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Snowden: 'The Central Problem of the Future' Is Control of User Data (techcrunch.com) 157

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey interviewed Edward Snowden via Periscope about the wide world of technology. The NSA whistleblower "discussed the data that many online companies continue to collect about their users, creating a 'quantified world' -- and more opportunities for government surveillance," reports TechCrunch. Snowden said, "If you are being tracked, this is something you should agree to, this is something you should understand, this is something you should be aware of and can change at any time." TechCrunch reports: Snowden acknowledged that there's a distinction between collecting the content of your communication (i.e., what you said during a phone call) and the metadata (information like who you called and how long it lasted). For some, surveillance that just collects metadata might seem less alarming, but in Snowden's view, "That metadata is in many cases much more dangerous and much more intrusive, because it can be understood at scale." He added that we currently face unprecedented perils because of all the data that's now available -- in the past, there was no way for the government to get a list of all the magazines you'd read, or every book you'd checked out from the library. "[In the past,] your beliefs, your future, your hopes, your dreams belonged to you," Snowden said. "Increasingly, these things belong to companies, and these companies can share them however they want, without a lot of oversight." He wasn't arguing that companies shouldn't collect user data at all, but rather that "the people who need to be in control of that are the users." "This is the central problem of the future, is how do we return control of our identities to the people themselves?" Snowden said.
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Snowden: 'The Central Problem of the Future' Is Control of User Data

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Pandemics
    Civil and international war
    The ongoing islamisation of the population
    Pollution and the depletion of natural resources, including fossil fuels
    Science denial
    Donald Trump
    The collapse of the European Union
    America's sovereign debt

    All of these things concern me more than control of my personal data.
    Yes, control of my personal data concerns me - particularly my genome and corporations' attempts to patent something that is inherintly part of me and which they didn't invent. But the above issues are bigger

    • I was going to say the same thing. Personal freedoms and privacy protection are important, but it is all meaningless if we destroy this world that is hosting us.

      • by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2016 @09:32AM (#53482649) Homepage Journal

        I was going to say the same thing. Personal freedoms and privacy protection are important, but it is all meaningless if we destroy this world that is hosting us.

        Not everyone would agree with that. Some would prefer to die free to live a slave.

        • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2016 @09:57AM (#53482771) Journal

          Not everyone would agree with that. Some would prefer to die free to live a slave.

          People like to say that right up until they're actually faced with the choice.

          Also, it depends on your definition of "slavery". If you mean, "be put in chains and whipped and forced to pick cotton", then the number of people who would rather die is not zero. If your definition of slavery is, "I have to pay taxes, the government knows my Social Security number and I have to sell cakes to anyone who comes into my store, even the gays" then anyone who tells you they'd rather die is bullshitting.

          • by arth1 ( 260657 )

            Also, it depends on your definition of "slavery". If you mean, "be put in chains and whipped and forced to pick cotton", then the number of people who would rather die is not zero. If your definition of slavery is, "I have to pay taxes, the government knows my Social Security number and I have to sell cakes to anyone who comes into my store, even the gays" then anyone who tells you they'd rather die is bullshitting.

            You don't have to be whipped to be a slave. Most slaves weren't, but they were still slaves.

            It's about having all freedom, privacy and choices about your own life taken away. Totalitarianism is also a form of slavery.

            • by ghoul ( 157158 )

              Nobody is 100% free. We live in society and agree to society's rules. E.g I am not free to murder you. The cops are not free to ignore it if I do. You are not free to not pay taxes which pay for the cops. It all goes together. Believe me you do not want total freedom.
              Where each society determines its limits on freedom to be should be left to each society and we should not try to impose our society's value system on another.

        • I think that's kind of the point. Humans may believe they have free will but as a species they're quite gullible and easily convinced ideas are their own.

          A child born today whose every choice and preference is tracked can be led later in life such that they feel they're entirely free to choose exactly what's been chosen for them.

        • I think as humans who have come to dominate the planet, we have a certain responsibility not only for ourselves but also for all the other species that have evolved on this planet, alongside us, and happen to share our natural environment at this point in time.

          We're not doing such a good job thus far.

          • by arth1 ( 260657 )

            I think as humans who have come to dominate the planet, we have a certain responsibility not only for ourselves but also for all the other species that have evolved on this planet, alongside us, and happen to share our natural environment at this point in time.

