Good News: You will get to be a Hero

Dear Reader,

Diablog is about the good things in life. And here comes one of the best:

You will get to be a hero!
Like every hero, you get the challenge first. Not from me, but from Bruce Schneier. Bruce who?
Bruce Schneier is Chief Security Technology Officer of BT. For Non-Brits, BT is short for British Telecom, one of the largest telecommunication and internet companies in the world, check here for more. Besides this, The Economist calls Mr. Schneier a “Security Guru”.
Did I establish his credibility? If not, read more about him. If I did, continue.
So, what does Mr. Schneier have to say?
The Internet is a Surveillance State
Neither Mr. Schneier, nor diablog is in the business of spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt, (FUD). This post is not to alarm you. I would like you to remain calm and read on.
Following are some quotes from Mr. Schneier’s article at CNN.
But I do encourage you to read it all.
The Internet is a surveillance state. Whether we admit it to ourselves or not, and whether we like it or not, we’re being tracked all the time. Google tracks us, both on its pages and on other pages it has access to. Facebook does the same; it even tracks non-Facebook users. Apple tracks us on our iPhones and iPads. One reporter used a tool called Collusion to track who was tracking him; 105 companies tracked his Internet use during one 36-hour period.
Everything is now being saved and correlated, and many big-data companies make money by building up intimate profiles of our lives from a variety of sources.
Facebook, for example, correlates your online behavior with your purchasing habits offline. And there’s more. There’s location data from your cell phone, there’s a record of your movements from closed-circuit TVs.

This is ubiquitous surveillance: All of us being watched, all the time, and that data being stored forever. This is what a surveillance state looks like, and it’s efficient beyond the wildest dreams of George Orwell.

This isn’t something the free market can fix. We consumers have no choice in the matter. All the major companies that provide us with Internet services are interested in tracking us. Visit a website and it will almost certainly know who you are; there are lots of ways to be tracked without cookies. Cellphone companies routinely undo the web’s privacy protection. One experiment at Carnegie Mellon took real-time videos of students on campus and was able to identify one-third of them by comparing their photos with publicly available tagged Facebook photos.

Maintaining privacy on the Internet is nearly impossible.

If the director of the CIA can’t maintain his privacy on the Internet, we’ve got no hope.

In today’s world, governments and corporations are working together to keep things that way. Governments are happy to use the data corporations collect — occasionally demanding that they collect more and save it longer — to spy on us. And corporations are happy to buy data from governments. Together the powerful spy on the powerless, and they’re not going to give up their positions of power, despite what the people want.
Fixing this requires strong government will, but they’re just as punch-drunk on data as the corporations. Slap-on-the-wrist fines notwithstanding, no one is agitating for better privacy laws.
So, we’re done. Welcome to a world where Google knows exactly what sort of porn you all like, and more about your interests than your spouse does. Welcome to a world where your cell phone company knows exactly where you are all the time. Welcome to the end of private conversations, because increasingly your conversations are conducted by e-mail, text, or social networking sites.
And welcome to a world where all of this, and everything else that you do or is done on a computer, is saved, correlated, studied, passed around from company to company without your knowledge or consent; and where the government accesses it at will without a warrant.

That sounds like a challenge. What do you have to do?

In one simple sentence:

You have to put corporations and government into their place.

As Mr. Schneier points out, they both are in this together. Happily feeding each other, aside from the little quarrels here and there. So, don’t expect Google, Facebook, Twitter, or any other company to be on your side, when you are saving the internet.

But there is plenty of good news. The best news first:

You are not alone!

Mr. Schneier wrote this article as a wake up call. You can count him – and thousands of others – in your corner. Like who?

Here is the next good news:

You can pick the fight, the battle field and your opponent.

You can fight politicians, in any way you want, whenever you want. Or you can fight internet corporations. Or both. Let me give you a few examples.

The surveillance – by government and corporations – is based on computers and software. Not people!
If you involve their people, making them work, the system fails. Because the profitability is gone.

You can ask:

– from the comfort of your home
– via email, letter, phone, fax
– all the internet companies you are using, and your cell phone provider, and government agencies

“What data are you storing about me?”

Let them work. Let them tell you. You can make surveillance/tracking an unprofitable business, and a pain in the butt for them. Imagine some 500 Million users asking Facebook for their data records. And then asking them to stop tracking. Mr. Zuckerberg will love you.

As soon as you are spending money, you can vote with it.
You can tell for example Amazon, that you will shop elsewhere, unless they stop tracking you, profiling you, and selling your data. Imagine the customer service rep asking his/her manager for the correct reply.

What about politicians?

You can demand the same from any government body.
What data do they store? Are they selling your data? To whom?

Do you have “balls of steel”? Then this might be up your alley:

Next, you can tell your political representatives – at any level – how you want him/her to vote on those issues. You can ask them, how they intend to vote. You are paying them. You are their boss. Let them know, how you expect them to work/vote for you. Never has it been easier.

If you have more money than time, because the above mentioned takes some time and persistence, you can support the EFF, the ACLU or others.

If you are more of an outdoor person, you can participate in demonstrations.

Our parents or grandparents had to rescue Europe from fascism.
We get to save the internet and ourself from surveillance and spying.

And yes, you will be able to tell your grandkids about it.

Get going,
Engine Room

13 thoughts on “Good News: You will get to be a Hero

  1. I am Back!


    Right so I am still trying to load the ballerina vid, Ruby is a good song..

    Do you like it or Is it for Diablog purposes?



  2. Engine Room,

    “missed you I have”

    Hmmm I hadn’t realised that the video was flash, that is very overlooking of me. But yes I will be sure to have a look on the LT later.

    I have much to catch up in DB especially this new long one just published ;) knowledge is power and all that jazz… Speaking of jazz….



  3. Well thought out.
    I ‘enjoyed’ if that’s the right word reading the above.
    If the CIA director cant maintain privacy then I better cut down on the porn.

  4. Oh, Pete,

    In the twisted mind of Law Enforcement Agencies a PC without prOn makes you even more suspicious.

    Sadly, I do not know how much and what kind is considered “non-suspicious”.


  5. Pete,

    If Mrs Pete ever wonders Into your private stash, you know exactly what you can say…



  6. Wise words Casper. That must be why I saw him in PC World buying a number of additional hard drives.
    He asked me to store them for him. I am not sure. Pleases advise.

  7. Glynsky, this is easy, tell him you will store them as long as he stores yours…

    I think that’s fair.



  8. Ahhh Pedro,

    I do like the good old ‘I’ll show ye mine, if you show I yours’….

    How will these be recieved…? Make sure you have enough space and water if your planning on posting yourself… Lol.



Comments are closed.