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Woz Compares the Cloud and PRISM To Communist Russia 549

An anonymous reader writes "Some journalists ran into Steve Wozniak at the airport and asked him about iOS 7 and PRISM, where he made an interesting comparison about how the US is becoming what it once feared most. In communist Russia 'you couldn't own anything, and now in the digital world you hardly own anything anymore (YouTube video). You've got subscritpions and you already said ok, ok, agree and you agree that every right in the world belongs to them and you got no rights and anything you put in the cloud, you don't even know,' says Woz. 'Ownership was what made America different than Russia.'"
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Woz Compares the Cloud and PRISM To Communist Russia

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  • by intermodal ( 534361 ) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @05:46PM (#44001321) Homepage Journal

    I'm not surprised to see that Woz has his head on straight enough to see that we've become what we feared. I can only hope that, despite the odds being against it, my countrymen will listen to this wise man. But history tells me that they'll ignore it, just like anything else they don't want to hear.

  • digital take over (Score:5, Insightful)

    by theatrecade ( 1080063 ) <theatrecade@gmail.com> on Thursday June 13, 2013 @05:48PM (#44001339) Homepage
    I agree with Woz. Nobody owns anything. Everything digitally is licensed. Even when you hold a physical copy in your hands it's on loan for 60$. You ever actually read a EULA? With the NSA spying on you on everything not only don't you own anything nothing is private anymore.. welcome to the new America! Welcome to the New World... I hope you enjoy your stay and by the way ignore that 4th amendment only the 2nd one kinda counts....
  • by atriusofbricia ( 686672 ) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @05:54PM (#44001399) Journal

    I agree with Woz. Nobody owns anything. Everything digitally is licensed. Even when you hold a physical copy in your hands it's on loan for 60$. You ever actually read a EULA? With the NSA spying on you on everything not only don't you own anything nothing is private anymore.. welcome to the new America! Welcome to the New World... I hope you enjoy your stay and by the way ignore that 4th amendment only the 2nd one kinda counts....

    And I'm going to have to disagree here. One might be able to argue that we don't 'own' enough in the digital realm vice it being licensed, but isn't that at least in part what is supposed to be so great about Linux and related bits?

    In any case the comparison to Soviet Russia immediately falls on its face. I own my house, I own my business, I own my car and dozens of other things. It is annoying when people try and make comparisons between things when very superficially they are similar but they aren't even remotely close in scale or severity.

    This isn't to excuse the NSA thing and related things as they are inexcusable. But to say that we've become Communist Russia because of digital licensing and such shows either profound ignorance or at least faulty logic. Communism has killed some 100 million people throughout history. How many people have been killed by EULAs?

  • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @05:57PM (#44001431)

    I suspect that the USSR was never so different from the way we were then as the propagandists would have us believe. Rigged elections? Media that didn't inform the public what was going on? Warfare and bullying as a way of achieving the top dog's "national" goals?

  • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Thursday June 13, 2013 @05:58PM (#44001445) Homepage Journal

    Isn't that like a book proclaiming how bad literacy is?

    It's not like Woz posted the clip. And I commend him for it, I couldn't have said it better myself. IMO the cloud is only good for things you want posted publicly.

    Personally, I won't do online banking simply because the internet is an insecure form of communication, although I'll shop online with a credit card if necessary since the most it will cost is fifty bucks (and perhaps increased surveillance by the NSA if I buy the wrong book, like maybe 1984.) [csmonitor.com]

    Speaking of which, the NSA is cooking up more CYA lies for us. [nytimes.com] Is anybody stupid enough to believe anything the NSA says?

  • by Zeio ( 325157 ) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @05:58PM (#44001449)

    This is nothing new.

    We live in a oligarchical collectivist police state where a banking cabal, central governments, the military industrial complex and megacorps control everything.

    The little guy, the small business, freedom, liberty. Gone.

    Welcome to wage slavery, plebeians. And you voted your captors in.

  • by perpenso ( 1613749 ) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @06:01PM (#44001483)
    The microcomputer revolution that Woz was a significant contributor to was in part a movement against the "cloud" of that day, remote minicomputers and mainframes where your software and your data lived. One of the goals of the microcomputer revolution was to have your software and your data on your computer on your desk.

