Brin needs killing, XIIV

Steve Thompson steve49152 at
Fri Jan 14 10:12:16 PST 2005

To leave the attributions and headers, or not?  

 --- Eugen Leitl <eugen at> wrote: 
> ----- Forwarded message from David Farber <dave at> -----
> From: David Farber <dave at>
> Date: Fri, 14 Jan 2005 04:02:03 -0500
> To: Ip <ip at>
> Subject: [IP] more on   No expectation of privacy in public?
>  In a pig's eye!

> Thank you and best wishes - Josh
> ------------
> Josh, thanks for sharing these remarks about privacy.
> Alas, these folks are falling for the usual trap that
> has snared so many well-meaning people for the last
> decade.  They are right to worry about creeping Big
> Brotherism... and vigorously defending the wrong
> stretch of wall.

I was naive once too.  
> What weird reflex is it, that makes bright people fall
> for the trap of seeing SECRECY as a friend of freedom?

As we all know, 'freedom' is a value-neutral term when 
used on it's own, without a suitable modifier, as in
the above.

> (Oh, when it's YOUR secrecy you call it "privacy.") To

I imagine that most people, in the fuzzy space of
colloquial conceptions, associate 'privacy' with the
information security of their own lives, and associate
`secrecy' with the concealment of corporate or government
information, processes, and assets.  But we may use the
terms interchangeably if it makes you happy.  

To wit: I have secrets which I would like to keep 
from malicious criminals and other government workers.

> rail against others seeing, without suggesting  any
> conceivable way that
> (1) the technologies could be stopped or
> (2) how it would help matters to stop govt
> surveillance even if we could.
> As I've emphasized in The Transparent Society, the
> thing that has kept us free and safe has been to
> emphasize MORE information flows.  To
> ENHANCE how much average people know.

Ok, that is a nice idea but...

Given the information-centric disparity that already
exists between individuals of varying allegiance or
association, how is it possible to assure that most
everyone is brought up to speed on the current state-
of-the-art in the numerous fields of study and 
technology that relate to intelligence and counter-
intelligence in such a way as to make the playing
field level for all?  As it stands, with the mutability
inherent in the acquisition and interpretation of 
signals and surveillance data, it is too easy for 
large masses of people to acquire widespread mis-
conceptions about the veracity of the information
at their disposal.  Put another way: hypothetical 
well-organised dis-information sophisticates could
in theory arrange to give the masses a false 
sense of security and inclusiveness within a subtly
fraudulent framework of public-mediated surveillance
and information sharing.  Perhaps this could be 
arranged by building backdoors and covert access
points in the public surveillance network which 
would allow the 'cabal' to diguise their activities
while also permitting them to arbitrarily muck
about with the publically availble data, subject only
to constraints imposed by the actual state-of-the-art --
enhanced on a practical level by virtue of limiting
in some ways the technology available to the masses.

If that makes sense to you, then it should become 
obvious that certifying the `public surveillance 
network' free compromise by privilaged elites of
any kind becomes a very difficult task.  And as we
all know, groups like the NSA and their foreign 
counterparts already enjoy an indeterminate lead
on the public in areas of interest and relation to
information technology and surveillance.  So, how do
we as average citizens mitigate the threat of being
lulled into a false sense of security by the flashy
newness of some kind of hypothetical BrinWorld 
public surveillance and sharing network?

Clearly this is a large problem, and I certainly don't
have the answer.  But, I think the idea of BrinWorld is 
the correct approach, and obviously some very intelligent
people think so too.  I would refer to the paper entitiled
"The Weapon of Openness", by Arthur Kantrowitz, which
approaches this issue from a more general perspective.   

Most likely, there is a solution that we all can live 
with.  Avoiding the risks will, however, be rather
difficult.  Personally, I wouldn't mind too much living 
in a total surveillance world if I were assured that
everyone else was subject to the same level of scrutiny. 
This is primarily because I don't engage in activities 
which are particularly shameful or which are dependent
upon the immoral or wanton explotation and subversion 
of another person's right to pursue interests that
do not harm others.  I am fully aware that a great
many people do engage in such activities, some of 
which are cultural rites or religious rituals that
are validated by the tacit legitimacy given to them
by a tyrranical majority.  And then there are people 
who live off the avails of crime because they find 
that such activities are `manly', stimulating, or 
otherwise pleasureable in some way.

> And yes, this is the one way to protect genuine
> PRIVACY... though any sensible person knows that the
> word will be re-defined in a new century flooded with
> cheap cameras.

I'm not sure that this is the _only_ way, but it is 
surely the way that looks as though it will acend
to the fore in the near term.
> (For a look at the near future, see:
> This inane reflex to try to blind others, instead of
> empowering citizens to look back, is like a drug,

So goes the psychological theory of the moment.  I'm not
so sure that the mechanism is quite so simple as to lend
itself to a reduction that makes it no different to
chemical addiction.