            No disagreement there. But I'd like for the other species to live in their natural habitat, and not in zoos as we fill up the planet with our own spawn.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      >The ongoing islamisation of the population
      >Pollution and the depletion of natural resources, including fossil fuels
      >Science denial
      >Donald Trump

      I'm not sure how you can list those things together without wincing at least a little. I completely agree that racist, fascist and simple minded politicians are dangerous but so are people who think like them and claiming "islamisation is an issue" is something which puts you very much in the same boat as Trump. Please educate yourself and refrain from s

      • by Cryacin ( 657549 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2016 @06:51AM (#53482157)
        I would say that the risk is not about Islam, Christianity or any other form of religion, but the radicalisation of any religion as a call to arms of the disenchanted for someone else's political agenda. Torture, execution, biological warfare and ethnic cleansing have been performed in the name of most religions in the world.

        Politically in the current climate, it's easier to dissect the population based on skin colour or religion rather than behaviour.
        • by Bongo ( 13261 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2016 @07:15AM (#53482207)

          I gather originally, group-think and group-identity around a common myth, is what allowed disparate tribes to unite. Islam is just version 3 after Christianity (v2) and Judaism (v1) and Zoroaster (v0). But because group identity is exactly what you want when fighting a war, it is always inherently weaponisable. Which is perhaps why modern people find religion and ideology inherently scary. Because they are.

          The saving grace is that most people, whatever their inherited cultural differences, tend to just want to get on with their lives. And the general movement is towards greater empathy, because humanity does grow, and stats that, there are currently fewer wars overall than in previous times, are to be taken seriously. But that's no consolation to anyone currently unlucky enough to be in the middle of one.

          Religions are scary. That's why everyone has to insist that they are all of peace. Because we really need everyone to not feel threatened. Because you don't want to help anyone activate the red button to weaponise them any further.

          The Middle East is unfortunately still "developing" and doesn't really have a lot of stable nation states. They have a very difficult transition. And they are actively weaponising religion. But that doesn't mean that the the millions of people who are part of those groups culturally, are intent on any of that crap themselves.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            I don't understand treating all religions as equal, but there seems to be this idea that Christianity is no better or worse than Islam. It's not even reasonable to refer treat each of them as a single religion when, in fact, all the world's major religions have a wide range of beliefs. Some of those beliefs are harmless while others are extremely dangerous. Treating all the major religions as equal is a failure to understand or evaluate the merits of each religion. Pope Francis is a Christian. So was Fred P

            • by rickb928 ( 945187 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2016 @10:18AM (#53482867) Homepage Journal

              Equal?

              Do you mean 'equivalent'?

              Even then, they are not.

              Islam has various sects with beliefs along a spectrum of 'peace be upon you' to 'surrender or die'. And these sects vary on the topic of secular rule, from an opinion of no opinion to an opinion of absolute religious rule in all of life, for everyone. The most radical Islamic beliefs are either nonviolent and benevolent, or committed to rule by the sword and global domination in the name of their god. We tend to consider the most violent sects as 'radical', failing to also recognize the other extreme. 'Militant' doesn't even describe the violent extremists adequately. But we recognize them.

              Buddhism is commonly thought of as a religion, but I'm not sure it isn't better described as a philosophy. And widely misunderstood. But it is not reliant on belief in a deity. Not very religious. Not totally nonviolent, but if you've angered an observant Buddhist, you've done something I think of as wrong.

              Hinduism, being a collection of beliefs with commonalities, does rely on deities, but even within that collective there is some discord. Not a monolith, but common enough to be named. Sadly, they sometimes fight among each other.

              Christianity is described as a collective group of beliefs encompassing Catholicism, Protestantism, Eastern Orthodoxies, Mormon, and a variety of others. Some of those I named I do not grant as actually 'Christian', but they self-identify as such, and I won't exclude them for the purposes of this discussion. Violent Christianity is, to me, almost an oxymoron, but I'm prejudiced. I cannot easily identify a Christian nation today, which is not a problem I seek to address.

              Judaism also is composed of various sects, ranging from very relaxed observance to strict, widely considered archaic, practices. And it is not now practiced as historically required by the most ancient beliefs. It is also probably the most persecuted, subjectively yes.

