Without the option of privacy, we are lost

52 Comments

Privacy is a wonderful and complex thing. To my mind, it should operate on a sliding scale under the individual’s control: total privacy for those who want to research information for themselves or communicate in confidence with others, through partial privacy for those willing to exchange personal data for convenient services, down to zero privacy for those who want to strut their stuff in public.

The partial or total surrender of privacy is familiar to us through our transactions with the likes of Google(s goog) and our use of platforms such as Twitter. That’s fine, as long as the individual chooses to surrender their personal data. But I’d like to dwell for a moment on the concept of total privacy, and why it should be an option even in the online age.

Social change

Privacy means different things in different cultures, and the western understanding of privacy is largely a function of the industrial age. When we all lived in villages and small towns, people knew a lot more about their neighbors than they do now. It was only when the railways developed and we found ourselves clustering in cities that we began to lead more dislocated, anonymous lives.

industrial-flickr-schlegl

In both the pre-industrial and industrial ages, we retained the ability to have private conversations. And, as anonymity grew, it also became easier to learn new information without others being in on those conversations – think of the ability to get a book from a bookseller or a tract from a pamphleteer without knowing that person or (spies withstanding) having it recorded or widely known that you gained this knowledge. Indeed, freedom from prying eyes continues to be a driver for many people to move from the small town to the big city.

Now we live in a post-industrial age where the advent of internet connectivity has allowed us to do new things: to form nebulous communities based on interests rather than geography; to share knowledge more easily than ever before; and to become much more mobile, with many jobs just as easily executed from home or another country as they were from the traditional, centralized office.

The question is, does the shift into this new age necessarily mean forgoing the freedom of the last? I hope not, because I believe the option of anonymity gave us great intellectual freedom.

Free speech

There are, as I see it, two kinds of freedom of speech: freedom to say what you want to say publicly in public; and freedom to say what you want to say privately in private. The former is crucial because it allows us to freely inform others, while the latter is crucial because it allows us to freely inform ourselves.

Conversation copy

There is immeasurable value in the private conversation between friends or trusted colleagues. It is through such confidential exchanges that we get to experiment with new ideas. These ideas may be wrong, offensive or even – if put into practice – illegal, and it is through the mechanism of private conversation that we can tell each other that one idea makes sense, and that another is best left unfulfilled.

Similarly, private web browsing – a conversation with an index, if you will – can greatly expand our horizons. Fortunately, the web brings with it a crude peer-review system: in general, stupid suggestions get shot down while good ideas gain traction. It’s a glorious, unruly intellectual laboratory.

However, that all changes when we know we are potentially being watched by forces more powerful than ourselves. And, unfortunately, we have allowed this to become the case, by increasingly relying on the internet as an interface between ourselves and the world.

Chilling effect

Those of us who have advanced beyond adolescence generally put checks on what we say in public. We present a certain face that may be straightlaced or offensive, but we usually cut out or play down the thoughts and comments that would be inconsistent with the way we want others to see us.

This has always been the case, and rightly so – there is nothing wrong with having divergent public-facing and private personas, for the reasons I have outlined above. Yes, there is a risk of hypocrisy, but there is also the opportunity for personal development that may, once refined, help others develop as well.

Jeremy Bentham's Panopticon

It is not necessary to be watching someone in order to change their behavior. All that is needed, as the philosopher Jeremy Bentham posited with his Panopticon prison design, is for that person to reasonably suspect they are being watched. The result is the most powerful kind of censorship: self-censorship. If you can get someone to avoid stepping out of line, even in private where it affects no-one else, then you control that person.

I’m not arguing that NSA surveillance was deliberately intended to exercise this kind of mental control. The agency almost certainly had no intention of letting the public know about its surveillance activities, because information is power in its own right and the public is now armed with knowledge it can use to fight back. However, Edward Snowden’s leaks have nonetheless put us into a position where we are rightfully paranoid, and as a result we now face a decision about how to proceed – in our own heads, as well as through the courts and on the streets.

The internet age has brought our personal conversations and our very thoughts online. So, should we now accept that these things must be limited to what those with power find acceptable? I would argue not.

