morlockelloi on Sun, 27 Oct 2013 00:15:31 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> John Naughton: Edward Snowden: public indifference

The real problem is quantifying the consequences, the danger and negative outcomes of the surveillance.

Why is surveillance bad? How does it affect one's life in unambiguous terms? What really happens to the victims of surveillance?

Do they get less income/benefits in the future?
Do they buy more of the shit they don't need?
Do they get less influence in the society?

How is this quantified beyond generalities?

There are examples where mass education worked, which illustrate the hardness of the problem - like smoking, or relationship of microbes to infections. Smoke and you may get serious health problems in 15-20 years. Rather obvious, but it took several decades and billions of dollars of concerted government and non-government efforts to make some impact. Or when Pasteur demonstrated benefits of sterilization, it still took quite some time for everyone to get it, although the incentive was rather obvious.

Where is such incentive regarding surveillance? That your folks will be doomed to remain lower class? That the state will become too strong? Good luck explaining that with measurable effects.

The only way the surveillance can be tamed is if basic measures are widely and sustainably adopted by individuals, like elementary hygiene - washing hands and not eating from the garbage. Sustainably means that it does not depend on 10 or 1000 open source developers. This requires wide acquisition of technical skills, which is simply not going to happen in the today's society without demonstrating clear and present danger.

No one will wash your hands for you.

Is there a real technical reason to have the kind of private
centralized electronic communication spaces on the WWW that have been
carved out of the decentralized and public internet by 'industry'.

No, not really, I think. But, do we see the 'professional peers' or
academics (who previously built the internet up and until the web)
stepping up? Not really.

What's more is, the people who really need to keep their data or
conversations a secret from the US government - I don't know say
Angela Merkel, drug dealers, paedophiles, journalists, activists, etc
- should learn to use the existing tools to do so. The smart ones do

But, do we see normal users turning to the existing alternative
communication spaces and tools (that are often less-convenient or
require more of users)? No, not really.

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