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Government Privacy

The Problem With How We Think Of Surveillance 96

Posted by samzenpus
from the watching-you dept.
blastboy writes "Here's a great essay on Snowden, technology and the problem with how we think of surveillance. From the article: 'Why do we give them our data? For the same reason that prompted the protesters to pull out their phones amid a swirl of tear gas: digital channels are one of the easiest ways we have to talk to one another, and sometimes the only way. There are few things more powerful and rewarding than communicating with another person. It’s not a coincidence that the harshest legal punishment short of the death penalty in modern states is solitary confinement. Humans are social animals; social interaction is at our core. Yet the more we connect to each other online, the more our actions become visible to governments and corporations. It feels like a loss of independence. But as I stood in Gezi Park, I saw how digital communication had become a form of organization. I saw it enable dissent, discord, and protest.'"
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The Problem With How We Think Of Surveillance

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  • Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by msauve (701917) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @11:00PM (#46242995)
    "Why do we give them our data?"

    Wrong question, because it incorrectly assumes that something is willingly "given." More properly, "Why do they take our privacy?"
    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 13, 2014 @11:16PM (#46243043)

      No, you give them your data. Well, maybe not you personally, but in general, we do. We insert Facebook in the middle of all our communications, when there's no bloody reason to, and everything people do on FB was done without FB for a few decades online before that.

      We put all our photos up on social network sites, instead of just sharing them with our friends, we share them with data mining companies.

      Fill in your own example - there are thousands upon thousands. But yes, we give them our data. We GAVE those companies the power to data-mine us to hell. We MADE those companies succeed financially.

      Captcha: consent. We gave them our consent, and routed all our communications through them. They took advantage of it, but what did we expect?

      • by msauve (701917)
        I don't have a FB account, speak only for your own foolishness.
        • You are a statistical outlier. This is not about you. Sit back and learn about the majority of people, who are different from you. Yes, such people exist, and make up the vast sea of humanity.

          They aren't on Facebook? Non sequitur, they would be if they chose poorly between an internet connection vs. a pot to shit in.

          • by icebike (68054)

            You are a statistical outlier.

            And you are just a plain lire.

            The majority of people do not have facebook accounts.
            Oh, and here's another tip for you: your little circle jerk of facebook friends does not represent the real world.

            • by s.petry (762400)

              And you are just a plain lire.

              He is a misspelled musical instrument?

            • by tlhIngan (30335)

              And you are just a plain lire.

              The majority of people do not have facebook accounts.
              Oh, and here's another tip for you: your little circle jerk of facebook friends does not represent the real world.

              Actually, Facebook gathers "shadow profiles" of people who don't have accounts but friends talk about anyways (and the information is "public" - so it's advantageous to create an account if nothing other than to mark it private).

              And while the vast majority of the world doesn't have a Facebook account, the ones of

      • Finally, a decent ironic captcha. Most are pretty much a stretch, at best, some, I don't get at all.
        • by icebike (68054)

          Finally, a decent ironic captcha.
          Most are pretty much a stretch, at best, some, I don't get at all.

          If you were referring to TFA you are not alone in your bewilderment. It is neither a great article (as the summary suggests), nor does it have a particularly well structured chain of thought. It is, at best, tangential to what the summary claims, and the entire purpose seems to be the self aggrandizement of an urban anarchist and his photographer buddy.

          I'd like my 10 minutes back please.

      • by AHuxley (892839)
        It also flows from various stages of life: higher education, car use, phone records, medical needs, unemployment insurance, buying books/internet use.
        Most of that can be shared between govs once you become interesting or bought on the open market by govs to index and sort until they find you interesting.
        Add in local mil mercenary data firms, contractors with clearances - all the classic privacy firewalls are gone between the public, private and a globally connected intelligence community.
        The good aspect
      • There are two different "we"s in some languages (IIRC Finnish being one of them). An inclusive one and an exclusive one, i.e. including or excluding the one you're talking to.

        I sincerely hope you meant the excluding one. For I don't feel like I am part of that "we" you talk about. For the very reason you mention I neither have a FB account nor did I ever consent to my picture being smeared across any pages.

