Coppe

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