We made this mess...

(Som en undtagelse til reglen vil denne blog i dag være på Engelsk, så folk i Det Sydlige Udland kan læse med.)

Amongst mass murderes, Henry Ford reigns supreme.

Even half a century after his death, approximately 1.2 million untimely deaths per year can be traced right back to him. (A further 50 million are maimed each year, but mass murderes can not count near-misses to their credit any more than cricket, soccer or baseball players can.)

But nobody seriously classifies Henry Ford as a mass murderer, just like James Watt is not blamed for CO2 polutions dire consequences, and Bud Fletcher is not blamed for gun violence.

Therefore, by the total lack of powers invested in me, I absolve Mills, Kleinrock, Cerf et al. for any responsibility for the current Global War On Privacy.

However, there's no escaping that we made this particular mess, just like the car nerds made the mess that can be found downtown in pretty much any major city in the world.

And that "we" is people like you and me, people who connected computers, people who wrote software, people who ran ISPs, and people who told everybody and their grandmother how great the Internet was.

... without thinking it fully through.

In particular without thinking it fully through, what people who are not like us might use the Internet for.

It's not like we were not warned.

My good friend Jordan Hubbard personally issued that warning, right on to everybodys screens in 1987, almost but not quite predicting the spam-tsunami later to follow.

The year after, Robert Morris made a programming mistake, which caused his self-replicating code to escape and lay waste to CPU cycles on any Sun or Vax on the net.

The year after again, 1989, Cliff Stoll published his bestselling account of how he had traced and trapped actual bona-fide card-carrying spies who used the lax security of the Internet to steal military secrets in 1986. And just to put a cherry on top, he wrote a little read book called "Silicon Snake Oil" pointing out what we were rapidly loosing in the heydays of the "dot-com" craze.

No, we were warned, and warned good.

And just like, I pressume Henry Ford did, we ignored the warnings, thinking that people would get used to the new way of living.

Well, guess what: If they still havn't, they'll bloody well have to now, because just like the car, there is no way to put this genie back in the bottle.

The best we can hope for, is that somebody invents the safety belt and the airbag.

And this brings me to why I'm writing this blog entry:

The car industry has fought every single attempt societies have made to reduce the carnage wrought by their creations.

If you are young you probably only know Ralph Nader as the bloke who made it possible for G.W.Bush to steal the election from Al Gore, but his major accomplishment was to get safety belts in all new cars. That took him seven years to get legislative action and another 10 years before first effects of his effort began to appear in the statistics.

If, like me, you think The Global War on Privacy is wrong, you got to face that we are headed into a grim battle.

Any attempt from now on to claw back the privacy which have been illegally removed from our lives, will be met by similar fierce resistance.

Resistance from the companies which have made lack of privacy their primary business case: FaceBook, Microsoft, Google, Klout, DoubleClick, LinkedIn etc.

Resistance from the military industrial complex, for whom "Cyberwar" and "Total Situational Awareness" is the new cash-cow.

And resistance from the cold-war generation in governments, who gladly signs the cheques, with our tax-money, in the mistaken belief that spying on love-crossed teenagers and married couples hashing out their daily lives using electronic communication, somehow "enhances national security".

That's a lot more resistance than Ralph Nader had to deal with, for a cause which not nearly as viscrerally in your face as car accidents.

A lot of the "we", are currently arguing that adding more encryption will solve the problem, but they are deceiving nobody but themselves: More encryption only means that more encryption will be broken, backdoored, trojaned or otherwise circumvented.

If you think you can solve political problems with technical means, you're going to fail: Politicians have armies and police forces, you do not.

Like the whites were never thrown back in the ocean, and the cars never removed from the cities, we will never claw our privacy back entirely. Even if you go Full Amish, there will still be military hardware worth billions looking, listening and monitoriing you, every single second of your life.

The only way to claw back some amount of privacy, is politics.

Talk.

Explain.

Write.

Engage.

Cause the right people to be elected

If there are no right people to elect, stand or run (depending on which side of the Atlantic) for office yourself.

That is not how I planned to spend the later half of my life, but we made this mess, and I'm going to do my damnest to clean it up again.