              Equal? Hardly. Equivalent? More accurate but still not 100%. To indict religion as a destructive force is, in my mind, a shallow and incomplete understanding of the dynamic. If you include Communism as a religion, you then encompass the best and worst of humanity. You need not hang the motivation for evil on philosophy.

              Or, as my good friend reminds me, the best of humans are, at best, human.

            • by Bongo ( 13261 )

              I'm not sure if AC's get notified of replies, but your point is also important, I agree.

              It is about scope and scale and detail. Yes, if you are measuring in miles, then 1.2 miles is about the same as 0.9 miles. But if you aare measuring in feet, then there's a big difference between 10 feet and 100 feet. And it is a bit like that with religions.

              They all mostly appeal to the "mythic" function in humans. So they are often all mostly the same, in that wide sense. Modernity killed God, and any religion which st

          • The Middle East is unfortunately still "developing" and doesn't really have a lot of stable nation states. They have a very difficult transition. And they are actively weaponising religion. But that doesn't mean that the the millions of people who are part of those groups culturally, are intent on any of that crap themselves.

            They've been "developing" for over 100 years [economist.com]. Part of the big problem in the Middle East is you have several religions (Christianity, Judaism, Sunni and Shiite Islam, etc...) and all consider Jerusalem to be theirs. If you only consider Jerusalem [wikipedia.org], you've got a much longer history of conflict.

            The strange part is all religions teach that they are the one true religion. Christianity is known to be in-your-face and even some sects believe they are the one true Christianity - talk to any devout Catholic about

          • by 31415926535897 ( 702314 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2016 @10:27AM (#53482923) Journal

            I'm sorry, but this is bullcrap. The greatest number of deaths through war have come from non-religious origins. Taking religion out of man has lead to the deaths of ten of millions if not hundreds of millions of people. Religion couldn't touch that scale if they wanted to. 31 Million people have died because of religion in recorded history. Stalin killed 50 Million people in his life.

            You say Religions are scary. I say anti-Religion is even scarier.

            • by Kjella ( 173770 )

              I'm sorry, but this is bullcrap. The greatest number of deaths through war have come from non-religious origins. Taking religion out of man has lead to the deaths of ten of millions if not hundreds of millions of people. Religion couldn't touch that scale if they wanted to. 31 Million people have died because of religion in recorded history. Stalin killed 50 Million people in his life.

              Meh, only because we haven't done any major religious wars in recent history they've been quite significant for their time. The day India/Pakistan, Israel/Middle East or indigenous/migrant Europe goes up in flames it'll easily be a WWII-class war.

          • While I agree with you that any strong ideology or just general identity is fundamentally weaponizable, I disagree that we are somehow moving away from it. People have simply replaced religion with ideology, nationalism and other equally powerful forces. It's not as clear perhaps, but it's still very much alive and well. Western liberal democracy and human rights for example: in my opinion, it is not some universal view but an ideology that is accepted and driven by large numbers of people around the world
        • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

          Politically in the current climate, it's easier to dissect the population based on skin colour or religion rather than behaviour.

          I guess that's why they're having so much of a problem with native germans committing sexual assault compared to oh migrants right? No no, I understand. That 105% increase in one quarter from migrants wasn't real. The media and government weren't suppressing stories, and you're not going to be arrested for pointing out facts or put on trial for stating your opinion. Double plus good comrade, please enjoy your extra chocolate ration.

      • Islamisation is not an issue but a threat, just look at what is happening in Europe. Or, if you don't want to single out one particular religion, or want to recognize that islam might be a symptom or at best a catalyst rather than a cause, then call it "the rise of oppressive mediaeval groupthink". It's not just muslims going around blowing up people; there's only a few of those. It is also about regular muslims who might believe in democracy, but also still hold religious rules above secular ones, and w
    • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2016 @06:51AM (#53482155)

      Many of these problems can't be solved where people are afraid to speak up and offer solutions that may differ from the norm.
      The issue I see with meta data collection is it makes us fearful to look at these "dangerous" ideas. While most of these ideas may be stupid there are often a few points in them that often shows a point on where some people are struggling. But if we to research them we can get blacklisted and our Findings will not be listened to because we are flagged as a dangerous person.

