According to Ai Weiwei of The Guardian, although "governments think they are doing what is best for the state and people," surveillance like the NSA's Prism makes the US behaviour much like that of China, a behaviour capable of ruining lives.
Before the information age the Chinese government could decide you were a counter-revolutionary just because a neighbour reported something they had overheard. Thousands, even millions of lives were ruined through the misuse of such information.
Today, through its technical abilities, the state can easily get into anybody's bank account, private mail, conversations, and social media accounts. The internet and social media give us new possibilities of exploring ourselves.
But we have never exposed ourselves in this way before, and it makes us vulnerable if anyone chooses to use it against us. Any information or communication could put young people under the surveillance of the state. Very often, when oppressive states arrest people, they have that information in their hands. It can be used as a way of controlling you, to tell you: we know exactly what you're thinking or doing. It can drive people to madness.
When human beings are scared and feel everything is exposed to the government, we will censor ourselves from free thinking. That's dangerous for human development.
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