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posted by LaminatorX on Sunday June 01 2014, @12:57PM   Printer-friendly
from the As-in-Freedom dept.

The Guardian publishes a lengthy but well constructed essay of Eben Moglen, titled "Privacy under attack: the NSA files revealed new threats to democracy". It is one of the most insightful excursion into why privacy matters, why Snowden cannot be considered a traitor; has well picked examples from history; hints about what the civil society could do (my cynical note: if only it'd be interested) to reclaim privacy back. Granted, takes about an hour to read (and probably a lifetime to filter by first-hand experience: unfortunately not the kind of experience one would wish for).

(I dare not write a digest for SN, the essay is so coherent and round that I'm afraid any omission would damage its discourse. Can't do nothing but recommend it for reading: if you can't do on a working say, save the link for the weekend)

 
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  • (Score: 3, Informative) by AndyTheAbsurd on Sunday June 01 2014, @01:35PM

    by AndyTheAbsurd (3958) on Sunday June 01 2014, @01:35PM (#49896) Journal

    Reclaiming our privacy, unfortunately, cannot be done: Once the technology exists, it will always be possible for someone to access it. If you place restrictions on accessing it, people will just access it covertly. (See also: why are there still drugs on the street when drugs are illegal?) The NSA did what the elites of society always do when taking unpopular actions: They concealed what they were doing so as not to arouse the ire of the populace.

    The ONLY long-term solution is to insist on the ability to LOOK BACK at those in power.

    --
    Please note my username before responding. You may have been trolled.
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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Angry Jesus on Sunday June 01 2014, @02:00PM

    by Angry Jesus (182) on Sunday June 01 2014, @02:00PM (#49905)

    > Once the technology exists, it will always be possible for someone to
    > access it. If you place restrictions on accessing it, people will just
    > access it covertly. (See also: why are there still drugs on the street
    > when drugs are illegal?

    The comparison to drugs is an error. Government is 100% a creation of laws. It has no "will" other than what we give it. There will always be individuals in the government who break the law, but government policy is absolutely something we have the ability to control. Saying otherwise is the ultimate self-fulfilling prophecy and just secedes control of government to the people who would use it against us.

    • (Score: 2) by AndyTheAbsurd on Sunday June 01 2014, @08:45PM

      by AndyTheAbsurd (3958) on Sunday June 01 2014, @08:45PM (#49986) Journal

      I never said that we shouldn't have government. We need government for a variety of reasons. We also need the ability to look at powerful people in the same way that they look at us, in order to hold them accountable for their actions.

      --
      Please note my username before responding. You may have been trolled.
      • (Score: 2) by Angry Jesus on Sunday June 01 2014, @10:23PM

        by Angry Jesus (182) on Sunday June 01 2014, @10:23PM (#50015)

        > I never said that we shouldn't have government.

        And I never said you did. What you did do was make an argument for giving up on controlling the government.

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by AndyTheAbsurd on Sunday June 01 2014, @10:54PM

          by AndyTheAbsurd (3958) on Sunday June 01 2014, @10:54PM (#50021) Journal

          I did not make that argument either. I argued that the idea of "reclaiming our privacy" is ridiculous as long as the tools to violate privacy exist. We need to be able to look BACK at those looking at us - in order to properly chastise them when they are doing something wrong. That includes voting them out of power if they're elected officials (or impeaching them if we can't wait for an election to roll around).

          --
          Please note my username before responding. You may have been trolled.
          • (Score: 1) by Angry Jesus on Sunday June 01 2014, @11:22PM

            by Angry Jesus (182) on Sunday June 01 2014, @11:22PM (#50024)

            > I did not make that argument either. I argued that the idea of "reclaiming our privacy" is ridiculous as long as the tools to violate privacy exist.

            Since the worst of those tools only work in the hands of a government entity by virtue of requiring widespread backbone access to the internet and shippers it is entirely reasonable to reclaim our privacy from the only group that can use those tools. Your own example was a government agency.

            > . We need to be able to look BACK at those looking at us

            While that is nice and all, it is orthogonal to the question of whether or not privacy can be reclaimed from government overreach.

    • (Score: 1) by Jeremiah Cornelius on Monday June 02 2014, @04:23AM

      by Jeremiah Cornelius (2785) on Monday June 02 2014, @04:23AM (#50074) Journal

      "Government is 100% a creation of laws. It has no "will" other than what we give it."
      "Government is 100% a creation of laws. It has no "will" other than what we give it."
      "Government is 100% a creation of laws. It has no "will" other than what we give it."

      Keep telling yourself that's true. It's proof that the brainwashing works.

      The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. ...We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. ...In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons...who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.
      -- Edward Bernays, Propaganda, 1928

      A primer: Century of the Self: Happiness Machines [vimeo.com]

      --
      You're betting on the pantomime horse...
      • (Score: 2) by Angry Jesus on Monday June 02 2014, @05:48AM

        by Angry Jesus (182) on Monday June 02 2014, @05:48AM (#50095)

        Yes, I am big on resisting that sort of manipulation. But the alternative is to simply acquiesce. We are in the control loop -- the people who apply propaganda to manipulate opinion and the people who say we aren't powerful enough are both forces that take us out of the loop.