Tools for tyrants

As the splendidly-named security expert Moxie Marlinspike has eloquently argued, society and its laws do not develop without a degree of experimentation. He brings up the fact that sodomy used to be illegal in Minnesota, as was marijuana use until very recently in Colorado and Washington:

“Imagine if there were an alternate dystopian reality where law enforcement was 100% effective, such that any potential law offenders knew they would be immediately identified, apprehended, and jailed. If perfect law enforcement had been a reality in MN, CO, and WA since their founding in the 1850s, it seems quite unlikely that these recent changes would have ever come to pass. How could people have decided that marijuana should be legal, if nobody had ever used it? How could states decide that same sex marriage should be permitted, if nobody had ever seen or participated in a same sex relationship?

“The cornerstone of liberal democracy is the notion that free speech allows us to create a marketplace of ideas, from which we can use the political process to collectively choose the society we want.”

legal-justice-code-10

It is also worth remembering that, even if our current administrations and legal frameworks are well-intentioned, totalitarian states have a nasty habit of coming into being. Such forces would delight in pervasive surveillance capabilities and the acquiescent mindsets they encourage. History does repeat itself, however secure we may feel today, and we should always refrain from building tools for tyrants.

So, for the sake of ourselves and our children, we need to retain the option of true privacy for those who want and need it. It’s more fundamental to our lives than we sometimes realize, and the implications of abandoning it are far more dangerous than any terrorist attack.

52 Comments

murphyji

Seem to have struck a bit of a nerve there. Benjamin Franklin was one of the founding fathers of the United States but a bit deluded would you say? Check the stats. This demented notion that we are under attack is bull but it does help support the war machine.The level of paranoia from the snoops does not stand up. I fear the lunatics have taken over the asylum and if you are happy with that then you are deluded.
I agree that there are things afoot on our planet that are positive, a truth agenda which has natural appeal to human beings, and rarely get airtime because good news doesn’t sell copy.

mechanisminme

It has always been about control hasn’t it? How can those who contribute the least to the human experiment convince the masses to produce and contribute for them? How can they get the most for the least effort is the dark truth of efficiency. Something for nothing. Beneath all of the supression and repression, and fear mongering, propaganda, programing, false judgment, dumbing down, interference, wasted lives and potential, century after century the flame continues to burn it’s white light waiting for it’s moment to light up the world in the places where the unfolding magnificence meets the light of the stars. Together, through us, the light of the world shines. That light has been imprisoned deep within but it’s time for it to do what it does and light up the world and those who have buried their own light with the sickness of self serving delusion will suddenly find themselves in a spotlight and there will be no place where it is not, all will be revealed. What has given must be returned for it is natural law and in that light rendering unto ceasar that which is ceasers takes on a life of it’s own. It has nothing to do with me or you, this group or that but with nature rebalancing itself throuh all of creation as the great wheel keeps on turning. Truth can’t be anything but truth and the natural law of the Universe cannot be denied. Only the insane would think it could be. Thank you for your words of wisdom.

ynnarie

Privacy is an illusion that many cling to without realizing that what you hold private and dear most people, including the government, doesn’t care about.

Many spout the need to remain “private” and the media and paranoid fanatics tote Snowden as a hero. The same media and fanatics that want and NEED to know all the gossip and trash on as many celebrities as possible and give clearance and authenticity to the paparazzi who hound people, declaring their “privacy” was given up the moment they became “famous”.

So who has the “right” to privacy? The average citizen? The sports star? The actor? The author? The congressman? Who? Just you? Or everyone? And if you say everyone, then YOU and those like you who scream about the injustice of our government trying to keep you safe, need to also scream for privacy for ALL our citizens from all forms of invasive intrusions. Not just the ones that YOU deem inappropriate.

I, for one, would rather have my govnerment keeping us safe from those who would attack us again for whatever reason than tie their hands and tell them they can’t do what needs to be done to keep my family and yours safe.

And to take it a step farther, since those who scream they hold their “privacy” so dear, would you have a police investigation also not secretly look into a suspect of a horrendous crime? Would you rather not have those in the position of keeping you safe have the ability to do so? Or is that an invasion of your precious privacy also?