        The problem I have with the whole shit is that even if I decide not to give away my data, you may rest

      • blame facebook (Score:4, Interesting)

        by globaljustin (574257) <[justinglobal] [at] [gmail.com]> on Friday February 14, 2014 @01:57AM (#46243515) Homepage Journal

        IMHO, you're giving facebook.com and others a pass.

        They have the **factors of production**...facebook wasn't ONLY some kids in a dorm room. They were from rich families who could support them for years before they made any profit directly. They had family connections to high level attorneys. They had the protection of our laws paid by all of our taxes.

        You can't be consistent and just cross your arms and say, "Hey, its their system, you agreed to it...if you dont like it dont use it"....that's only half an argument. It's a complaint masked as an argument. Anyone who says this is thinking like a slave.

        It's inconsistent because its not a free market. Any facebook.com competitor faces ***SEVERE*** barriers to entry that are by facebook.com's design.

        There is an artificial scarcity of competition with facebook.com.

      • by epyT-R (613989)

        Just because people do that doesn't mean that facebook/nsa et al don't TAKE that communication.. They could choose to anonymize it. They don't.

        • by guises (2423402)
          Exactly. you could rewrite that sentence any number of other ways:

          "We insert the internet in the middle of all our communications, when there's no bloody reason to..."
          "We insert phones in the middle of all our communications, when there's no bloody reason to..."
          "We insert pencil and paper in the middle of all our communications, when there's no bloody reason to..."

          Facebook is just another communications medium and doesn't have to be the privacy blackhole that it is. When you post your personal informa
      • by Evtim (1022085)

        I've got nothing of this. Nothing. No Facebook, no tweeter, no nothing. Not even a picture of me on the public Internet can be found. /. and Linkedin , that is all [I regret the latter and perhaps I am beginning to regret the former too].

        Now, do you think that the contacts from my phone are not pulled hundred times already by everyone and their dog? Do you think that I have no file somewhere based only on my /. posts? Do you think my I-net queries and everything I do online is not followed? Do you think tha

      • You give them your data the same way you give the road your tires. There's some strange expectation that the rest of your vehicle isn't being consumed / sold / exploited when you do so.
      • You know what really bothers me? I don't have Facebook for the exact reasons you've mentioned. But under current laws and social norms someone could take a picture of me and give it to Facebook who will keep it forever, use face recognition software on it, etc, etc, all without me even agreeing to their ridiculous EULA. That should be illegal.
    • Where does "our" data end end "theirs" begin? The question has no clear answer. If I do something in public, do I own everyone else's knowledge of what I did? Is it a violation of my privacy if someone sees me in the street and tells a friend about it?
      • by ATMAvatar (648864)
        I care little that some stranger I've never seen before happens to notice that I leave a bar. I do care when I realize that someone is following me everywhere I go.
        • And omnipresent CCTV is pretty much "someone following every single step you take".

          If I do something like that, I'd be in jail for stalking. If the government does it millions of times every single day, it's "protection".

        • A good point, this is where I eventually arrived in my own ruminations. If I post on Facebook that I like gardening, and Facebook shows me gardening related ads, well that is their business model isn't it? It is when they use web referers off of their ubiquitous tracking bugs that I think they cross over into a bad place.
      • Where does "our" data end end "theirs" begin? The question has no clear answer.

        I have to differ for several reasons.

        First, the 'data' is 1's and 0's stored on any number of servers. It completely technically possible to isolate where exactly your digital data is stored.

        2nd, it's easy to define and protect a person's personal information by law. It's called 'unreasonable search and seizure' of 'personal papers, etc' in the Bill of Rights. The problem is that people make false distinctions between digital

        • So you want to be able to give information to some other party, and then dictate what they can and cannot do with it? Isn't this what we call DRM? My point is that is it not your information any more than it would be if your neighbor observed that you like gardening.
    • More properly, "Why do they take our privacy?"

      Yes.

      IMHO, it's better said, "Why do we **let them** take our privacy"

      Here in America, we still have a democracy. It can function theoretically. We need to ***elect better leaders***.

      The people who wrote the Digital Millenium Copyright Act could barely check their own email....think about that.

      • by s.petry (762400)

        Here in America, we still have a democracy.