    • by EmeraldBot ( 3513925 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2016 @07:43AM (#53482267)

      Pandemics Civil and international war The ongoing islamisation of the population Pollution and the depletion of natural resources, including fossil fuels Science denial Donald Trump The collapse of the European Union America's sovereign debt

      All of these things concern me more than control of my personal data. Yes, control of my personal data concerns me - particularly my genome and corporations' attempts to patent something that is inherintly part of me and which they didn't invent. But the above issues are bigger problems.

      Well, keep in mind that the original interview was about technology topics, and giving this is Snowden we're talking about here, we're inevitably going to be talking privacy. When he said it's the central issue of the future, he probably meant within that context - as opposed to, for example, the government spying on its citizens. In his mind, there's generally some outrage and opposition to governments trying to enact spying laws - not enough, as the UK's Investigtory Powers bill demonstrates, but generally something. In contrast, most people think nothing of Google or Twitter's collection of knowledge on them, nor has anyone really made much noise about this in politics. Snowden has the ability to put a face on privacy decisions for the news, and in turn to normal people, and so I'm betting that'll be his next target.

      The ongoing islamisation of the population

      This isn't related to the above paragraph, but please don't say this, it hurts. Fundamentalists groups, such as evangelical, baptist, and mormons, are about as conservative as their islamic counterparts, such as ISIS or Assad's backers [slashdot.org]. If want an ISIS comparison, look at the KKK - and if you want a public execution match, well, lynching has been around for many hundreds of years before al-quaeda was even a figment in somebody's mind. Furthermore, on social issues, islam Americans are much more relaxed [huffingtonpost.com] than their Christian counterparts are. Islamists are more likely to accept gay people, far less tolerant of violence, much more accepting of other cultures, and hilariously enough, waaaaaay more likely to see themselves as Americans first and Muslims second (there's a 10 point gap between these two). Note that Christians as a whole are more open then either of these two, but for all the people

      Furthermore, there's a lot of free passes we give to hardcore evangelicals that we don't give to muslims - we let people oppose laws because of the bible, which is illegal under the First Amendment by the way, but if a guy says he opposes a law because of the Quran he's labelled a terrorist and gets death threats. If a muslim were to disprove of gay marriage, it's seen as backwards and unacceptable, but if evangelical Christians do, it's seen as acceptable, for no reason other then that they got here first. America isn't accepting of immigrants and never has been, despite the long tirade to the contrary, and if we ever want to live up to the founding father's ideals, then we're going to have to leave these backwards parts of our history behind - and that, my friend, starts with not being xenophobic of immigrants for no reason other then that they're different from you. Of course, Muslims as whole still have a long way to go - but the key point is that they're doing their best, and they're not trying to enshrine their views into law. In contrast, this minority of Christians has become increasingly militant, increasingly violent, and increasingly authoritarian - and given that the darkest eras in our country's history has come from when these wackos had influence, we should be far more scared of the likes of Mike Pence then we should be from the guy down the street who fled from being cooked alive on the street by bombs or from being executed for refusing to kill somebody else.

      • by Herve5 ( 879674 )

        sorry for not having mod points...

        This from France, where we too are heading to a maxi-christian leader in the coming months...

      • by EmeraldBot ( 3513925 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2016 @09:51AM (#53482735)

        Aaaaaaargh I'm an idiot, I should have checked the preview more carefully. Here's the ending of my second paragraph, and my sincere apologies for not having caught that.

        "...but for all the people who are afraid that of muslims, if you really are against what you perceive as a culture of barbaric cultural practices, I sure hope you're leading a progressive movement within one of these churches, assuming you're a member. The alternative is that you are, at best, a misinformed hypocrite, which I'm afraid the vast majority seem to be."

        Furthermore, I screwed up the first link. Rather than linking to this webpage itself (duh), it's supposed to go here. [forwardprogressives.com]

    • by ( 4475953 )

      The ongoing islamisation of the population

      That's a nonexistent pseudo-problem that has been exaggerated out of all proportions by the hysterical mass medias. The percentage of muslims in the US is about 1% and in the EU is about 6%. Even with massive migration (way more than we see now in e.g. Sweden and Germany), these percentages would stay far below any significant threshold and muslims would stay a small minority. The EU could easily deal with with twice or four times the percentage with an overall negligible impact on society as a whole, and e

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      Should those who disagree with you be in power and have access to you and the ability to effectively collaboratively control the outcome of your life by denying you access to employment, denying you access to fiscal services and to be able to digitally distort the public perception of you. All those other things cease to be a problem for you because you simply would not be able to survive long enough for them to be a concern.