As in all absolutes, you can’t maintain absolute privacy and exist in a safe environment. Absolute privacy leads to absolute suspicion. Which leads to absolute chaos.

Yes, I would rather give a few freedoms to live in a safe country where I can still speak my mind. And yes, I deserve both. As do you.

murphyji

“Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty or safety” Benjamin Franklin
In light of the Edward Snowden affair and Wikileaks Julian Assange, both in a state imposed limbo for daring to dare,it says a lot about the world we live in. Interesting that the NSA bypassed US law by having UK’s GCHQ do their spying for them. It’s that special relationship we here so much about. In simple terms if you happened upon someone spying through your window you would take action. These guys took action. I support that action

C.E.K. Nelson

Interesting write! Thank you for sharing! As far as the development of technology and how it has affected our society- starting with isolation and now coming full circle -please take a look at my poem Computers, which was written about ten years ago. Communicating with each other from behind a screen instead of true personal interaction has driven our desirse to be heard and gain attention… Our cravings are never satisfied because we are not recieving the real human energy needed. In turn some of us recklessly put ourselves out there without much discretion in order to gain attention, even if it is from the government- hey, look at me! We finally have an audience, Big Brother and boy does Big Bother have a great capacity for memory….information storage! Is that the attention we want? We are blogging aren’t we!LOL

thelawguysa

privacy is one thing, and commiting a crime knowing you are commiting a crime is quite another! Snowden broke the law knowing he was doing so. Hes just your run of the mill criminal looking for a way out, ducking and diving wherever he can.

What he has done does not take courage or valour, what he has done has put millions of peoples lives in danger and worst of all he wont even come forward and face the charges put against him. Im sure he could rally enough support in america to support his cause! The problem is, is that in order to be a “hero” one needs to face the enemy. HE is not doing so, instead he is hiding out in foreign airports looking for a country that will take him.

everyone is acting like they didnt know the cia or nsa is watching??? REALLY? you were really niaeve enough to believe the government would not use the available tech to filter RELEVENT data to ensure the nations security? cmon? get real. i think if most of america knew the mega computers true capability and what is was really doing they would all have a fanny wobble!

at the end of the day the cia or nsa does give a shit about your facebook status or what you had for supper, or whether you are into anal sex. they are looking for specific data connected to possible terrorist threats or criminal activity, period! in fact they are not reading your emails or facebook status, the computer does not do that. algorithms>> not words and sentences, not your “private life”. the government doesnt care if you have an affair! snowned knows this!

The only time the nsa would read your emails or facebook is if YOU have been doing something you shouldnt be doing or are REASONABLY suspected of being invovled with terrorist activity or connected to terrorist or organised crime activity!! AND court of law will look at the available facts and grant OR dimiss such an application. HOWEVER, that does not mean that the government will approach the court seeking an order every time, sometimes there is no time to do this, in such an instance the gov will look at the data and if it points to a strong likelyhood of terrorist or criminal activity they will go ahead (rightfully so) and do an indepth search! please be aware that the person is unaware such a search is taking place so it has no impact on his life in any case. thats why these organisations activities are SECRET if they werent they would be useless!

Americans should be grateful they have the capability to do this. one must remember that your constitutional rights only extend so far. The time has come for people to realise we live in a world frought with danger and paranoid delusions. Snowden deserves the death penulty for his actions, he has put millions of americans and others in danger to fulfill his own selfish needs!

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murphyji

” All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.” Edmund Burke. I support the actions of Edward Snowden. The NSA were conducted actions through a third party, GCHQ,UK which are illegal in the US.

cristyparkersmith

The problem is that no matter how many privacy laws are passed there will always be someone there to break them. The reason for this is simple. You’re right about the fact that simply insinuating someone is being watched can change their behavior. That is a form of power and there will always be someone who wants to take power from someone else. So by suggesting that we fight for our privacy you are locking us in a power struggle that has always existed and that will never end.

What’s the point of fighting such a battle? Why not stop doing things the way we’ve always done them – since it’s obviously pointless – and instead try something new?