    If we were to have a second revolution in the spirit of the preceding perhaps we would have our own "cloud" servers hosted on our own IP address at home, offering ubiquitous access to all of our computers and devices and syncing between them. Again, all your data being hosted on your server on your desk (or in the corner or the closet).
  • by johnjaydk ( 584895 ) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @06:06PM (#44001517)

    After all, here is a guy (who insists on using a juvenile nickname) who had the wool pulled over his eyes by perhaps one of the most successful psychopaths of this and the last century: Steve Jobs. Do you really think this guy is qualified? The analogy would be asking RMS for hygiene tips, or ESR for advice on your sex life.

    It wasn't more than a few years ago that we had a comment from a guy who shared office with RMS, who insisted that RMS had excellent hygiene so I would suggest you stick to car analogies. As to Woz, he might be a bit naive but he is a great engineer and his heart is in the right place. I would love to have more friends with those qualities.

  • by Penguinisto ( 415985 ) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @06:09PM (#44001557) Journal

    Given the ruthless efficiency with which the PRISM system collected communications, I'd compare it more closely to the former East German (DDR) Stasi [wikipedia.org]

  • by robot256 ( 1635039 ) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @06:30PM (#44001761)
    It would have been more of a mistake if there was any hope his opponent would have been better on these issues. Frankly, the only reason any Republicans are speaking out against the NSA is because it's Obama's NSA. They were just as complicit as the rest of us when they rammed the Patriot Act through.
  • by PRMan ( 959735 ) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @06:31PM (#44001767)
    Have you learned that the next Republican will likely be no better? If not, then you haven't learned anything either.
  • Re:And... (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 13, 2013 @06:32PM (#44001771)

    lol yea. A plane ticket is whats stopping you from storming the white house. Continue ranting on forums instead of doing anything positive, worm.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 13, 2013 @06:37PM (#44001833)

    > The people I know who lived under the Soviet regime vehemently disagree with such revisionism.

    I was raised in Soviet Union and live in Russia. And I must say that Black Parrot is quite right.

    Emigration from Soviet Union and from Russia was/is driven by various factors. People who emigrate tend to rationalize their choices, sometimes in really twisted way. Well, you really need to find a way to tell yourself that the leaving of your fatherland was justified, to live in peace with yourself. If you want to learn something about Soviet Regime, I'm afraid that an average Soviet (and Russian) emigrant is a wrong person to rely on.

    I'm no apologist of USSR, but I must say that you western people have a really bizzare view of it that hasn't got much to do with reality.

  • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @06:39PM (#44001851)

    Given the ruthless efficiency with which the PRISM system collected communications, I'd compare it more closely to the former East German (DDR) Stasi [wikipedia.org]

    Technically, if you believe the NSA has no direct access, the ISPs and Telcos actually collected the information and sent the NSA copies. [ So when James Clapper, was asked, "Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?" and he responded, "No" he wasn't technically lying to Congress... ]

  • by CayceeDee ( 1883844 ) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @06:56PM (#44001963) Homepage

    I'll go a step further.. Is ANYbody stupid enough to believe anything this GOVERNMENT says??

    Your entire rant is based on the premise that the Bush adminstration was so much better. They started the secret surveillance, but Obama gets the blame because he is still using it. Do you not see the cognitive dissonance here? I sure do.

  • by some old guy ( 674482 ) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @07:00PM (#44002003)

    The old Party oligarchs in Russia gave up on the disfunctional Marxist police state in favor of an overtly fascist police state so they could 1) become as wealthy as Western oligarchs, 2) flaunt it like Western oligarchs, and 3) give the masses a few more consumer shinies to keep them fairly passive, all with a nice facade of democracy.

    Yeltsin set the stage, and Putin has made it a tour de force in how to re-brand oppression. "There is no such thing as a former Chekist", as Uncle Boris likes to say.

    Russian has become more like the USA, and the USA becomes more like Russia.

    New World Order, anyone?

  • by MacTO ( 1161105 ) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @07:07PM (#44002049)

    I agree with what you say, however the propaganda of America about American's greatness and the propaganda of America about the Soviet Union's tyranny were also far from the truth. The two nations were closer than the American government would ever admit to, although nowhere near as close as the paranoid elements of society would claim.

    The sad reality is that both nations were stuck in a paranoid mentality during the cold war. This resulted in a reduction of civil liberties. The situation was far worse under the Soviet regime, but the American government often committed acts that it claimed were the domain of communists and that had no place in their own free society.

