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robertogreco : bruceschneier   17

Surveillance Kills Freedom By Killing Experimentation | WIRED
"In my book Data and Goliath, I write about the value of privacy. I talk about how it is essential for political liberty and justice, and for commercial fairness and equality. I talk about how it increases personal freedom and individual autonomy, and how the lack of it makes us all less secure. But this is probably the most important argument as to why society as a whole must protect privacy: it allows society to progress.

We know that surveillance has a chilling effect on freedom. People change their behavior when they live their lives under surveillance. They are less likely to speak freely and act individually. They self-censor. They become conformist. This is obviously true for government surveillance, but is true for corporate surveillance as well. We simply aren’t as willing to be our individual selves when others are watching.

Let’s take an example: hearing that parents and children are being separated as they cross the U.S. border, you want to learn more. You visit the website of an international immigrants’ rights group, a fact that is available to the government through mass internet surveillance. You sign up for the group’s mailing list, another fact that is potentially available to the government. The group then calls or emails to invite you to a local meeting. Same. Your license plates can be collected as you drive to the meeting; your face can be scanned and identified as you walk into and out of the meeting. If instead of visiting the website you visit the group’s Facebook page, Facebook knows that you did and that feeds into its profile of you, available to advertisers and political activists alike. Ditto if you like their page, share a link with your friends, or just post about the issue.

Maybe you are an immigrant yourself, documented or not. Or maybe some of your family is. Or maybe you have friends or coworkers who are. How likely are you to get involved if you know that your interest and concern can be gathered and used by government and corporate actors? What if the issue you are interested in is pro- or anti-gun control, anti-police violence or in support of the police? Does that make a difference?

Maybe the issue doesn’t matter, and you would never be afraid to be identified and tracked based on your political or social interests. But even if you are so fearless, you probably know someone who has more to lose, and thus more to fear, from their personal, sexual, or political beliefs being exposed.

This isn’t just hypothetical. In the months and years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, many of us censored what we spoke about on social media or what we searched on the internet. We know from a 2013 PEN study that writers in the United States self-censored their browsing habits out of fear the government was watching. And this isn’t exclusively an American event; internet self-censorship is prevalent across the globe, China being a prime example.

Ultimately, this fear stagnates society in two ways. The first is that the presence of surveillance means society cannot experiment with new things without fear of reprisal, and that means those experiments—if found to be inoffensive or even essential to society—cannot slowly become commonplace, moral, and then legal. If surveillance nips that process in the bud, change never happens. All social progress—from ending slavery to fighting for women’s rights—began as ideas that were, quite literally, dangerous to assert. Yet without the ability to safely develop, discuss, and eventually act on those assertions, our society would not have been able to further its democratic values in the way that it has.

Consider the decades-long fight for gay rights around the world. Within our lifetimes we have made enormous strides to combat homophobia and increase acceptance of queer folks’ right to marry. Queer relationships slowly progressed from being viewed as immoral and illegal, to being viewed as somewhat moral and tolerated, to finally being accepted as moral and legal.

In the end it was the public nature of those activities that eventually slayed the bigoted beast, but the ability to act in private was essential in the beginning for the early experimentation, community building, and organizing.

Marijuana legalization is going through the same process: it’s currently sitting between somewhat moral, and—depending on the state or country in question—tolerated and legal. But, again, for this to have happened, someone decades ago had to try pot and realize that it wasn’t really harmful, either to themselves or to those around them. Then it had to become a counterculture, and finally a social and political movement. If pervasive surveillance meant that those early pot smokers would have been arrested for doing something illegal, the movement would have been squashed before inception. Of course the story is more complicated than that, but the ability for members of society to privately smoke weed was essential for putting it on the path to legalization.

We don’t yet know which subversive ideas and illegal acts of today will become political causes and positive social change tomorrow, but they’re around. And they require privacy to germinate. Take away that privacy, and we’ll have a much harder time breaking down our inherited moral assumptions.

The second way surveillance hurts our democratic values is that it encourages society to make more things illegal. Consider the things you do—the different things each of us does—that portions of society find immoral. Not just recreational drugs and gay sex, but gambling, dancing, public displays of affection. All of us do things that are deemed immoral by some groups, but are not illegal because they don’t harm anyone. But it’s important that these things can be done out of the disapproving gaze of those who would otherwise rally against such practices.

If there is no privacy, there will be pressure to change. Some people will recognize that their morality isn’t necessarily the morality of everyone—and that that’s okay. But others will start demanding legislative change, or using less legal and more violent means, to force others to match their idea of morality.

It’s easy to imagine the more conservative (in the small-c sense, not in the sense of the named political party) among us getting enough power to make illegal what they would otherwise be forced to witness. In this way, privacy helps protect the rights of the minority from the tyranny of the majority.