This new age of privacy invasion is an excellent opportunity for us to evolve. Imagine spying on a group of people who knew you were watching them, but did and said whatever they wanted to anyway? How insignificant would that make you feel knowing that your ongoing presence wasn’t enough to silence them or make them change their ways? There you are trying to intimidate someone into silence and they just keep right on talking.

Sort of takes the fun out of spying, doesn’t it? And it makes heroes out of those who are brave enough to speak their minds (and these are the people who should be hailed as heroes) instead of making the “big, bad powers that be” seem like gods.

Plus, it takes balls to speak up. And sadly there aren’t a lot of balls left in this world. What you’re suggesting we fight for is the right to hide. My question is, why? Why not just say what we want to say and act how we want to act and the hell with anyone who sees it?

This is the only way we are ever going to curb the obsession with spying on each other. People want what they can’t have so why not take away the temptation by handing them everything without them even asking for it?

ddeclaire

I agree with Mikels Skele. Corporate measurement of population preference and belief in advertizing is way more sinister. The effect of the organ donation spiel and its tweekings is one that is probably measured a lot. Removal of organs from people on ventilators is an act of murder and yet the advertizing works to make this all okay. The measurement of public reaction to advertizing has the transplant industry now at the point where they are putting people who CAN breathe on their own, on ventilators to make them seem more hopeless to their families. We are talking torture, lies and death here in the hundreds of thousands already and a donor demographic genocide to come. This is all brought about by eavesdropping on Mary Sue telling Jean how she signed her donor card and then holding this alongside other things that Mary Sue does or buys.

angels2send

interesting. my husband and i had a long conversation about this. he is german and i´m american. he was far more bothered about the NSA issue than i was, and we tried to discover why that is. we decided that it is because i grew up with complete and utterly sweet freedom, and would give up any of my rights to insure that others can live this way too. i honestly feel that you only feel watched if you have something to hide. i don´t believe this kind of thing gives birth to totalitarian states, though this kind of thing can be, but not necessarily is, a sign of totalitarianism. poverty and ignorance and caring more for yourself than others, this gives birth to tyranny.

coffeegrounded

WordPress made me famous. Well, at least in my own mind. Everybody needs their five minutes of fame, especially on those days where the rest of the world forgot you existed. WordPress is my BFF. ;).

Jon The Blogcentric

It’s interesting. Back when I was in college I saw an acting film and it said Privacy is one of our most valued possessions. Nowadays it seems like either a complete disrespect to privacy or a feel to make everything public. It’s crazy.

marymtf

I think that yearning for privacy now is a bit like closing the stable door after the proverbial horse has bolted. As for that Edward Snowden who stole what didn’t belong to him as surely as if he’d taken something physical out of a shop without paying for it, he needs to be tried in a court of law.

kitchenmudge

Your first setence is likely to be right.

For Snowden, there’s more than on law in play here. He saw that the people he was working with were committing crimes. To cooperate and help conceal it would make him an accessory. Though it’s unlikey that he ever would have been prosecuted for going along, he chose to obey the law that was morally right, when he couldn’t obey both.

marymtf

I’d like to point out one honourable country that doesn’t do what Snowden accuses the US of doing, but can’t. Perhaps you can. For the first few years post September 11, I’ve had to listen to some journos spouting ‘one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.’ It seems that one size does not fit all. So, I have to ask you who is to decide what is morally right? At least going down the legal road bases the outcomes on facts not emotion.

kitchenmudge

“I’d like to point out one honorable country.”

You could have just left it at that.

But I really doubt that many states have the capability to tap into everyone’s phone records and web suring habits, and read everyone’s email. Few would want to bother.

If by “going down the legal road”, you mean bring him in for trial, that would be fine if he had any chance of a fair trial. More likely, they would treat him like Bradley Manning, if he ever lived to see a trial. Not a chance of actually airing the issues in open court when there are “secret” laws and secret evidence that won’t be allowed in court, and the court will simply say: “You can’t use the necessity defense because we say so.”

kitchenmudge

“Government” and “corporations” are both abstractions. The people doing the work in those abstractions are not. The person with access to your data could be a stalker, an identity thief, or a blackmailer. Regardless of the rules put in place, such data collections WILL be abused. Count on it.