      Want more privacy, fight for it by demanding that governments legislate more priv

    • Pandemics

      This is quite preventable I think, if we actually manage to lock down certain areas of the world where pandemics pop up. The biggest threat is probably a combined threat of pandemics and terrorism where the contageous agent is released in multiple very busy places of the world simultaneously (new york+london+singapore+peking+tokio+paris+...).

      Civil and international war

      This is a threat, indeed.

      The ongoing islamisation of the population

      The problem is not the islamisation itself, but that most of the islam being spread is backwards minded, one which is from the time before the

    • That is because you have never been bombarded by a drone because your metadata says that you called a 'bad' guy. And how is 'ongoing islamization' a problem? Do you think that islam is somehow worse than other religions? Don't be afraid of the collapse of the EU, the collapse of the Russian Federation is going to be much worse. Besides that the data they collect about you makes it easier to influence your oppinion on certain things, therfore it it is all connected to the 'bigger' problem you have mentioned.
    • That's a list of the 'central problems of civilization' not the 'central problem of the future'.

      Everything you've listed has been and will continue to be a concern until we either 1.) get rid of currency or 2.) get rid of national governments. Privacy concerns are just one more to be added to the list as things go on.

    • Yeah, my first thought on reading the headline was "well, thank God we don't have to worry about AGW now, since Snowden thinks data privacy is the biggest problem of the future."
  • A new reality (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Bongo ( 13261 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2016 @06:18AM (#53482103)

    Technology has often caused people's minds to change and develop. For example, the popular novel, and the stories, may have been the big thing which increased people's empathy for others in that period in history. Knowledge (awareness) is often transformative (for the mind).

    So is this new world all about "companies controlling the info", or is it that there's so many organisations collecting information that, come 2050, everyone will wake up in the morning knowing what every politician had for breakfast that day and who they are meeting? Will we browse the supermarket aisles and, instead of seeing simple labels like "organic", we'll actually see the whole production chain history of that product?

    And what will that kind of awareness do to the development of the human mind? We may look back at today's age and wonder in amazement at how simple-minded all our news and views about the world were. It may mean the end of ideologies and most religions. We're only just beginning.

    • Re:A new reality (Score:5, Insightful)

      by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2016 @06:43AM (#53482137)

      Technology has often caused people's minds to change and develop. For example, the popular novel, and the stories, may have been the big thing which increased people's empathy for others in that period in history. Knowledge (awareness) is often transformative (for the mind).

      If you're referring to the willful ignorance that humans have developed for sharing their entire lives in exchange for a "free" price tag, then yes, I would say minds have changed. I wouldn't necessarily label that development, as most humans simply do not care about any warning or revelation from people like Snowden. That "free" price tag is somehow worth it. Information Security often fails because that do not care mentality bleeds over into corporations as well. Capitalism comes first and foremost.

      So is this new world all about "companies controlling the info", or is it that there's so many organisations collecting information that, come 2050, everyone will wake up in the morning knowing what every politician had for breakfast that day and who they are meeting? Will we browse the supermarket aisles and, instead of seeing simple labels like "organic", we'll actually see the whole production chain history of that product?

      We know what our celebrities had for breakfast today and who they slept with last night due to this concept of "paparazzi". As for the history of food, I highly doubt it. Corporations like Monsanto will probably ultimately demand legal protections to keep whatever the hell they do to "food" a secret, since we can't even get the letters "GMO" printed on the label. I doubt the concept of "organic" will survive in the long run.

      And what will that kind of awareness do to the development of the human mind? We may look back at today's age and wonder in amazement at how simple-minded all our news and views about the world were. It may mean the end of ideologies and most religions. We're only just beginning.

      I'll just refer to my previous point about "development". Ignorance is clearly bliss, which will probably be enhanced by mind-altering drugs. Religion might actually be one of those few things that automation and AI cannot destroy, so in the end it may be coveted more than ever in a surveillance world.

    • by Fabi ( 37737 )

      I agree. What I'm wondering is why all the data collection is only seen as a thread. Yes it is dangerous but there are also opportunities and we as society have to adapt!

