(fwd) Re: What's so bad about a Surveillance State?

Jim McCoy mccoy at ccwf.cc.utexas.edu
Wed Mar 16 13:29:09 PST 1994

Blanc Weber <blancw at microsoft.com> writes:
[...regarding a "surveillance state"...]
> Thinking about life in a surveillance state, I wonder what youall would 
> do if it came to pass?  I once asked a bunch of Objectivists what they 
> would do if a certain individual was elected and the US was turned into 
> a socialist/commie paradise.  In three hours of discussion, they could 
> not arrive at any viable ideas.
> Maybe, Jim, you could also compile some replies about how 'free radical 
> units' would deal with the problem.  It might sound a bit like a sci-fi 
> story, all total.

It really all depends on how angry you are about the turn of events.  The
U.S. has never really faced "terrorism" in the sense that it is a dark fact
of life in many parts of the world.  Look at how freaked out people were
about the WTC bombings.  An event such as this might push a lot of people
into considering such alternatives...

Now imagine a campaign directed by people with the intelligence and savvy
such that you would find in the fringe areas of the net (like here for
example...)  Even I could make a better bomb out of common household
chemicals than the one the WTC bombers used...  Imagine the effect of
random destruction upon some of the completely unprotected infrastructure
of the US:

	-A fire in phone exchanges in Chicago in the 80s and LA recently
	denies phone service (including E911 services) to major markets,
	bugs in switching systems cause nation-wide LD service lossage.
	Now consider the possiblity of a directed and coordinated attack on
	such systems.  It would only work once before security is
	tightened, but the impact of damaging the switching stations for
	the top ten markets in the US all at once should not be

	-With the rise of fiber telcos are laying fewer cable routes and
	just stuffing the routes they do dig up with more fiber than is
	necessary for replacement of the existing copper, leaving some
	major areas with only a single path in and out as one bundle of
	fiber replaces tons of copper that was laid in multiple paths
	originally becayse it would not fit in one path.  Saves the telcos
	money, but a single backhoe might be able to cause some major
	damage now...

	-Americans are woefully unprapared for the loss of any utility
	services.  After watching last summer's flood damage first hand I
	can assure you that any attacks that damage municipal water
	supplies will be remembered for quite some time...

	-A single relay switch burned out in 1972 (i think... :) and caused
	the entire northeastern US to lose power for hours.  Perhaps weak
	links such as this are still around...

Just take a scan through the RISKS digest and ask yourself what kind of
damage could be done if someone was really out to cause problems.  IMHO,
the biggest check we have against a rapid shift to a totalitarian
government is that our society is too open to repel an dedicated attack
from within...


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