Google is in a business similar to China’s: social observation. One compiles and exploits user data to facilitate the commerce that builds its own advertising and research revenues; the other may use the same data to identify and channel Internet end users in service to the regime’s planning, revenue development, and security.
I and many others, I’m sure, had hoped that the Internet would help us get “over the wall” for the benefit of our careers and wallets. It has done that for some but turned millions into heavy online readers and typists even with good “Klout” and other statistics.
It’s good to be here.
I would still like to be fed.
Lost in cyberspace, networking around the universe, should have been a good thing and with most participants better adjusted in a growing online economy that still may be coming. However, as you note, the malicious are ever among us, and, indeed, others know our names, e-mail addresses, and phone numbers, for a start. Outfits like Facebook and Amazon — never mind what the Federal government may be doing — have us complexly profiled for relationships, purchasing behavior, entertainment interests, etc.
Privacy has become an offline, computers off (!), phones off, pen-and-paper and real space face-to-face prize, the problem with which is how little can be done with it by most.
While the global village may be defined by shared mind, the local village stubbornly remains a collection-and-delivery point for exchange in basic retail and trades functions.
It looks like BackChannels could do with some funding.
Indeed, it’s author has been spending more time away from politics and The Social Network, some for business in another sector, some for the sanity afforded by solitude, a good book, and a journal.
Well, these days, retreat into the 19th Century (Modern!) might comprise a new dimension in insanity.
We’ll have to see about that.
Before this morning’s exchange of correspondence, from which I have copied the above statement, these items from International Business Times (IBTimes) showed up in my inbox:
Hear this, Amazon: the end-user does not want the upstream mill to have predictive validity as regards the anticipation of his next need or want, not that he wants to shop around in real space either to save a buck or two (while spending many on gasoline) on this and that.
And may one add to this: no earner — no spender.
Whatever effects BackChannels may have on global political psychology — well, I’ve enjoyed the project, as have readers in 112 nations, at least — the life-and-work style have pummeled me with a barrage of advertising daily while returning . . . air.
What they’re ignoring is that this is actually how democracy works. Even in a free society, the state has to have some secrets. The means and methods by which it tracks terrorists should, I’d suggest, be one of them. Should those means and methods be subject to scrutiny? Yes. Should that scrutiny come from our democratically elected representatives? Yes. Should the powers being scrutinised also be the subject of checks and balances from the courts? Yes. In other words, precisely what has been happening with Prism.
In Politico, Tal Kopan has worked up a scathing indictment of Snowden’s character founded on the slant of the details, from Snowden’s dropping out of high school, albeit completing his GED coursework in the community college system, to the stickers on his laptop: “4.His laptop stickers reveal his beliefs. Stickers on Snowden’s laptop express support for Internet freedom, The Guardian said. One reads, “I support Online Rights: Electronic Frontier Foundation,” and another is for the Tor Project, an online anonymity software.”
“The main stipulation for seeking asylum in Iceland would be that the person must be in Iceland to start the process,” said Johannes Tomasson, the chief spokesman for Iceland’s Ministry of Interior in Reykjavik. “That would be the ground rule No. 1.”
Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook, Apple, AOL and Paltalk erected what the New York Timesdescribes as “locked mailboxes” in which to place data on suspicious persons requested by the government under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA. The Times’ description, published Saturday, used unnamed sources.
Basically, it looks like the post-911 Bush Administration launched a broad and comprehensive effort to detect terrorists and their operations (apparently, ignoring plain old gumshoe Russian intelligence sharing prior to the Boston Marathon bombing shouldn’t be mixed in with this NSA story), and, legally, Congress-approved, by law, Obama has sustained the Bush Administration plan.
This is for my paranoids — it’s at least four years old, has been viewed more than 57,000 times, and it will take you where you want to go.
God has not exempted geeks from having their own character and personality issues, so here I may lump Assange, the Wikileaks guy (click for the latest on that), and Snowden together — birds of similar feather, says I, and asylum, indeed, is what they have needed.
Expect Edward Snowden’s breach of his NSA nondisclosure agreement to burn its way around the world.
What is freedom if it is not the ownership of one’s communications with assumed privacy?
What is security if it is not the state’s ability to operate “listening posts” to detect malice against those it has been charged to defend?
I have said of the Islamic Small Wars, and as much may be said of all organized crime and political terror, that they are wars for poets and detectives, the former because 1) what takes place in the mind takes place in language, and 2) what takes place in real space involves the most private forms of collusion and operational communication.
The recapitulation of international web traffic that starts at the Internet’s trunk lines, the robotic sifting for strings and patterns or known quantities, one might call them . . . I’m not sure that bothers me so much.
I am more concerned when the FBI ignores or overrides a valid and reliable Russian intelligence tip-off and Boston marathoners and their families and friends lose their lives or legs: what motivated that negligence before the fact?
I’m also annoyed a little bit about the web bots watching my online shopping and pressing me to buy whatever I’ve browsed on every other Facebook or online news page.
In the end, if we don’t like so much electronic snooping, we can, I suppose, resume living locally and hope the bar, the coffee shop, the barber’s chair, and the local park are not infested with bugs that never bite but only listen.