The surveillance state, Silicon Valley and the Google-Military Complex

Credit: Ludovic Bertron.
Credit: Ludovic Bertron.

Post-Snowden revelations, a sweeping range of different crowdfunding campaigns were launched to highlight issues of surveillance and privacy.

After the news broke, there were successful campaigns to raise $46,000 for a protest and Freedom of the Press Foundation and a Facebook employee started a Tilt campaign to “reward Edward Snowden.”

There were unsuccessful campaigns to create statues of Julian Assange, Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden in Britain and a biopic film.

In Chicago, Leonardo Selvaggio sold paper copies of his face for people to wear as masks and evade facial recognition cameras.

Well Yasha Levine is less interested in the off-putting vision of government satellites, drones and wiretapping than in how the government co-opted Google and our internet companies.

Levine, a journalist working for Pando Daily, has written three previous books focusing on business and politics.

His Kickstarter project to make a book titled Surveillance Valley: The Rise of the Google-Military Complex promises to delve into the ways our online activity is monitored, recorded and influenced.

The book will describe modern America as an “opaque world of total surveillance where corporations and intelligence agencies work hand in hand to track and profile us in the name of profit and security” according the book’s website.

Beyond studying the surveillance state, Levine’s book will also forecast the future of American surveillance and discuss individual responses to online surveillance.

The campaign officially began on Feb. 23 and finished on March 24. Ultimately about $19,000 was raised by 502 backers in a campaign that earned the “Kickstarter Staff pick.”

Levine reached his goal six days before deadline and tried (unsuccessfully) to raise the goal to $20,000. The additional $5,000 would have gone to report on the Russian surveillance state.

Reporting about government surveillance and its free market accomplices has earned Levine some blowback including death threats Levine said in an interview with Naked Capitalism, but also many allies.

I’ve been truly humbled by the support and generosity of so many people,” Levine said on his website. “It gives me hope that real independent investigative journalism still has a future.”

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Justin Cooper
Justin is currently pursuing his Master’s degree in American Literature at San Diego State University (SDSU). He has served as an editor of the Southwestern College Sun and a senior staff writer for the Daily Aztec at SDSU.


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