How much of our privacy must we sacrifice for own security? Can freedom exist without liberty?
The intelligence community wants full transparency on their own terms. They promise not to misuse the information, but won't accept oversight. They believe that freedom should accept for a loss of liberty.
The corporate community, meanwhile, has much of the same apparatus, if not more so. For commercial reasons, they want to eradicate privacy, altogether. They are not interested in either liberty or freedom, except when it results in regulation that encroaches on their data collection activities.
The public seems to be divided. However, a lot of people shrug off the debate between privacy and security by saying that they have, "Nothing to hide".
The problem with the "nothing to hide" argument is that we aren't talking about a discrete incident that we'd rather people didn't know about. Instead, we're talking about a mass aggregation of personal behaviour over a long period of time in order to build a profile.
To those people who are indifferent, I would like to know if they'd feel otherwise, if someone were to provide them with the last ten years of their browsing history, purchases, sexual activities, private correspondence, etc, etc.
Someone, somewhere out there, is building a profile on you right now. Do you have a right to know who and why, or even what conclusions they come to?
When mass surveillance is pervasive, hyper-connected, and omni-present, it begins to affect behaviour out of fear, mistrust, or libertarianism. It changes our culture. We begin to where more masks. It could eventually erode freedom of thought.
You cannot have liberty without privacy.
What do you think...?
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As much as I love literature that explores surveillance as a heartless 'Big Brother', I am more intrigued by how the surveillance of the future is more likely to be cute and, consequently, far more insidious (and hideous).
When we put up a Jam to imagine Google as the apparatus of a surveillance State, we didn't realise that it was for real! Truth is stranger than fiction, they say.
This in-depth investigative report demonstrates that Google was seed-funded by the US Dept of Defence and later nurtured by the NSA, along with other government agents and contractors. A number of Google's senior executives have deep ties to America's spy and security apparatus. No wonder they feel like they're spying on us - they are! On purpose. Don't do evil, they say. Why is it that so many engineers lack a sense of irony?
Or, morality?--David G. Wilson
What happens when people are being watched?
They perform.--David G. Wilson
This article explores the extraordinary complacency that afflicts the citizens of the US and UK - two nations that were founded on principles of individual privacy, freedom and liberty - in what it describes as a "citizenry of somnabulation".
Perhaps, the main reason why the public doesn't care about their privacy breached by the intelligence services is because they traded privacy long ago to Internet businesses in return for free services. They no longer feel that their privacy is particularly valuable or important.
However, the article makes an important point - "If Information is power, then the necessary consequence is that Privacy is freedom".
We have made ourselves less free by giving up our privacy to both the public and private sectors and, consequently, we will have fewer rights in future. How sad that so many of our good men and women died to protect those rights over the centuries and, in the blink of an eye, we gave them away for free email and search.--David G. Wilson
What have the recent celebrity nude photo hacking incidents taught us? First, that the notion we should have nothing to fear if have nothing to hide is bogus. All of us have something private in cloud storage (even if it's not nude pictures of ourselves). Second, none of that data is safe from intrusion. Three, the cloud storage companies that store it, take no responsibility for its security (nor any liability when breached).
Also, the media is relatively unsupportive. There's been this attitude that they shouldn't have put this data about themselves in the cloud in the first place, or that because they are celebrities, it matters less than if they were regular people. This is an insidious attitude. Data theft should be highly criminalised, as everything in life is rapidly becoming data. Do you want your genomic sequence stolen from the cloud services that will be sharing it with the medical establishment within a few years? It's time to think ahead to the possible scenarios of abuse and come up with a rapid response to infractions like these.--David G. Wilson
Government Intelligence Services on both sides of the Atlantic have employed legal gymnastics in order to justify spying on citizens without the need for obtaining a warrant, as has been the case under wiretapping laws.
In Britain, the crucial distinction has been whether communication has been "internal" or "external". Internal communication between two citizens requires a warrant, whereas external communication does not. It appears that parliament (who is supposed to have some oversight on the situation) has been unaware that the British security forces have decided that any communication that takes place on a Web-based platform (Facebook, Google, etc) is likely to reside on foreign servers and is, thus, automatically an "external" communication and excluded from intercept regulations. Like Prism, Britain's GCHQ has a facility codenamed Tempora that taps into network fibre-optic cables and can record 600m "telephone events" per day.
Intelligence agencies are, no doubt, trying to carry out a difficult job in fast-moving times and facing considerable technological complexity. Nevertheless, there is an underlying cynicism in the manner in which they treat laws, principles, and public welfare, especially when it comes to obfuscating their procedures before the publicly elected bodies that are meant to oversee their activities on our behalf.
Just as the wolves of Wall Street inculcated a culture of, "We're doing God's work... so, piss off and let us do our jobs", so, too, it would seem are the intelligence agencies. They give the impression that they look upon privacy with disdain when it comes to national security. Nevertheless, you cannot have a truly free society without it.--David G. Wilson
Eben Moglen warns us that without certain degrees of anonymity (such as what we choose to read) there is less freedom of the mind, which leads us, literally, into slavery.
His argument is that privacy is about our "social environment" and not isolated transactions between ourselves and others. "Our individual choices worsen the condition of the group as a whole".
We are paying dearly for products and services that we receive for "free". When we give our personal information away, we undermine the privacy of other people.
The real crime is that our right to privacy and anonymity in reading has been stolen. People are allowed to peak into our minds and this is not double-plus good...--David G. Wilson