Medium Online Magazine Features An Amazing Essay By Bruce Sterling On The Surveillance State.

by Daniel Russ on August 11, 2013





Bruce Sterling is a writer and an expert in trends in science and communications technology, in particular digital technology. Here are some excerpts from an essay he wrote for Medium, an online social commentary blog. In this piece he writes about the stumbling surveillance state in the face of a band of cyberpunks. It’s an amazing piece of writing that eviscerates the administration and brings to life the state we are really in.


In that 2010 essay, I surmised that things were going to get worse before they got any better. Sure enough, things now are lots, lots worse. Much worse than Cablegate ever was. Cablegate merely kicked the kneecap of the archaic and semi-useless US State Department. But Edward Snowden just strolled out of the Moscow airport, with his Wikileaks personal escort, one month after ripping the pants off the National Security Agency…

… Citizens and rights have nothing to do with elite, covert technologies! The targets of surveillance are oblivious dorks, they’re not even newbies! Even US Senators are decorative objects for the NSA. An American Senator knows as much about PRISM and XKeyScore as a troll-doll on the dashboard knows about internal combustion…


… The authorities finally got around to convicting Bradley this week, of some randomized set of largely irrelevant charges. But the damage there is already done; some to Bradley himself, but mostly grave, lasting damage to the authorities. By maltreating Bradley as their Guantanamo voodoo creature, their mystic hacker terror beast from AlQaedaville, Oklahoma, they made Bradley Manning fifty feet high…


… The Iraqi weapons of mass destruction never existed. Climate change does exist, and could drown Wall Street any day now. The abject state of global finance is obvious, yet it makes no difference to the ongoing depredations. Drones are stark assassination machines, and they don’t stay classified. Anyone could go on…


… People, you couldn’t trust any of these three guys to go down to the corner grocery for a pack of cigarettes. Stallman would bring you tiny peat-pots of baby tobacco plants, then tell you to grow your own. Assange would buy the cigarettes, but smoke them all himself while coding up something unworkable. And Ed would set fire to himself, to prove to an innocent mankind that tobacco is a monstrous and cancerous evil that must be exposed at all costs.

And yet the three of them together, they look just amazing. They are fantastic figures, like the promise of otherworldly aid from a superhero comic. They are visibly stronger than they’ve ever been before. They have the initiative in a world afflicted with comprehensive helplessness.

And there’s more coming. Lots, lots more.

Bruce Sterling is a surgeon. His knives are words and truths and his style is inimitable.


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