Cross-post from LinkedIn, in response to Maybe Big Brother Isn’t As Bad as You Think:
“This is a future Orwell could not have predicted. And Big Brother may turn out to be a pretty nice guy.” I respectfully disagree. As others have noted, there is (and always will be) a huge asymmetry in the information being shared and consumed as far as “Big Brother” and state surveillance is concerned. The “sharing” in this case is one-way. Only those in power would have the ability to view and make sense of the data.
Your argument that we “choose to share data” because we get something in return, is flawed. Most people do not choose to share the kind of data that we are referring to in this regard, otherwise it would be done freely and intentionally, and the secretive information gathering we are witnessing here would not be taking place. Even the information we do share “intentionally”, is done so for the most part by many of us who do not pay attention to, and truly consider the ramifications of the many disclaimers, license agreements, and privacy policies that we agree to on a daily basis. What we get in return, as you suggest, is far from a fair compromise.
This one-way “sharing” means that those who are in power have not only the ability to collect this information, but also the tools and the ability to analyse this data and generate statistics that the rest of us have no choice but to consume as facts. Aside from the ability to collect and “make sense of” the data, on our behalf – those in power also have the ability to limit and restrict infrastructure and resources in order to manipulate the “facts” at the source. For example, the ability to manipulate DNS or shut down ISPs to prevent the dissemination of data – effective censorship. Many people have been detained or persecuted (or worse) simply for “sharing” their thoughts and beliefs.
How can you make an anti-Orwellian argument, a case *for* “Big Brother”, and suggest that this kind of sharing can be good and benefit us all equally, when the vast amount of information we are talking about can be controlled from source to audience by such small percentage of the population? I suggest you pay attention the thoughts and many works of notable individuals such as Noam Chomsky, Glen Greenwald, and Lawrence Lessig, and perhaps reconsider your position on this matter. I am currently reading Greenwald’s latest book “With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful”. I am sure you would find it most enlightening.
For those more visually/audibly inclined: “Noam Chomsky & Glenn Greenwald – With Liberty and Justice For Some”
Ars Technica recently talked to Michael Geist, a legal scholar at the University of Ottawa, about this effort. He told us that rather than making their arguments at the World Intellectual Property Organization, where they would be subject to serious public scrutiny, the US and other supporters of more restrictive copyright law have increasingly focused on pushing their agenda in alternative venues, such as pending trade deals, where negotiations are secret and critics are excluded.
Read the full article at ArsTechnica.
[techweekeurope.co.uk] UK Government To Demand Data On Every Call And Email
Plans could force ISPs and phone operators to hand over records on all phone calls, emails, Tweets and Facebook messages
[telegraph.co.uk] Phone and email records to be stored in new spy plan
Details of every phone call and text message, email traffic and websites visited online are to be stored in a series of vast databases under new Government anti-terror plans.
This story also made the Slashdot front page.
“… To most of us living today, all these fantasies of the future seem most objectionable: the loss of privacy and freedom, the restriction of travel, and the progressive conversion of flesh and blood, wood and stone, fruit and fish, sight and sound, into plastic, synthetic, and electronic reproductions. Increasingly, the artist and musician puts himself out of business through making ever more faithful and inexpensive reproductions of his original works. Is reproduction in this sense to replace biological reproduction, through cellular fission or sexual union? In short, is the next step in evolution to be the transformation of man into nothing more than electronic patterns?”
” All these eventualities may seem so remote as to be unworthy of concern. Yet in so many ways they are already with us, and, as we have seen, the speed of technical and social change accelerates more than we like to admit. The popularity of science-fiction attests to a very widespread fascination with such questions, and so much science-fiction is in fact a commentary on the present, since one of the best ways of understanding what goes on today is to extend it into tomorrow. What is the difference between what is happening, on the one hand, and the direction of its motion, on the other? If I am flying from London to New York, I am moving westwards even before leaving the British Coast.”
– From: The Book.. On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are, by Alan W. Watts, First Collier Books Edition 1967
Bell Canada and other big telecom companies can now freely impose usage-based billing on independent Internet Service Providers (indie ISPs) and YOU.
This means we’re looking at a future where ISPs will charge per byte, the way they do with smart phones. If we allow this to happen Canadians will have no choice but to pay more for less Internet. Big Telecom companies are obviously trying to gouge consumers, control the Internet market, and ensure that consumers continue to subscribe to their television services.
This will crush innovative services, Canada’s digital competitiveness, and your wallet.
We need to stand up for the Internet.
Sign the Stop The Meter petition!
I watched the second debate last night, and I was very disappointed.
Obama kept repeating his same old attacks against McCain, and McCain likewise.
The problem I have with these debates is that they are not moderated correctly, in my opinion.
Why wasn’t Tom Brokaw controlling the debate, insisting that they answer his questions directly? Tom should have said something to the effect of “I want you both to answer these questions without resorting to criticism of one another. I want a debate that focuses on solutions, and on your ability to answer the questions posed by the American people, not a debate based on what you think about each other.”
Continue reading Second Presidential Debate: Obama vs. McCain