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[ISN] Hooray for TIA
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From: Nomen Nescio <nobody@xxxxxxxxx>
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Subject: Hooray for TIA
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
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
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.
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