    We see something similar happening today, only in the name of terrorism.

  • by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @07:13PM (#44002095)

    For all its flaws and mistakes the U.S. was nothing like the Soviets, not even close, not even now.

    Can you provide an example of something that the Soviets did that the United States has not done?

    While you're formulating your answer, consider that the United States is the only country to nuke another country. We used our own prisoners and citizens as guinnea pigs to conduct experiments in nuclear, biological, and chemical warfare. We engaged in propaganda in the extreme, rewriting our pledge of allegiance to include "under god" and printed the same on our money as a propaganda war against "godless communism." We engaged in witch hunts, like McCarthy appearing before Congress to say he "held in his hands" a list of known communist co-conspirators. We publicly executed Julius and Ethel Rosenberg in 1953, and it wasn't until just a few years ago, in 2008, that the transcripts from a court case widely panned at the time as a "witch hunt" revealed major inconsistencies in the testimony of key witnesses against them. That same year, the government continued to trumpet that a 98 year old man, on his deathbed, recanted and said that the Rosenbergs were spies... but the press quietly buried what he said right after: That the principle charge against them, the reason they were executed -- passing secrets about how to build the atom bomb, they were innocent of. They had only passed on low value information that was already duplicated elsewhere... mostly hand-drawn sketches.

    So I'm not sure your claim that the USSR and the USA were significantly different in their propaganda campaigns... In fact, I would argue they were more or less the same, both in substance and quantity. But I'd be happy to entertain any significant act that you feel the USSR undertook that didn't have a parallel from the USA.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 13, 2013 @07:15PM (#44002111)

    That's because the surveillance is all fun and games until the government starts cracking down on tea partiers.

    Then it's personal.

  • by wierd_w ( 1375923 ) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @07:17PM (#44002123)

    The only way this would ever work:

    Non human servators.

    As long as it is *required* for humans to work, and not optional, the "work for betterment of humanity" angle can never work.

    Basically, we need soul-less, emotionless, and thankless machines to do those jobs that nobody wants to do.

    Humans have to become "irrevelavent" to the maintenance and operation of the gears and cogs of mass production and infrastructure as anything other than the source of innovation. (That is to say, a mega plague could sweep the planet and extinct all human life, and the machines would continue on, repairing empty houses, growing food that won't be eaten, and maintaining themselves, each other, and all the physical social infrastructure. Human involvement is not necessary for "the system" to function.)

    Until we have machines that fill this role, the proposal will never work, as cited.

    When such machines DO become available, then there would no longer be a need for money, or wealth.

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @07:22PM (#44002173)

    > How do you motivate people to do jobs that society needs done, but which everyone would prefer someone else do?

    Robots. I am not joking. When we get to the point where all the crappy jobs can be done by robots we are going to have mass unemployment because lots of people will choose to do nothing instead of something higher up the food chain.

    And I don't think that is such a bad thing. A life spent doing nothing is really no less meaningful than a life spent working a shit job, but it is a much less shitty life. As a society we should embrace the idea of getting to the point where everybody can afford to live idle lives, right now only the rich can do that.

  • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Thursday June 13, 2013 @07:53PM (#44002371) Homepage Journal

    The Republican House Speaker called Edward Snowden a traitor. It's a bipartisan police state we now have (this isn't the first time [slashdot.org] I've said that). [kuro5hin.org] I wouldn't doubt if I were on the no-fly list but I haven't been on a plane since you could smoke inflight.

    I say Boehner's the traitor, Snowden's a patriot who gave everything but his life (and still may) for his fellow Americans.

    If you're against Snowden you're against freedom. That's one brave kid.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 13, 2013 @09:00PM (#44002903)

    Oh, and now we have to listen to russian trolls on american online forum?! Zamechatelno!
    You, nasty cowards, guess what I've experienced the past regime, as well as the current state of democracy. I live in one of those sattelite to russia countries. Do you know what is to not have electricity every 2 of 4 hours? To not be able to buy food, because in the groceries there was none? To be able to study some of the most desired subjects in universities only if you have relatives from the communist party? To qualify for promotion only if you, and all your relatives have clean political past? Millions of your people to be executed by the rule of the said communist party for faulty accusations of treason?
    And last, but not the least, do you know how visitors from countries of the eastern block called russians, after they returned home from the USSR?
    They called them svinji(pigs)!

