Quick Links 07-17-08
July 17, 2008
So what is the solution, if it isn’t nice crowds of people creating their own content and building their own tether-free DVRs? My honest answer is that we need organized crowds of people systematically and concertedly breaking the tethers on consumer technology. Yes, we need safe spaces like Wikipedia, but we also need to be affirmatively making things uncomfortable for the companies that keep us tethered. We need to build technologies that set Comcast DVRs free, that let people run any applications they want on iPhones, that fool ISPs into running peer-to-peer traffic. We need to hand out easy-to-use tools to everyone so crowds of consumers can control what happens to their technologies. In short, we need to disobey.
I have often recommended that people use file erasure tools regularly, especially when crossing international borders with their computers. Now we have one more reason to use them regularly: plausible deniability if you’re accused of erasing data to keep it from the police.
I’ll start this essay by leading with my conclusion: do we make it to the end of this century? Yeah, but not all of us, and it’s neither as spectacular nor as horrific as many people imagine.
That’s the direction we’re heading in — more surveillance, more systemic government monitoring and data mining, and minimal oversight and accountability — with most of the oversight being very general, not particularly rigorous, and nearly always secret — and with the public being almost completely shut out of the process. But don’t worry, you shouldn’t get too upset about all this. You probably won’t know much about it. They’ll keep the dirty details from you, because what you don’t know can’t hurt you.
* Plutocracy Reborn