Are you with me ?

phk

Kommentarer (22)
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Jonas Finnemann Jensen

If you think you can solve political problems with technical means, you are going to fail: Politicians have armies and police forces, you do not.

About time somebody said that... I agree a lot of "we" is putting too much trust in technical solutions...

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Jn Madsen

The harder we make our data readable, the higher will the state scream for more money to break it again.
Every time we invent something new to hide data, the same time we increase our own tax to pay someone to break the new privacy technology.
Want privacy? Don't do electronic communication,- meet and talk to people in person. It's nice and old fashioned too :)

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David Rechnagel Udsen

Jeg synes ikke helt din bilanalogi holder. Bycentrer er ikke blevet værre på grund af biler, de har altid være forfærdelige. De er faktisk kun blevet bedre. I gamle dage flød lort og pis i rendestenen. Så kom hestevognene, og det var ikke meget bedre, især fordi at heste stinker og bliver bange. Hvis folk ikke blev ramt af en karret, så tog sygdommene dem.

Bilen reddet mange hestes liv og også menneskers. Jeg er ikke blind for dens problemer, men jeg kan fandme godt forstå at Henry Ford og en masse andre synes det var en skide god idé. Bilen - ligesom internettet - har givet en kæmpe mæssig frihed og muligheder til hver mand.

Men derudover er jeg helt enig, jeg regner dog ikke med at der snart bliver nogen herinde fra der stiller op til Folketinget.

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Casper Kvan Clausen

Jeg synes lidt du glemmer at politik på tilsvarende vis er blevet forandret over tid. Det har gjort at politik i dag tiltrækker folk med personlighedstyper, der er meget sjældne blandt teknologer - og omvendt, at de fleste teknologer vil have ekstremt svært ved rent faktisk at blive valgt (og ved at få noget gennemført hvis de bliver).

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Maciej Szeliga
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Thomas Jensen

[quote id=258904]
Every time we invent something new to hide data, the same time we increase our own tax to pay someone to break the new privacy technology.
[/quote
Og sådan er det bare? Det kan vi ikke ændre?

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Steen Jørgensen

...you're also up against the public. While you and I - and many others - agree that the massive surveillance, which has come to light recently, is alarming, I don't think that the general public shares that view. Most people seem to think, that if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear by a little surveillance.

Have people stopped using facebook? No. They just don't care.

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ab ab

A relevant - and surprisingly encouraging - follow up on the political perspective published yesterday: The 46 recommendations of the President's Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies.

One would be well advised to monitor how these recommendations fare in the political negotiations that follow.

http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/929267/review-group-exec-summary-a...

New York Times coverage for the TL;DR crowd: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/19/us/politics/report-on-nsa-surveillance...

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Kim Henriksen

People don't care at all, because the don't have an overview of the problem, even if you tell them that, they probably will just draw the tin foil hat card.

What we need is for regular people, to understand that their privacy is not improved, by changing some privacy settings on Facebook, because Facebook still has access to the information.

What's even worse is that I have actually lost contact with some people, because I have refused to sign up on Facebook.

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Tommy Bell

That is not how I planned to spend the later half of my life, but we made this mess, and I'm going to do my damnest to clean it up again.

Are you with me ?

phk

Måden du har ment det og måden det fortolkes på, tror jeg er to forskellige ting.

Jeg læser det som at du har haft andre planer med dit liv, men at du nu gør dit for at rydde op i dette rod.

På baggrund af at du lige har sat at der ikke er nogen rigtige at stemme på, så fortolkes det jo som at du så er den rigtige at stemme på, og du dermed stiller op.

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Jan Skou

An honest politician with selfless motivations??? Held og lykke!

Good you wrote this in English. It has to be international to succeed. Though it will be infiltrated from the start, then twisted, corrupted and made impotent by the establishment as soon as it tries to go anywhere.

But that's not a reason to give up. I'm in.

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Jan Gundtofte-Bruun

I've already argued that we need IT literate forces in the government, if not an all-out IT party.

Sadly, I'm very reluctant to personally step into politics. This is in part because I do not wish to become a public person, but also due to the adage "Don’t argue with idiots because they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience."

However, I would gladly support such an IT literate party.

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