Mikels Skele

True enough. And your garbage collector could plant a bomb in your recycle bin. More to the point, the waiter you cheerfully hand over your credit card to is probably more of an identity theft risk than any of those people.

kitchenmudge

Neither the waiter nor the garbage collector has access to hundreds of millions of people to choose from for his victims, nor the easy anonymity for himself.

Mikels Skele

As one of hundreds of millions of people, you and I have the security of anonymity from the evil government, as the odds that anyone would pick one of us out of that mass to torment are astronomically low. Not so with the waiter. You hand him your credit card, one on one.

kitchenmudge

I thought we were talking about thousands of individuals working for the government and its many contractors, not the government, necessarily.

If a restaurant has a credit card fraud traced back to one of its employees it can suffer. Booz Allen Hamilton is too powerful to suffer for much of anything. (in large part owned by the Carlyle Group. Remember them?) They have no incentive to put any safeguards in place for your private data, which is not classified, and has no reason to be classified.

Mikels Skele

Thousands, even if all were evil, still make small probability of one of 313 million getting hurt. Bottom line: Too much data. I suspect you’ll still worry.

Mikels Skele

To me, Snowden is about equal parts hero and traitor. He certainly stimulated this most interesting conversation, which was due for some time now, ever since corporations began amassing information on everyone. However, let’s not forget that he himself was a spook, and cheerfully participated in any number of shady ops before apparently getting a conscience. He knew what he was getting into, apparently bragged about it, and swore an oath, at least implicitly, to reveal none of the details.

Bottom line: the good that has come from this could have been done in a far less dramatic fashion, and legally, without dumping actual classified info onto the world scene.

Snowden appears to be most interested in self promotion. Look at the rights records of Venezuela and Russia, where he is seeking asylum. He doesn’t merit much sympathy.

Tomas Karkalas

While privacy is good thing, it leads to destruction despite all good intentions IF it is not supported by morality. When we acknowledge the priority of the spiritual life, God teaches us how to use our wealth and we blossom out. What you are writing about looks well at first glimpse but is very dangerous because of an attempt to see the privacy as the main moving force of humanity. The privacy enables our being at the cost of life meaning. It do not nourish any creativity but the obedience to the market rules where love has no place.
Respectfully yours
http://arthiker.wordpress.com/2013/07/11/transformational-art-of-tomas-karkalas/

jamharl

I think your thoughts here is really true. It’s same way of saying that there is no order in the absence of rules.

kodonivan

I think what Edward Snowden did was a service to all Americans. He’s not a traitor in my opinion. He has confirmed that our government is very corrupt and cannot be trusted. We all know who the buck stops with on that topic.

Mikels Skele

The government has access to metadata; this does not mean the government is reading your emails or listening to your phone conversations. Over 300 million people live in the US, each having hundreds, thousands of communications per month. It is ludicrous to think that any particular individual is in danger of government getting, or even wanting, access to the content of their communications. What the government looks for within the metadata is any pattern suggestive of terrorist activity. In addition, the pertinent law specifically stipulates that the government avoid any such activity involving US citizens. When suspicious patterns are identified, the government must apply to a court for a warrant to proceed any further. In other words, the court determines whether probable cause exists for further investigation. Much has been made of the secrecy of this court, yet many ordinary court proceedings are also sealed, i.e., secret, and no outcry has arisen about them.

True, all of this is subject to abuse. The government could decide to read emails based on whether or not people agreed with its policies. The government could be evil. History is full of examples of this, long before any of this tech capability. It can be done without any recourse to this data. Government could decide to arrest you tomorrow, emails or no emails. Access to communications metadata could allow them to be more precise, I suppose, but it will not make it easier to foist a dictatorship on unwilling people. I worry more about the willingness of certain parts of our society to demand government control than I do about metadata.

