Contributed by Joe Montero
The Pegasus spyware sold by an Israeli company NSI Group to governments around the word has been making headlines. There are serious concerns over its misuse. Unfortunatey most of the attention is on governments out of favour with nations like the United States, Great Britain, and Australia. Big media takes on the same line. This covers that the reality is far more widespread.
Putting the obvious bias aside, Pegasus is still a big deal.
More than for any other reason, because it is the latest addition to a series of laws and measures that have been eating away at rights and cementing in the power of those who rule. Big brother has accumulated an arsenal enabling tracking of the population, political manipulation, and the suppression of opposition.
This is a problem infecting the self-proclaimed western democracies
Governments are strengthening the state to be a better weapon of control. The objective? To improve the capacity to service the sectional interests of an ever narrowing ruling class.
Take the well-financed use of social media to spread false information that confuses and divides people and diverts attention from the real issues.
It is not only the technology that has made this possible. The gradual restriction of investigative and critical reporting and declining transparency of government have played their part. So have laws and administrative measures that have reduced basic rights.
Australia has seen the accumulation of anti-terrorism laws. They do not genuinely protect the nation. But they have provided means to target some individuals and demonise a part of the Australian population.
Details of every communication via the Internet is being collected.
There is a connection between anti-terrorism laws, information collection and other changes.
The industrial relations system has been revamped and turned into a weapon against unions and to give employers more power to exploit the workforce. The unemployed, singe parents, and especially First Nations people are attacked through the social security system.
Legislation banning foreign political donations was brought in and used to target activist group GetUp, as well as some Chinese individuals and organisations. Donations from other foreign sources that benefit the government’s political agenda are conveniently ignored.
An array of laws to criminalising journalism for unauthorised disclosures now exist. Other laws have extended the degree to which government spies on us, and uses the Information gathered to manipulate, pressure, and generate compliance.
The presumption of innocent until proven guilty has gone in some cases. As have rights to defend to properly yourself in court, and cross examine witnesses against you.
This is the package that threatens everyone bar those within the ruling class.
None of this takes away from the need to expose and oppose the Pegasus spyware. On the contrary, it shines a light on what is going on.
Australia is not a democracy. We live in a parody of one, and if we don’t like it, it is up to us to help make a difference. It will get worse if we don’t.