[Reader-list] (Fwd) FC: Hurrah for Total Information Awareness!

Pankaj Kaushal penguinhead at linux-delhi.org
Fri Dec 13 18:21:20 IST 2002

> ----- Forwarded message from Nomen Nescio <nobody at dizum.com> -----
> From: Nomen Nescio <nobody at dizum.com>
> Subject: Hooray for TIA
> Date: Tue, 10 Dec 2002 21:20:11 +0100 (CET)
> For years we cypherpunks have been telling you people that you are
> responsible for protecting your own privacy.  Use cash for purchases, look
> into offshore accounts, protect your online privacy with cryptography
> and anonymizing proxies.  But did you listen?  No.  You thought to
> trust the government.  You believed in transparency.  You passed laws,
> for Freedom of Information, and Protection of Privacy, and Insurance
> Accountability, and Fair Lending Practices.
> And now the government has turned against you.  It's Total Information
> Awareness program is being set up to collect data from every database
> possible.  Medical records, financial data, favorite web sites and email
> addresses, all will be brought together into a centralized office where
> every detail can be studied in order to build a profile about you.
> All those laws you passed, those government regulations, are being
> bypassed, ignored, flushed away, all in the name of National Security.
> Well, we fucking told you so.
> And don't try blaming the people in charge.  You liberals are cursing
> Bush, and Ashcroft, and Poindexter.  These laws were passed by the entire
> U.S. Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike.  Representatives have
> the full support of the American people; most were re-elected with
> large margins.  It's not Bush and company who are at fault, it's the
> whole idea that you can trust government to protect your privacy.
> All that data out there has been begging to be used.  It was only a
> matter of time.
> And you know what?  It's good that this has happened.  Not only has
> it shown the intellectual bankruptcy of trust-the-government privacy
> advocates, it proves what cypherpunks have been saying all along, that
> people must protect their own privacy.  The only way to keep your privacy
> safe is to keep the data from getting out there in the first place.
> Cypherpunks have consistently promoted two seemingly contradictory
> ideas.  The first is that people should protect data about themselves.
> The second is that they should have full access and usability for
> data they acquire about others.  Cypherpunks have supported ideas like
> Blacknet, and offshore data havens, places where data could be collected,
> consolidated and sold irrespective of government regulations.  The same
> encryption technologies which help people protect their privacy can be
> used to bypass attempts by government to control the flow of data.
> This two-pronged approach to the problem produces a sort of Darwinian
> competition between privacy protectors and data collectors.  It's not
> unlike the competition between code makers and code breakers, which has
> led to amazing enhancements in cryptography technology over the past
> few decades.  There is every reason to expect that a similar level of
> improvement and innovation can and will eventually develop in privacy
> protection and data management as these technologies continue to be
> deployed.
> But in the mean time, three cheers for TIA.  It's too bad that it's the
> government doing it rather than a shadowy offshore agency with virtual
> tentacles into the net, but the point is being made all the same.
> Now more than ever, people need privacy technology.  Government is not
> the answer.  It's time to start protecting ourselves, because nobody
> else is going to do it for us.
> ----- End forwarded message -----
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