If you want something to worry about, try the fact that corporate America has all of this data to begin with, and is now actively using it to determine your access to information via algorithms to determine your existing preferences; no vetting or approval process in place, or envisioned for the foreseeable future. Worry about the fact that you are unlikely to see any stories that disagree with what you already believe on this very topic via your favorite search engine or news outlet. Or even any that accurately describe what is actually being collected by the government, since we seem to prefer picking sides to analyzing actual information.

cactusbush

“It is ludicrous to think that any particular individual is in danger of government getting, or even wanting, access to the content of their communications”.

I submit that it is not ludicrous; that the government can pull down or assemble a thick dossier of information about any individual (over about 15 yrs old) in the country in a matter of minutes. The infrastructure and technology is in place. Most of the public lives a mundane existence; yes. I agree that there would be no point to the government monitoring all communications. They don’t have to when they can just write or adjust computer algorithms to go back and sift through mountains of stored digital data.

I don’t buy the idea that only meta-data is being stored. From some of the information gathered about DARPA’s Total Information Awareness (TIA) program about 10 years ago, it is realistic to assume that the NSA’s capability extends much farther than that. We are talking about the same National Security Agency/ Central Security Service created back in 1952? The NSA is the world’s largest employer of mathematicians and has the world’s largest and fastest supercomputers. These smart people should certainly be able to develop dragnets able to predict which communications content to store and which to dismiss. They make machines / not humans, listen or look for keywords in conversations or correspondence, in real time.

One of my pet peeve’s, which is growing popular in the modern vernacular, is the term “corporate America’. It is a vague expression with negative connotations. In this instance I prefer the term info-merchants, those parasitic (sometimes small) companies that milk your data to create some type of commodity. I have ranted long enough and so will leave behind a few links pertinent to the privacy topic. Some of these links are old and I have not visited them lately.

Privacy International once maintained a good list of information brokers.
http://www.privacyrights.org/ar/infobrokers.htm
https://www.privacyrights.org/online-information-brokers-list
—-
DARPA / TIA / IOA / Poindexter
http://www.thelivingmoon.com/45jack_files/02archives/IAO_Information_Awareness_Office.html
http://epic.org/privacy/profiling/tia/
EFF : Total/Terrorism Information Awareness (TIA): Is It Truly Dead?
w2.eff.org/Privacy/TIA/20031003_comments.php
—–
This link gets clipped and directed to the current blog. Originally the article placed the USA right up there with England, Singapore, Russia and China – as being top privacy violators.
https://www.privacyinternational.org/article/leading-surveillance-societies-eu-and-world-2007

Mikels Skele

The government can, indeed “pull down or assemble a thick dossier of information” on any individual. That it’s possible doesn’t mean it’s probable for any given individual. It’s rather like the lottery. The state can, at any moment, give millions to any individual based on numerical metadata (lottery tickets).

Look, I’m not saying it’s impossible, I’m saying there’s little reason for any particular, random person to worry about it. If the government goes rogue, we’re screwed all the same. Stalin, Hitler, Mao – none of these guys had this capability, and if they did, there’s a legitimate question of whether the sheer quantity of it would render it much less useful than you would think. Not long ago, information overload was brought up as a possible explanation for intelligence failures relating to 9/11.

In any case, if things are indeed as dire as you say, it’s too late, anyway.

allthoughtswork

Totalitarianism? Two words: North Korea.

But scarier still is something much closer to home. Two syllables: Facebook.

I have managed to steer clear of both to date. I’m researching how to remain that way by reading Frank M. Ahearn’s “How to Disappear,” among other sources. It’s amazing the lengths we must go to these days just to pee with the bathroom door closed, if you’ll pardon the metaphor.

(sound of toilet flushing)

bernasvibe

I’m NOT a facebooker either..Other than the page I co-moderate for work…So many folks willingly give UP their privacy; when they facebook. From college entrance requirements to job qualifications…facebook is being used for MANY reasons these days. 2 thumbs UP on your write…

113yearslater

Two comments: “In both the pre-industrial and industrial ages, we retained the ability to have private conversations.”

True for cities. For people living in rural areas where everyone knew everyone else, privacy far less assumed.

