There is another aspect to the origin story of contemporary mass surveillance in the US: Resistance. While most "phone phreaks" and telephone enthusiasts were unaware of AT&T's Top Secret Project Greenstar, there was enough general contempt for the phone company's monopoly to trigger a viable resistance movement that had been percolating within the 1960s counterculture.
On February 11, 2014 the citizens of cyberspace waged an Internet-wide war against the NSA's Mass surveillance program called "The Day We Fought Back". As the story unfolds, it is important to look at the history of mass surveillance, and see what we can learn from it.
The ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is a potentially lethal blow to net neutrality -- the principle that the Internet should be available equally to anyone who wishes to use it as a medium for creativity and information, regardless of who they are and no matter the size of their checkbooks.
The idea that those companies that run big telecommunications networks shouldn't be able to play favorites is dead, at age 80. First enacted in the 1934 Communications Act, the principle was very simple. Telephone companies shouldn't be able to discriminate among the traffic they carry. The U.S. Appeals Court for the D.C. Circuit ruling killed it.
The Internet was created to be a free, accessible database of information for anyone who wanted to access it, edit it, add to the base and use the information within it. To add preference to wealthy companies, and to favor access to preferred websites and providers would be to defeat the purpose and take away not only a source of information, but in a sense to limit free speech.