      These discussions completely miss the point to think about a future where not only companies track our data but everyone can track the own data. And we will also shop for algorithms to make sense of that data. Quantified self and similar movements are only the beginning. There is a future where you can compare different recommendations what

      • Re:A new reality (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Sique ( 173459 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2016 @08:00AM (#53482317) Homepage

        These discussions completely miss the point to think about a future where not only companies track our data but everyone can track the own data. And we will also shop for algorithms to make sense of that data. Quantified self and similar movements are only the beginning.

        I don't see much advantage here, but one big disadvantage: You can't do anything in secrecy anymore. You can't choose christmas presents, because companies will change the recommendations to your acquintances because of your choices. You can't develop the next big thing in your garage, because companies know what you are working on. There will be no way to discover something for yourself, because algorithms will prediscover everything for you. BYOD and similar concepts will cause the work sphere and the private sphere to merge, making the concept of privacy as a shield not only against the government but against any data processing entity meaningless. The puberty of the next generation will be hell, and they will not learn to take responsibilities, because companies will send parents warnings everywhere about their offspring's behaviour. Their behaviour will no longer be trained by the consequences of their doing, but by the inherent morality the algorithms have derived from other people's behaviours. The story of the young woman, whose father learned of her pregnancy due to a sudden surge in toddler equipment advertisements in the mail might have some anecdotical aspects, nevertheless this is the reality we have to deal with. We know that every mammal needs some place to hide for a moment, to regain strength, but we are actively destroying every hiding places for ourselves.

      • by ghoul ( 157158 )

        Its very difficult to analyze an individual and come up with any actionable data. It is much easier to analyze a bunch of individuals. Cops have known this forever. They can always predict what a mob will do but an individual is more difficult.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      > [C]ome 2050, everyone will wake up in the morning knowing what every politician had for breakfast that day and who they are meeting?
      No.

      > Will we browse the supermarket aisles and, instead of seeing simple labels like "organic", we'll actually see the whole production chain history of that product?
      No.

      > It may mean the end of ideologies and most religions.
      Neeeoooooope.

  • by AHuxley ( 892839 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2016 @06:50AM (#53482153) Homepage Journal
    Feed the NSA and GCHQ just what they expect to see.
    All the West has is data collection. Junk encryption supported by the big US and UK brands was the way in so offer keywords to the collectors.
    So the NSA and GCHQ gets everything thanks to the support of US and UK brands.
    Give the security services everything they could every want with digital collection.
    Lots of online meetings, conversations, chats, forums, faith, cults, politics in every daily internet log kept by the ISP.
    Make it interesting, get the contractor or gov worker addicted to the next days amazing fictional instalment. Add some story arcs over the years.
    If your a journalist create a few dozen amazing whistelblowers and informants deep in gov or retired. People who have found a conscience after decades in gov and now just want to talk. Create a hint of their decades of documents and add future meetings to the cloud OS. Create a code that they can use.
    Don't get fancy, just that material has been sorted and further clarification is needed.
    Walk around with your cell phone in city areas, cafes full of "contacts" i.e. government workers and contractors.
    Stop for 5 or 10 minutes during for a file hand over. It will show up nice on a map of cell phone movements.
    A journalist cell phone stopping for a "meeting" can result in the questioning of 10's of security clearances in minutes. Ensure the contractors have to consider every phone thats next to a journalist everyday for weeks, months, years. Thats 100's of government workers and contractors who had trackable contact with a journalist known to have cultivated a lot of informants. Turn digital tracking into a script and a total work of fiction.
    Make sure 100's of fictional files exist packed with keywords any gov would find interesting. Ensure all networked computers running everyone fav US consumer junk OS's.
    Slowly a gov worker or contractor will slowly understand that its all fictional junk.
    That is the real the problem with tracking your own citizens digitally. The ability for creativity outpaces digital collection that can only focus on keywords and can only afford to task so many contractors to read vast amounts of fictional material and make a determination.
    Long term the security services will then have consider the option to task teams of 9 people in shifts per interesting person. Thats East German numbers of gov workers and informants to track one person who can use a consumer OS...
    If the US and UK govs want the "normalisation” of government surveillance give them something to read.
    Support the junk US bands, their developers, big brand cryptographers who only have the skills to help govs and fill your devices with fictional fun.
    If your onto a real story, use your brain and paper notes, avoid CCTV, give your tracked phone to a friend for the day.
  • The above mentioned law, voted in France in... 1978 (!) offers a good start: government entities are allowed to collect user/citizen data and make databases out of it. But they are expressly NOT allowed to share it with others (even other branches of the govt). This should be expanded to the private sector. And it also should actually be _applied_ because in later years in France they've been stepping all over this law.
  • by Viol8 ( 599362 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2016 @07:35AM (#53482247) Homepage

    Remind us what country you're living in right now Eddie? Perhaps ask your mate Putin about government data control, misinformation and spying.

