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posted by Blackmoore on Friday December 05 2014, @06:30AM   Printer-friendly
from the room-101 dept.

Julian Assange writes in an op-ed in the NYT that we are living in a surveillance society where totalitarian surveillance is embodied in our governments and embedded in our economy, in our mundane uses of technology and in our everyday interactions. Companies like Google and Facebook are in the same business as the U.S. government’s National Security Agency says Assange and their business model is the industrial destruction of privacy. This destruction of privacy widens the existing power imbalance between the ruling factions and everyone else, leaving “the outlook for subject peoples and oppressed classes,” as Orwell wrote, “still more hopeless.”

According to Assange, the very concept of the Internet — a single, global, homogenous network that enmeshes the world — is the essence of a surveillance state. "The Internet was built in a surveillance-friendly way because governments and serious players in the commercial Internet wanted it that way. There were alternatives at every step of the way. They were ignored." But if there is a “democratic weapon,” that “gives claws to the weak” in George Orwell's words, it is cryptography. "It is cheap to produce: cryptographic software can be written on a home computer. It is even cheaper to spread: software can be copied in a way that physical objects cannot. But it is also insuperable — the mathematics at the heart of modern cryptography are sound, and can withstand the might of a superpower." It is too early to say whether the “democratizing” or the “tyrannical” side of the Internet will eventually win out says Assange. "But acknowledging them — and perceiving them as the field of struggle — is the first step toward acting effectively."

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  • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 05 2014, @12:18PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 05 2014, @12:18PM (#122900)

    In case you don't want to follow the links, Assange is basically saying that he's essentially been out of the spotlight ever since that Snowden fella so he feels the need to write an article about how the Internet is made up of computers all connected together in a manner that suggests some kind of virtual "web" of sorts, and large corporations have an interest in finding out as much about you as they can so they can market stuff to you. I know, it is all shocking and hard hitting observations, but I'm sure it will rocket him back into Internet stardom. Maybe he's trying to sell a movie script about his life living in an embassy.

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  • (Score: 3, Informative) by Pav on Friday December 05 2014, @04:56PM

    by Pav (114) on Friday December 05 2014, @04:56PM (#122966)

    We in the tech community have been hammered by these kinds of messages for decades, but this is the New York Times... Joe Sixpack needs this stuff in front of him. If Assange can get a few hundred words in print then good on him.

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by hemocyanin on Friday December 05 2014, @05:16PM

    by hemocyanin (186) on Friday December 05 2014, @05:16PM (#122970) Journal

    You must be the requisite hired government shill designed to distract people from the message.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 05 2014, @07:52PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 05 2014, @07:52PM (#123008)

      You caught me. I am. In fact, EVERYONE who doesn't bow low and kiss Assange's ring and Snowden's ass is a government shill. But I do take comfort knowing that I am not a rapist.

      It is even worse than that. It turns out you were right all along and that EVERYONE who doesn't agree with you and where you choose to draw your line that divides all existence into a binary decision tree of good/evil (or moral/immoral, if you prefer), is a shill of some sort.

      • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Saturday December 06 2014, @01:50AM

        by hemocyanin (186) on Saturday December 06 2014, @01:50AM (#123080) Journal

        If you aren't a shill, then your an idiot. You could be paid to spout that crap and instead you do it for free?? crimeny!

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 06 2014, @02:52PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 06 2014, @02:52PM (#123209)

          I'm sorry I am obviously not on the side of Good and Righteousness as you. I will strive to improve my moral well being by fully embracing and following your doctrine. Even now I am working hard to suppress the last vestiges of original thought and opinion. Ah, there. I think I have removed all remnants of nuance from my thinking.

          As a token of peace between us, what say we get ourselves a cup of joe and go hang outside of a Planned Parenthood and inform all the women walking in that they are amoral whores. We'll make a day out of it and we'll get to feel that warm, cuddly boost of self-righteousness that one gets when they get to cast judgement from their tower of moral certaintude.

          This feels great! I'm looking forwarding to mod-bomb any jerk who casts Julian and Eddie in a less than saintly light.