NSA Spying

The news of the day is that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been collecting and analyzing telephone and web data. Many people are very upset by this revelation. What does it mean to the Asatruar? For us, it is a mixed bag.

The Story

The story is that the NSA monitors telephone and Internet activity and some people believe this violates the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution. That's the amendment that says the government needs a warrant search or seize your, "…person, houses, papers, and effects…" That is a reasonable concern. Note: Many people are less concerned that most online businesses collect far more data about them and don't have the security safeguards in place.

The technology that does this uses computers to look for connectivity between the end-points of various communications media. The machines look for patterns and connections to bad guys. When the machines find something, they alert the appropriate people who look into things further and get the needed warrants.

The Concern

As long as the process works as advertised, there's not really anything wrong with this. Connecting to the nation's infrastructure to talk to a bad guy is not that much different from yelling down the street to the bad guy. Law enforcement is going to notice and look into it further.

The real concern for all of this is the question of what defines a bad guy. We generally agree that religious extremists who want to blow up civilian targets are not the good guys. After that, some things get complex. Many out there consider the Asatruar to be bad guys because we aren't the same religion.

While we may hope that this surveillance will be looking for violent jerks such as Islamic and Christian fundamentalists, we worry that some militant evangelical will get this data and use it to harm those with different beliefs. Given reports that Christian extremists in the U.S. military have actively endangered soldiers with different beliefs, this is a legitimate concern.

The Good Part

There is good news though. As the NSA and commercial groups have worked to gain, they have developed quite a bit of technology related to the work. This technology is available to us. We can use it for our own ends. How do we do this?

First, we get to build web crawlers that look for the people, groups, and the connections between them in our territories. We can use this to look for threats. When we start seeing too many people with connections to one organization running for office, we can try to determine whether they will harm Asatru. If so, we can work on the opposing campaigns. Often, just pointing out the connections in a public fashion will be enough to cause a public backlash.

Secondly, our ancestors valued intelligence and productivity. We get to use this data for purposes of advertising and investing. We get to make decisions based on massive amounts of data and information. We would be fools not to take advantage of this.

Finally, the Wyrd is the interconnectedness of everything. How appropriate that those of us who regularly trust our fates to this Universal Thing should copy its patterns in our use of tools and in our daily lives. It just fits.


We do need to be aware that the NSA is spying; that's why we built them. Our only concern should be how well our enemies have insinuated themselves into the NSA. We must remain vigilant.