This is how we got Prohibition in the 1920s, and if we had had today’s surveillance capabilities in the 1920s it would have been far more effectively enforced. Recipes for making your own spirits would have been much harder to distribute. Speakeasies would have been impossible to keep secret. The criminal trade in illegal alcohol would also have been more effectively suppressed. There would have been less discussion about the harms of Prohibition, less “what if we didn’t…” thinking. Political organizing might have been difficult. In that world, the law might have stuck to this day.

China serves as a cautionary tale. The country has long been a world leader in the ubiquitous surveillance of its citizens, with the goal not of crime prevention but of social control. They are about to further enhance their system, giving every citizen a “social credit” rating. The details are yet unclear, but the general concept is that people will be rated based on their activities, both online and off. Their political comments, their friends and associates, and everything else will be assessed and scored. Those who are conforming, obedient, and apolitical will be given high scores. People without those scores will be denied privileges like access to certain schools and foreign travel. If the program is half as far-reaching as early reports indicate, the subsequent pressure to conform will be enormous. This social surveillance system is precisely the sort of surveillance designed to maintain the status quo.

For social norms to change, people need to deviate from these inherited norms. People need the space to try alternate ways of living without risking arrest or social ostracization. People need to be able to read critiques of those norms without anyone’s knowledge, discuss them without their opinions being recorded, and write about their experiences without their names attached to their words. People need to be able to do things that others find distasteful, or even immoral. The minority needs protection from the tyranny of the majority.

Privacy makes all of this possible. Privacy encourages social progress by giving the few room to experiment free from the watchful eye of the many. Even if you are not personally chilled by ubiquitous surveillance, the society you live in is, and the personal costs are unequivocal."
freedom  surveillance  authoritarianism  privacy  2018  bruceschneier  experimentation  ostracization  prohibition  history  legalization  society  liberty  creativity  unschooling  deschooling  us  parenting  schooling  learning  howwelearn  behavior 
november 2018 by robertogreco
This Tool Boosts Your Privacy by Opening Your Wi-Fi to Strangers | Enterprise | WIRED
"Network owners may ask what incentive beyond altruism might motivate them to share limited Wi-Fi resources with strangers. The Open Wireless Router creators argue their software will be more convenient and secure than the buggy default firmware in typical Netgear and Linksys devices. Unlike those rarely-updated devices, the OpenWireless.org router firmware will be security-audited and allow users to check for updates on the devices’ smartphone-friendly web interface and quickly download updates. “We want to get a much better router in peoples’ hands that will improve their overall experience and security,” says Krishnan.

Krishnan argues that users also will benefit, both personally and on a societal level, from the barrier to surveillance that comes from sharing their network with strangers. “This is not just a neighborly good thing to do,” he says. “If you allow this kind of guest usage, it will make your traffic part of the mix and not associated with you. That gives you some protection.”

But Kamdar points instead to security guru Bruce Schneier’s famous argument that despite the security risks, leaving your Wi-Fi open is an act of civic hospitality. “To me, it’s basic politeness,” Schneier wrote in 2008. “Providing internet access to guests is kind of like providing heat and electricity, or a hot cup of tea.”

Given the kind of widespread network surveillance that’s been revealed in the years since Schneier wrote that line, no one would be considered rude for keeping their network locked down. With the right tools and protections, though, sharing Wi-Fi might become as common as any other baseline social kindness. “For some users,” Kamdar says, “A smile from a friend or neighbor is incentive enough.”"
wifi  security  surveillance  privacy  2014  eff  bruceschneier  civics 
june 2014 by robertogreco
▶ They're Watching Us: So What? - YouTube
[link points to Ariel Dorfman segment]

"Streamed live on Nov 14, 2013
With James Bamford, Ariel Dorfman, Glenn Greenwald, Bruce Schneier

Is the same surveillance that is meant to protect us from danger also harming us?

Are the NSA programs Edward Snowden has revealed inhibiting the way we think, speak, create, and interact? And what about the parallel universe of private sector spying and data mining?

Join luminaries from the fields of literature, technology, media, and policy for a discussion of what we know—and don't yet know—about how surveillance is reshaping our public and private lives.

Presented by PEN American Center in partnership with the ACLU and the Center on National Security at Fordham Law."
via:taryn  chile  arieldorfman  glenngreenwald  jamesbamford  bruceschneier  surveillance  2013  nsa  pinochet  oppression 
november 2013 by robertogreco
[this is aaronland] signs of life [These quotes are only from the beginning. I recommend reading the whole thing.]
"I've been thinking a lot about motive & intent for the last few years. How we recognize motive &… how we measure its consequence.

This is hardly uncharted territory. You can argue easily enough that it remains the core issue that all religion, philosophy & politics struggle with. Motive or trust within a community of individuals.