    Well, tovarishci, I know Putin pays well, but I'm sure you know that Gasprom is collapsing as is the whole russian economy.

  • by BlueStrat ( 756137 ) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @10:13PM (#44003373)

    The current US government no longer operates with the will of the governed..

    Yes, it does, and the election results prove it...

    No, it does not. Many groups were suppressed before and during the 2012 election by the IRS targeting and likely other means at the government's disposal as well. Possibly the NSA played a part in blackmailing certain key individuals and organizations as well.

    Besides, in order for the voters to be able to consent and to make a reasoned choice, they have to know what the government is actually doing. They most certainly did not. That does not equal consent.

    Regardless of elections, the part of my sentence that you left out when you quoted me is the operative part that supports my statement, which you did not address:

    The current US government no longer operates with the will of the governed as expressed by the restrictions placed upon it, and therefor is no longer a legitimate government.

    When the government ignored (and continues to ignore) the restrictions on it's powers and scope that were part of the deal made with the people for consent, it forfeited that consent and forfeited it's legitimacy as a government.

    "That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."


  • by s.petry ( 762400 ) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @10:23PM (#44003447)


    Try always. in place of that. It was released the other day, FISA has approved 100% of the requests it has received from agencies. Giving rise to a reporter calling it a rubber stamp(correctly)

  • by dryeo ( 100693 ) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @10:27PM (#44003467)

    Really the problem is energy. Given an unlimited (or close to) source of really cheap energy, everything else can be done. Water can be desalinized or otherwise cleaned, food can be grown in greenhouses or even mines and so on. The key to utopia is cheap endless energy and it is a lot easier putting solar energy stations in orbit then farms.
    Of course this would never happen as our whole system depends on scarcity to the point that artificial barriers are put up to ensure plentiful things stay scarce.

  • by bkmoore ( 1910118 ) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @11:24PM (#44003773)

    ....I'd compare it more closely to the former East German (DDR) Stasi [wikipedia.org]

    Technically, if you believe the NSA has no direct access, the ISPs and Telcos actually collected the information and sent the NSA copies....

    The STASI did not have enough agents to spy on the East German population. That is why they relied on "Unofficial Colleges (IM)" or informants to do most of the eavesdropping for them. What the NSA and the ISPs/Telcos do in tandem is not very different than the old STASI / IM system. The only difference is the STASI had to rely on the technology of the day; typewriters, microphones, and tape recorders. The NSA system is digital and automated.

    With enough AI, the NSA could easily achieve a kind of automated super-spy system that records each and every criminal action by anyone who posts online information, uses the telephone, etc. Remove that mattress label, mention it on the phone, or post it on /. and get a letter from law enforcement asking to pay a fine. Or they could wait until you get caught for something big and tack on every little "crime" you have ever inadvertently committed, such as eating an illegal lobster, and yes there is a federal law against that.

  • by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Friday June 14, 2013 @01:17AM (#44004191) Homepage Journal

    The current US government no longer operates with the will of the governed.

    Yes, it does, and the election results prove it...

    And I suppose you believe that elections in various third-world nations prove that their governments operates according to the will of the governed, too. An election that is not free is not an assertion of assent. Unfortunately, because of the way in which the U.S. election system was designed (plurality rule or worse), and because of the insane amount of money required to campaign for any national office, our elections are effectively rigged so that only a couple of candidates actually have a chance of winning, no matter what the two parties might want you to believe. That's hardly a free election by any reasonable standard. Therefore, the election does not prove anything except that more people voted for one candidate than another (at best).

  • by Patch86 ( 1465427 ) on Friday June 14, 2013 @03:54AM (#44004787)

    If the responder (James Clapper) had wanted to answer the question in the "most truthful" manner, he could have answered with more words than "no". Such as "No, but we didn't need to collect it because we have been provided with massive quantities of data simply by asking companies to provide it to us".

    What Mr Clapper did there was what we like to call "lying by omission". By answering a question in such a way as to deliberately misunderstand what is being asked of you and therefore deliberately not providing the information expected, you are lying. It doesn't matter if you did so by saying as few words as possible.

    There is no other way to interpret his answer other than that he was deliberately attempting to not tell Congress what Congress wanted him to tell them.

"If the code and the comments disagree, then both are probably wrong." -- Norm Schryer