Also … I still don’t get why it’s so awful that the NSF spies on us, but it’s okay when it’s a corporation (Google natch, but lots of others). At least the government has legal restrictions on what it can and can’t do. Corporations can scrub you skinless if they want.

pathelmers

I agree with the last comment. For most of human existence we’ve lived in an agrarian culture. There was no privacy, everyone knew want you owned, they could count your goats. Yet there was safety in your tribe. People looked out after one another. These ideas of privacy are relatively recent. We are hardly lost without privacy. Some might venture we are returning to our roots.

Vanitas Nomen

Wow.
What does “scrub you skinless” even mean? Sounds like you could only use an abstraction when creating this fiction.
I’ve NEVER heard of ANYONE being bodily harmed by Google.
However the Government will parole a rapist to put you in a cage for a leaf – and this is who you champion?
What legal restrictions does the Government have? They make the restrictions, and you best believe they are always in their interest. Ever heard of the War Powers Resolution? So what has stopped presidents from starting conflicts despite this “legal restriction”? Nothing.
You want to avoid Google – no problem. You can’t avoid the state however.

awax1217

I feel that we should have the right not to put our foot in our mouth. Looking at the Zimmerman trial we see the prosecutor using the tape Zimmerman did without a lawyer against his case. In this country we have the right not to incriminate ourselves. We can plead the fifth. In many other tyrannical countries you have no rights and can be beaten to confess out of pain to what you may not have done.

Albert

Privacy is part of “our being” and not “our own”, thus giving it is to lose a part of ourselves, and pretend to let us take it away without a part of our own humanity, and I agree, that’s worse than any terrorist attack.

realjjj

“It is also worth remembering that, even if our current administrations and legal frameworks are well-intentioned”

Well intentioned ? Really?
Lets take Obama as an example, everything else he does ,besides giving more power to security agencies , shows that he’s a smart guy and that implies that he knows very well how wrong all this is. Why is he doing it then? Mostly it’s about doing everything to avoid terror attacks under his watch to not give the other side political ammo. He’s endangering the future of his country for his personal gains.That’s pretty much treason and he’s just a coward (btw i am not a crazy republican, i’m a center-left outsider so i just have to say it as it is).

Not sure why you left out propaganda , losing free will and becoming just farm animals is a rather important aspect of why we can’t allow anyone to have too much data and to use it as they wish.

Someone also has to point out that this desire to dominate the US has is rather outdated, someone needs to grow up. Doesn’t matter how you dominate, by land grabs, economy or data ,it’s all greed inspired.

David Meyer

Yeah, I was being a bit generous on that point (thought I doubt many politicians really enter the game in order to win dominion over all who tremble before them). As regards what I left out – well, I just wanted to keep it relatively concise.

realjjj

Most politicians enter for power and money and maybe fame and they do all they can to keep that .In the US that mostly means selling out to corporations ,but in this case it’s not about that.(the dominating part was about the US, not individual politicians and some of the leaked slides do state that goal).

It’s also rather problematic that EU nations seem to be behaving like vassals, Nobody has the courage to shelter the leaker? If we don’t even try to protect our heroes what the hell are we? Used to think that at least a significant part of EU politicians are honest ,not anymore.

davidofirvine

We are trying to change that. I have met many of the arguments against privacy you mention and find it amazing. I also see things called secure data and storage etc. where the stuff resides on servers owned by people or companies. I find it all amazing that we put up with it all, then I started to design and develop a system that would have at it’s heart privacy, security and freedom and 6 years later I realise just how hard it was to get this all fixed.

To me the only way we can progress as a race is to be able to communicate freely and without internvetion and all our data should be only acessable in any form by us. This is now real and happening, we are releasing all code as we speak and now is the time to forget intervention of any kind on the general population. Early days but this is the year, I hope, it all changes for the better.

thejasg

Best of Luck…yes privacy is a issue that a common net user thinks of whenever he logs into any website…providing that will help a lot :D

davidofirvine

We are really hoping to change that, www,maidsafe.net -> novinet and see the code. It’s a huge job but well worth the effort for sure.

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