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Rune of Doom on Sunday June 01 2014, @02:27PM

    by Rune of Doom (1392) on Sunday June 01 2014, @02:27PM (#49910)

    Biologist turned science-fiction author Peter Watts had several [rifters.com] interesting things [rifters.com] to say about the idea of "looking back" at those in power. (They were interesting enough for Bruce Schneier to link [schneier.com]to.) A very short summary would be: alpha primates regard "looking back" as a challenge. Just ask Snowden, Manning or on less national level, anyone who tries to film a police officer.

    • (Score: 2) by AndyTheAbsurd on Sunday June 01 2014, @08:48PM

      by AndyTheAbsurd (3958) on Sunday June 01 2014, @08:48PM (#49987) Journal

      Watts missed a major point: There's a big difference between a lone, half-starved, young male gorilla staring at the well-fed older gorilla in his prime; and a group of 10 half-starved young male gorillas deciding to cooperate to get rid of the older gorilla. Part of being "elite" is that there are fewer elites than there are of other classes - so the other classes need to cooperate to keep them in line.

      --
      Please note my username before responding. You may have been trolled.
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Yog-Yogguth on Monday June 02 2014, @01:51AM

      by Yog-Yogguth (1862) Subscriber Badge on Monday June 02 2014, @01:51AM (#50056) Journal

      That is entirely correct and very insightful. It also means that through acting as a spokesperson for the surveillance the US government has declared war on humanity. A stranger kind of war which is far more lopsided than the war on terror ever could have been and suggesting they might be proportionally awful at winning it. Since I don't think they're actually in charge of anything except on paper I doubt we're that lucky [wikipedia.org].

      While someone/thing else might be in charge no one needs to be in charge if a system can offer enough benefits to be self-propagating through use.

      Things might have crossed that point already, doesn't it strike anyone else how sloppy everything surrounding it actually is? Maybe it only reflects the incredible nose-dive my appreciation of the US government has taken but it is as if it doesn't matter any more. It is as if the people and officials defending or denying it either don't understand any of it or its ramifications or knew anything about what was going on beyond the most vague policy dictates (all of which might still disastrously bad, illegal, stupid, and criminal). I fail to see them as anything but inept clowns failing at pretending to play shop and think they would improve their image of "working" simply by not being present or even alive.

      I don't think Eben Moglen of TFA sees and/or realizes and/or agrees with any of this, I don't think Snowden does either. Then again trying to rally people and trying to inform people or make them understand without walking right into cuckoo territory and sounding completely insane is a pretty tough challenge (I likely fail it just by saying anything at all).

      All of this aside: maybe something will work.

      --
      Bite harder Ouroboros, bite! tails.boum.org/ linux USB CD secure desktop IRC *crypt tor (not endorsements (XKeyScore))
      • (Score: 2, Funny) by Jeremiah Cornelius on Monday June 02 2014, @04:28AM

        by Jeremiah Cornelius (2785) on Monday June 02 2014, @04:28AM (#50075) Journal

        Never ascribe to incompetence, that which can be explained by allegiance to black magic,and worship of satan.

        --
        You're betting on the pantomime horse...
        • (Score: 2) by Yog-Yogguth on Monday June 02 2014, @06:41AM

          by Yog-Yogguth (1862) Subscriber Badge on Monday June 02 2014, @06:41AM (#50108) Journal

          Well that would fit the sloppy part at least but on the other hand it's not like they're doing IT support :)

          --
          Bite harder Ouroboros, bite! tails.boum.org/ linux USB CD secure desktop IRC *crypt tor (not endorsements (XKeyScore))
  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by kaszz on Sunday June 01 2014, @04:28PM

    by kaszz (4211) on Sunday June 01 2014, @04:28PM (#49932) Journal

    Technology can be defeated. You can duck from some laws but have a look at the laws that force you to give out private details (try to refuse filing to IRS). And then there's these social network zoombies that lack any information hygiene.

    Those in power will use any means to get their way. Dont' use any lesser tactics to protect yourself.

  • (Score: 1) by SlackStone on Sunday June 01 2014, @06:50PM

    by SlackStone (815) on Sunday June 01 2014, @06:50PM (#49965) Homepage
    Drugs are still on the street because the NSA likely does not want to play their hand. I'd bet big that the drug industry is how they trained the system. There would be little outcry if the testing was uncovered. Think of the illegal drug market as their test platform.

    They likely knew in advance that everyone in Colorado is high and there's little harm in official legalization.

    Regarding "It can't be done", you are either with us or against us.
    • (Score: 1) by Jeremiah Cornelius on Monday June 02 2014, @04:31AM

      by Jeremiah Cornelius (2785) on Monday June 02 2014, @04:31AM (#50077) Journal

      Drugs are the most profitable sector of the banking economy's "dark matter" universe. They will only ever be stopped or made legal, when it is more profitable for banks and their vassal governments to make this so.

      --
      You're betting on the pantomime horse...
      • (Score: 1) by Wootery on Monday June 02 2014, @09:15AM

        by Wootery (2341) on Monday June 02 2014, @09:15AM (#50137)

        Wouldn't legalisation be good for the banks?

        I imagine there'd be much less in the way of money under the carpet.