As if the issues of an ill-informed electorate, media smear campaigns, and partisan politics weren’t enough to make elections difficult affairs, there is a not-so-new twist in the plot that will — at the very least — undermine many informed voters’ confidence in the system. Enter — from somewhere hidden offstage — the hackers who may well have more control over the outcome of November than any voting bloc could hope for.

Legislators can pass laws requiring background checks and putting undesirables onto “no fly, no buy” lists all day long. But they will have precious little impact when people have the freedom to purchase the increasingly sophisticated hardware and software to make their own weapons at home.

George Orwell may have imagined a world of total surveillance, but even his fertile imagination and acute understanding of totalitarianism did not foresee a world where the citizens demand, purchase, install, and configure devices to conduct the bulk of the surveillance on themselves and others. He also did not foresee the incestuous — if sometimes less-than-harmonious — relationship between government and business that would bring about the surveillance state. In the digital age, we have a state of total (or near total) surveillance that makes 1984 look like child’s play.


Time after time, the government has made a federal case about encryption, saying security concerns require access to everyone’s electronics. We expose their tries and lies.

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