…Bruce Schneier…writes:

"In today's complex society, we often trust systems more than people. It's not so much that I trusted the plumber at my door as that I trusted the systems that produced him & protect me."

I often find myself thinking about motive & consequence in the form of a very specific question: Who is allowed to speak on behalf of an organization?

To whom do we give not simply the latitude of interpretation, but the luxury of association, with the thing they are talking about …

Institutionalizing or formalizing consequence is often a way to guarantee an investment but that often plows head-first in to the subtlies of real-life."

[Video here: https://vimeo.com/51515289 ]
dunbartribes  schrodinger'sbox  scale  francisfukuyama  capitalism  industrialrevolution  technology  rules  control  algorithms  creepiness  siri  drones  robots  cameras  sensors  robotreadableworld  humans  patterns  patternrecognition  patternmatching  gerhardrichter  robotics  johnpowers  dia:beacon  jonathanwallace  portugal  lisbon  brandjacking  branding  culturalheritage  culture  joannemcneil  jamesbridle  future  politics  philosophy  religion  image  collections  interpretation  representation  complexity  consequences  cooper-hewitt  photography  filters  instagram  flickr  museums  systemsthinking  systems  newaesthetic  voice  risk  bruceschneier  2012  aaronstraupcope  aaron  intent  motive  storiesfromthenewaesthetic  canon 
october 2012 by robertogreco
Schneier on Security: Remote Scanning Technology
"The meta-point is less about this particular technology, and more about the arc of technological advancements in general. All sorts of remote surveillance technologies -- facial recognition, remote fingerprint recognition, RFID/Bluetooth/cell phone tracking, license plate tracking -- are becoming possible, cheaper, smaller, more reliable, etc. It's wholesale surveillance, something I wrote about back in 2004. We're at a unique time in the history of surveillance: the cameras are everywhere, and we can still see them. Fifteen years ago, they weren't everywhere. Fifteen years from now, they'll be so small we won't be able to see them. Similarly, all the debates we've had about national ID cards will become moot as soon as these surveillance technologies are able to recognize us without us even knowing it."
bruceschneier  2012  surveillance  scanners  tracking  milestones  via:Preoccupations 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Some vaguely consistent threads around education in my morning procrastination break. - bengoldacre
"we're living through a technological revolution, which creates changes in what can be cognitively outsourced & what's worth learning, & where some people can press ahead by leaving out the pointless stuff…this stuff about local people setting up education academies is all very well, but what I’d like to see is a visionary nerd school, like a geeky version of Summerhill but set up by, I don’t know, Tim O’Reilly, Suw Charman, Cory Doctorow, Bruce Schneier, Petra Boynton, Vaughan Bell & others. But the inevitable reality is that a lot of individuals will be way ahead on this, educating themselves & cracking on, before institutions can have a hope of catching up. This might have implications for our hopes of living in a meritocracy, or at least it might in certain fields, and in certain countries. And then again it might not. But aren’t you glad to be alive? Normally living through “interesting times” somewhere means war and misery. For now, these changes really are just interesting."
summerhill  via:preoccupations  timoreilly  schools  ict  teaching  education  learning  uk  corydoctorow  meritocracy  bruceschneier  petraboyton  vaughanbell  suwcharman  bengoldacre  technology  change  gamechanging  autodidacts  unschooling  deschooling  democratic  science  medicine  tcsnmy  curriculum 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Is aviation security mostly for show? - CNN.com
"There's a difference between accepting the inherent risk that comes with a free and open society, and hyping the threats.
society  politics  security  bruceschneier  psychology  transportation  airlines  aviation  travel  us  policy  terrorism 
december 2009 by robertogreco
Schneier on Security: My Reaction to Eric Schmidt
"Privacy is a basic human need. [...] For if we are observed in all matters, we are constantly under threat of correction, judgment, criticism, even plagiarism of our own uniqueness. We become children, fettered under watchful eyes, constantly fearful that -- either now or in the uncertain future -- patterns we leave behind will be brought back to implicate us, by whatever authority has now become focused upon our once-private and innocent acts. We lose our individuality, because everything we do is observable and recordable. [...] This is the loss of freedom we face when our privacy is taken from us. This is life in former East Germany, or life in Saddam Hussein's Iraq. And it's our future as we allow an ever-intrusive eye into our personal, private lives. Too many wrongly characterize the debate as "security versus privacy." The real choice is liberty versus control."
bruceschneier  privacy  google  freedom  security  evil  2009  2006  surveillance  ericschmidt  teaching  politics  internet  transparency  tyranny  liberty  rights 
december 2009 by robertogreco
Schneier on Security: Privacy in the Age of Persistence
