Assange believes too late for any pervasive privacy

Steve Kinney admin at
Fri Dec 11 08:54:14 PST 2015

Hash: SHA1

On 12/11/2015 03:38 AM, Zenaan Harkness wrote:

> Game for privacy is gone, mass surveillance is here to stay –
> Assange on #RT10 panel

[ ... ]

> while some experts can achieve practical privacy for themselves
> for limited number of operations… it’s gone for the rest of
> the populations,” the WikiLeaks founder stressed.

[ ... ]

> The WikiLeaks founder reminded the panel of the historic
> examples of East Germany and other societies, in which people
> adapted to living under the scrutiny of the authorities.

[ etc. ]

Well yeah, he's only stating the obvious:  Pervasive networked
computing is here, it's growing, and historical concepts of
'privacy' are just that, historical.  But in the context of the
show, his comments focus on the archaic paradigm of "privacy" as
something that exists naturally and is violated when State actors
pry into the private affairs of individuals.  That's a narrow
viewpoint, distorted by an increasingly irrelevant context.
Today, State actors are only one group of "privacy violators,"
alongside commercial interests and the general public itself.  The
disadvantages of a world with little or no privacy are
counterbalanced by significant advantages that are inherent in a
world of "networked everything."

The Panopticon is a prison where the guards can watch the inmates
but the inmates can not watch the guards.  The Internet is a
prison where the inmates can watch each other, and the guards:
The guards do have a better view, but their powers of observation
are no longer exclusive.

Secrets that could once be kept until after their exposure could
make no difference are now breaking open before the protected
operations are completed:

CPunks will recall Cryptome's ongoing Eyeball series, and of
course, the Total Poindexter Awareness project:  Early examples of
open source intelligence collection /and/ reporting directed
against the wardens of our modern Panopticon.  Today, projects
like CopWatch are "watching the watchers" and reporting to an
audience large enough to inconvenience our Panopticon's owners.
In the last few days we have seen random nobodies manage to save
and re-publish multiple eyewitness accounts of a staged
'terrorist' attack, directly contradicting the propaganda
narrative the event was staged to support.

The availability of more and better political intelligence
formerly concealed from the public is growing exponentially.  This
is one of several drivers of fundamental change in large scale
power relationships that is causing a panic among our present
rulers.  The United States is preparing to put down major civil
uprisings inside its own borders, again in full view of interested
members of the general public.

I sometimes compare paranoid reactions to the "loss of privacy" in
the networked world to mental telepathy:  The prospect of someone
reading your mind is frightening, until it turns out that your own
deeply held secrets are not special or unusual to a telepath who
has already "seen it all" and has /far/ worse examples to compare
your most heinous and embarrassing inner thoughts and motivations

Old Farts have major problems wrapping their heads around the
concept that a world where privacy is shrinking fast and expected
to nearly disappear is a Good Thing.  People who grew up with the
Interet, not so much.


Version: GnuPG v1


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