    • by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2016 @08:35AM (#53482417)

      Remind us what country you're living in right now Eddie? Perhaps ask your mate Putin about government data control, misinformation and spying.

      Let me remind you of what Snowden truly fears at this point, which is a government silencing him in a rather permanent way by taking his life.

      Ironically he has found a safe haven in the very closet of the boogeyman you wish to identify.

      • by Viol8 ( 599362 )

        " which is a government silencing him in a rather permanent way by taking his life."

        Riiiight, because the NSA I'm sure thinks a hit squad is the way to solve the snowden problem.

        "Ironically he has found a safe haven in the very closet of the boogeyman you wish to identify."

        Yes fancy. Russia taking in someone who is sticking it to the US military and intelligence establishment and is on the run from US authorities. Who'd have thunk it? Its totally unprecedented... oh, wait....

        Trust me - once his usefullness

        • " which is a government silencing him in a rather permanent way by taking his life."

          Riiiight, because the NSA I'm sure thinks a hit squad is the way to solve the snowden problem....

          To clarify, the CIA does wet work. The NSA has fuck-all to do with that other than advise the CIA of the inherent continued threat provided by his existence.

          Ironically, he's probably still alive today because of willful ignorance the masses provide. If more people actually cared about his revelations or their privacy, the threat to justify a CIA target would have been considerably larger.

    • I can't recall ever hearing/reading Snowden supporting or complimenting Russia/Putin for privacy. Your comment is wholly irrelevant, in trying to conflate his comments about the US as support for anyone.

  • Data pollution... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by XSportSeeker ( 4641865 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2016 @07:42AM (#53482259)

    I agree with Snowden, think he made a great attempt on warning everyone, which unfortunately wasn't effective enough... there, I said it.

    Here's the thing: data collection and the erosion of privacy is only the beginning. Government and big corporations are still not leveraging their power much, but they are building it, and in time they'll use it. I imagine it now as something like pollution right around the industrial revolution. The general population will be mostly dismissive of it's consequences, mostly because they cannot understand how much it'll affect them in the future, and how many economies are currently being built around it.

    The majority will say that it's a worthy tradeoff for all sorts of reasons, usually rooted in fear or convenience. Fear of terrorism, fear of criminals, fear of the future, because it makes my life easier, because I get services I could not get otherwise, because I can call for Uber with my voice alone, etc.

    "I have nothing to hide" or "my life is boring" arguments must be something pretty close to people in the past thinking "but I live in farmland" or "the air is clean enough in my garden/city". It's because dangers like those requires a certain level of abstraction and/or statesmanship that most don't have or can't be bothered with.

    People can easily let go of fundamental democratic rights as long as they don't perceive it as a threat. Problem is, much as we're only seeing large scale disasters and climate change overall only now (and some are still in denial of the challenges we'll be facing from now on), the consequences of privacy erosion and large scale data collection will only be felt, fully leveraged and weaponized, in a few decades. By then, it'll already be too late to do something... we'll at most be able to mitigate consequences if we survive the onslaught.

    Democracy relies on a delicate balance of power between governments and the people. What data collection essencially does is handle too much power in the hands of a few. Eventually, the imbalance of power corrupts. We might get lucky for a while with politicians/businesses who either don't want to make use of that power, or politicians who don't know how to, but with it just sitting there waiting for someone to seize the opportunity, it'll eventually happen.

    It doesn't have to be anything like over the top dystopic fiction too, at least not for quite a while. Much like Hitler didn't get to form the 3rd reich overnight, lots of predominant muslin countries were much less radicalized in the past, and North Korea didn't just expontaneously form out of nowhere, changes are gradual.