        Today this is very questionable, thirty years ago I would have agreed with you. I am not saying that we don't, but rather that the last few tests have failed so I have no confidence. You can investigate Ross Perot and what happened to him just as easy as the next guy. You can also investigate Ron Paul and see what happened to him, including the leader of Iowa's Republican caucus stating on public radio "Ron Paul will not win in Iowa" a week before the primaries followed by numerous problems and suspiciou

  • by hamster_nz (656572) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @11:15PM (#46243039)

    I'm sure a fair percentage of Slashdot readers would like nothing more than a nice quite room, limted exercise and regular meals. The only thing missing is a laptop, and good wifi github access. ... and please firewall off Facebook and Twitter - pretty please.

    • And still all of us are here interacting with each other willingly... So you can say that at least by your example your assumption is quite wrong.
      • I'm stuck at work... I'ld rather be home coding :-)

      • It's a difference between interacting with people you enjoy interacting with and having to interact with people. Work is the latter, usually, unless you're REALLY lucky.

        There's a good reason my circle of friends contains no marketing people. I can choose who I socialize with in my spare time. Sadly, no such luck at work.

        • Which is perfectly fine, but although it may make you less social than some, you are still a social being and dependent on social interaction as all other human beings.
          • Possible, but I know from experience that I can do without human contact for quite a while. Having SAD sure helps with it.

    • I'm sure a fair percentage of Slashdot readers would like nothing more than a nice quite room, limted exercise and regular meals.

      Except for the quiet, you can get that for free in prison.

    • by Khashishi (775369)

      Slashdot is social media.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Why do we virtually sign EULA's and don't read them? Don't people know that they are the law of the land and basically you give concent to them to use YOUR data in a manner that is outlined within said document. Obviously it's written in legaleese and not ment to be read by anybody except lawyers. If you don't want them to have your data, don't give it to them. The service is FREE for a reason, and YOU ARE THE PRODUCT THEY ARE SELLING.

  • The problem with Medium is that they are a buncha pompous jackholes.
  • by Jim Sadler (3430529) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @11:36PM (#46243141)
    In order to be private no item may be mentioned or made visible to any other human being. When we communicate or do business with others we throw away privacy in hope of some sort of gain or comfort. People just don't understand that notion. It is like the girl at the beach in a string bikini who gets angry because the wrong guy sees her body. She obviously gave everyone the right to look at her by simply being in public in a bikini. A convict is punished by simply being in prison. That is to say that he is away from normal, free, society. No judge or law has implied that any additional sorrow be heaped upon the convict. Things like isolation, sensory deprivation, and denial of access to media or forced labor are not part of his punishments. those additional miseries are heaped upon convicts under the excuse of budgets or security. Depraved notions by jailers that include such logic as denial of books or newspapers to convicts under the excuse that set afire the paper becomes a weapon are absurd. Just like strip searching a man held in total isolation every thirty minutes around the clock is nothing more than brutal torture by keepers who are more depraved than the convicts they guard. Then after instilling the worst rage and anger they possibly can in the convict they let him out of prison to wreck mayhem and havoc on the innocents. We live in a psychotic society.
    • It is like the girl at the beach in a string bikini who gets angry because the wrong guy sees her body. She obviously gave everyone the right to look at her by simply being in public in a bikini.

      wrong analogy by a mile

      facebook.com is not publicly owned like the beach!!!!

      facebook.com is a **private business** located on 1s & 0s on privately owned servers and they sure as hell can be regulated by law

      your whole 'privacy myth' idea is a total cop out....you're thinking like a passive consumer in a dictators

  • I saw it enable dissent, discord, and protest.

    And now you know why the powers that are want to have a communication kill-switch without oversight.

  • More information on you? More ways for greed within ranks of power to prey upon you. Simple as that...

  • Mass surveillance allows the few who have access to the results to manipulate the public. Thsi was done regarding 9/11 and there was a lawsuit against the telcos for it but the ones that got them to do it also dismissed that case.

    Such information is used in a feedback loop for manipulation. The other part of that loop is the main stream media which is controlled by a few as well.

    A lot of people do not think very highly of FOX news but what I saw regarding 9/11 was news that was so out of it that I have to s

  • it’s not a coincidence that the harshest legal punishment short of the death penalty in modern states is solitary confinement.

    It should probably have said:

    it’s not a coincidence that the harshest legal punishment in modern states is solitary confinement.

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