> alas.  But slowly people are awakening to the facts.


> The world will be a sea of cameras and vision.  But
> that needn't be a nightmare, if we can hold the
> watchers accountable by looking BACK.

Well, yes.  But we also need to do quite a bit of
work to design the *secure* systems, networks, and
code to make it all happen as it should.



[remainder left for context]
> With cordial regards,
> David Brin
> <>
> David Farber wrote:
> >
> > Orwell was an amateur djf
> >
> >
> > ------ Forwarded Message
> > From: Lauren Weinstein <lauren at> <mailto:lauren at>
> > Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2005 11:38:28 -0800
> > To: <dave at> <mailto:dave at>
> > Cc: <lauren at> <mailto:lauren at>
> > Subject: No expectation of privacy in public? In a pig's eye!
> >
> > Dave,
> >
> > It's time to blow the lid off this "no expectation of privacy in
> > public places" argument that judges and law enforcement now spout out
> > like demented parrots in so many situations.
> >
> > Technology has rendered that argument meaningless -- unless we
> > intend to permit a pervasive surveillance slave society to become
> > our future -- which apparently is the goal among some parties.
> >
> > It is incredibly disingenuous to claim that cameras (increasingly
> > tied to face recognition software) and GPS tracking devices (which
> > could end up being standard in new vehicles as part of their
> > instrumentation black boxes), etc. are no different than cops
> > following suspects.
> >
> > Technology will effectively allow everyone to be followed all of the
> > time.  Unless society agrees that everything you do outside the
> > confines of your home and office should be available to authorities
> > on demand -- even retrospectively via archived images and data -- we
> > are going down an incredibly dangerous hole.
> >
> > I use the "slimy guy in the raincoat" analogy.  Let's say the
> > government arranged for everyone to be followed at all times in
> > public by slimy guys in raincoats.  Each has a camera and clipboard,
> > and wherever you go in public, they are your shadow.  They keep
> > snapping photos of where you go and where you look.  They're
> > constantly jotting down the details of your movements.  When you go
> > into your home, they wait outside, ready to start shadowing you
> > again as soon as you step off your property.  Every day, they report
> > everything they've learned about you to a government database.
> >
> > Needless to say, most people would presumably feel incredibly
> > violated by such a scenario, even though it's all taking place in
> > that public space where we're told that we have no expectation of
> > privacy.
> >
> > Technology is creating the largely invisible equivalent of that guy
> > in the raincoat, ready to tail us all in perpetuity.  If we don't
> > control him, he will most assuredly control us.
> >
> > --Lauren--
> > Lauren Weinstein
> > lauren at or lauren at or lauren at
> > Tel: +1 (818) 225-2800
> >
> > Co-Founder, PFIR - People For Internet Responsibility -
> > Co-Founder, Fact Squad -
> > Co-Founder, URIICA - Union for Representative International Internet
> >                      Cooperation and Analysis -
> > Moderator, PRIVACY Forum -
> > Member, ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy
> > Lauren's Blog:
> >
> >
> >   - - -
> >
> >
> >
> >>
> >> ------ Forwarded Message
> >> From: Gregory Hicks <ghicks at> <mailto:ghicks at>
> >> Reply-To: Gregory Hicks <ghicks at>
> <mailto:ghicks at>
> >> Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2005 09:42:03 -0800 (PST)
> >> To: <dave at> <mailto:dave at>
> >> Cc: <ghicks at> <mailto:ghicks at>
> >> Subject: Ruling gives cops leeway with GPS
> >>
> >> Dave:
> >>
> >> For IP if you wish...
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> Ruling gives cops leeway with GPS
> >> Decision allows use of vehicle tracking device without a warrant
> >>
> >> By BRENDAN LYONS, Staff writer
> >> First published: Tuesday, January 11, 2005
> >>
> >> In a decision that could dramatically affect criminal investigations
> >> nationwide, a federal judge has ruled police didn't need a warrant
> when
> >> they attached a satellite tracking device to the underbelly of a car
> >> being driven by a suspected Hells Angels operative.
> >>
> >> [...snip...]
> >>
> >> All Times Union materials copyright 1996-2005, Capital Newspapers
> >> Division of The Hearst Corporation, Albany, N.Y.
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >
> >
> > ------ End of Forwarded Message
> >
> --
> Josh Duberman, Pivotalinfo LLC,
> 15100 SE 38th St. #819, Bellevue,
> WA 98006; Tel:(425) 746-0050;
> Cell:(425) 591-8200; pivotalinfo at;
> Information For Solutions In Business & Science
> ------ End of Forwarded Message
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> --
> Eugen* Leitl <a href="">leitl</a>
> ______________________________________________________________
> ICBM: 48.07078, 11.61144  
> 8B29F6BE: 099D 78BA 2FD3 B014 B08A  7779 75B0 2443 8B29 F6BE
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