"Society works precisely because conversation is ephemeral; because people forget, and because people don't have to justify every word they utter. ... Privacy isn't just about having something to hide; it's a basic right that has enormous value to democracy, liberty, and our humanity. ... Just as we look back at the beginning of the previous century and shake our heads at how people could ignore the pollution they caused, future generations will look back at us – living in the early decades of the information age – and judge our solutions to the proliferation of data.
bruceschneier  privacy  technology  memory  forgetting  society  future  information  security  persistence  surveillance  storage  freedom  identity  data  policy  datamining 
april 2009 by robertogreco
Schneier on Security: The Future of Ephemeral Conversation
"Conversation used to be ephemeral. Whether face-to-face or by phone, we could be reasonably sure that what we said disappeared as soon as we said it. Organized crime bosses worried about phone taps and room bugs, but that was the exception. Privacy was just assumed. This has changed. We chat in e-mail, over SMS and IM, and on social networking websites like Facebook, MySpace, and LiveJournal. We blog and we Twitter. These conversations -- with friends, lovers, colleagues, members of our cabinet -- are not ephemeral; they leave their own electronic trails. We know this intellectually, but we haven't truly internalized it. ... When everyone leaves a public digital trail of their personal thoughts since birth, no one will think twice about it being there. Obama might be on the younger side of the generation gap, but the rules he's operating under were written by the older side. It will take another generation before society's tolerance for digital ephemera changes."
bruceschneier  culture  internet  government  generations  ephemeralconversation  future  politics  change  communication  barackobama  mobile  phones  memory  privacy  legal  data  accountability  security  law  etiquette 
november 2008 by robertogreco
Read me first: Passwords are not broken, but how we choose them sure is | Technology | The Guardian
"My advice is to take a sentence and turn it into a password. Something like "This little piggy went to market" might become "tlpWENT2m". That nine-character password won't be in anyone's dictionary...Strong passwords can still fail because people are sloppy. They write them on Post-it notes stuck to their monitors, share them with friends, or choose the same passwords for multiple applications ... Websites are sloppy, too, allowing people to set up easy-to-guess "secret questions" as a backup password or email them to customers.
passwords  security  bruceschneier  cryptography  technology  privacy  reference 
november 2008 by robertogreco
The Atlantic Online | November 2008 | The Things He Carried | Jeffrey Goldberg
"Airport security in America is a sham—“security theater” designed to make travelers feel better and catch stupid terrorists. Smart ones can get through security with fake boarding passes and all manner of prohibited items—as our correspondent did with ease."
travel  us  politics  humor  bruceschneier  theatlantic  security  terrorism  tsa  airports 
october 2008 by robertogreco
The Eternal Value of Privacy
"Cardinal Richelieu understood the value of surveillance when he famously said, "If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged." Watch someone long enough, and you'll find something to arrest -- or just blackmail -- with. Privacy is important because without it, surveillance information will be abused: to peep, to sell to marketers and to spy on political enemies -- whoever they happen to be at the time. Privacy protects us from abuses by those in power, even if we're doing nothing wrong at the time of surveillance."
bruceschneier  privacy  freedom  security  ethics  surveillance  policy  society  rights 
august 2008 by robertogreco
Our Data, Ourselves [Bruce Schneier]
"What happens to our data happens to ourselves...Who controls our data controls our lives...We need to take back our data...Our data is a part of us. It's intimate and personal, and we have basic rights to it. It should be protected from unwanted touch."
privacy  security  data  identity  politics  internet  information  datamining  activism  liberty  surveillance  legal  law  bruceschneier  rights 
may 2008 by robertogreco
Bruce Schneier's Security Matters: The Myth of the 'Transparent Society'
"You cannot evaluate value of privacy & disclosure unless you account for relative power levels of discloser & disclosee. All aspects of government work best when liberty is high, control low."
privacy  government  sousveillance  surveillance  bruceschneier  transparency  policy  balance  society  law  myth  politics  power  security 
march 2008 by robertogreco
Schneier on Security: Security vs. Privacy
"The debate isn't security versus privacy. It's liberty versus control...If you set up the false dichotomy, of course people will choose security over privacy -- especially if you scare them first. But it's still a false dichotomy."
government  economics  privacy  rights  security  society  bruceschneier  politics  us  policy  cryptography  control  democracy  liberty  freedom  paranoia  fascism  terrorism  surveillance  censorship  anonymity  bigbrother  identity  law  datamining  fear 
january 2008 by robertogreco
What Our Top Spy Doesn't Get: Security and Privacy Aren't Opposites
"There is no security without privacy. And liberty requires both security and privacy...those who would give up privacy for security are likely to end up with neither."
privacy  security  government  us  politics  policy  control  democracy  liberty  freedom  paranoia  fascism  terrorism  surveillance  society  censorship  bruceschneier 
january 2008 by robertogreco

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