    You really don't need to be a genius to understand the problem though. The devices you use in a daily basis are a huge part of you now.
    For mass surveilance, the main problem is going through all that data and picking what's relevant to use. This problem will get solved with AI eventually.
    And then, whatever agency decides to use this will be able to pull your dossier and decide from a miriad of choices how to control you.
    They'll know where you are, what you are doing, who are your friends, who you have been in contact with, what are your interests, what devices you use to further extract more information, what is your position in relation to politicians and laws, what or who can be used to change your mindset, what your weak points are, what blind spots you have, etc etc.

    And all that is only considering that the data remains on a government or private company's hand without leakage. They still have an interest to keep the country in general intact, since they depend on it to thrive. All that data falling into the hands of hackers and criminals living in other countries, then the scenario gets a whole lot grimmer.

  • http://www.independent.co.uk/n... [independent.co.uk]

    Every social media and other interaction added up to make a 'citizen score'.
    "In this world, anything from defaulting on a loan to criticising the ruling party, from running a red light to failing to care for your parents properly, could cause you to lose points. And in this world, your score becomes the ultimate truth of who you are – determining whether you can borrow money, get your children into the best schools or travel abroad; whether you get a room in a fancy ho

  • by 110010001000 ( 697113 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2016 @08:07AM (#53482341) Homepage Journal
    I know people think government surveillance is new, but it isn't. In the 1800s the government routed all their telegraph lines through their offices so they could monitor them. Based on that monitoring, they arrested many journalists that they said were against the state. And *gasp* they didn't have a court order, or any oversight. Anything you send over a network is monitored. Anything. Networks are not secure. Never will be either, simply because the purpose of a network is to share information between endpoints. And with access anyone can be an endpoint on the network.
  • The merit of Snowden is to have pinpointed the lack of transparency, not to be a hero of privacy. Privacy is a lame concept, which mainly helps criminals from governments to street gangs do their things. Let's bet on transparency: your user data will be valueless and the political system will have no choice other than comply.
    • Aren't you cute!

      I bet you even believe everybody's private data is worth the same...and would be treated the same in this egalitarian Utopia of yours.

      Thanks for the chuckle. Let us know when you hit puberty.

      • I bet you even believe everybody's private data is worth the same...
        Of course not. Yours are certainly more valuable than mine since you need to use a pseudo. And both are obviously of very little value compared to those of "Anonymous cowards".
    • So start with your own transparency. Supply us with your details for banking, email, taxation, place of residence, phone numbers and closest relatives. Or are you a fucking criminal with something to hide? It looks like you are, and you do.

      • Another advantage of sticking to one's name is that you try to think 2 seconds before posting complete garbage.
        • Calling you out for a horse shit comment stating that privacy isn't important transparency is, doesn't require more than two seconds. Transparency is an interpreted lie, and the idea that privacy has no value except to criminals is bullshit.

  • "[In the past,] your beliefs, your future, your hopes, your dreams belonged to you"

    They still do. It's just that some others know what those things are. You still get to pick them. And long before most people reading this were born, there were people who were interested in knowing what they are so they can sell stuff to you, and various non-marketers could get at that too.

  • What if it were legislated/court ruled that an individual has a copyright interest in any and all data that is personally identifiable? Certainly a company recorded it, but _MY_ click created it. They of course can use it as necessarily intended (implied consent), but cannot copy and send it anywhere else without explicit (annual?) consent. Database holders might have the right to strip personal identifiers and average data from users (min 12?) then use the aggregates as they wish.
    • Yeah. The result of this is that there will be stickers on any communication-capable device stating, that "By using this device you agree to terms and conditions and revoke your ownership of any personally identifiable data created in the process of using said device, etcetera..." And we're back to step one. That said, no matter how "unindentifiable" any metadata can be it's usually ends up being perefectly identifiable once you look at the bigger picture: combine your database with database of that ISP ov
      • by redelm ( 54142 )
        That's why I said _explicit_ consent. I meant separate annual contract, with separate consideration, not part of any other contract. And "cross readable" would still be personally identifiable ...
  • If only there was a law to regulate all this data collection. Maybe we could call it the General Data Protection Regulation [wikipedia.org].

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It is already too late. The laws in-place were not meant to and do not seem to do a decent job protecting anyone. This has led to corporations and the government to do things that Snowden mentioned. It has already happened and corporations are making huge profits off of it and the government is getting its benefit as well. Some one please explain how the we are supposed to get the two groups to suddenly stop doing what is profitable and convenient. Really, how?

  • For some, surveillance that just collects metadata might seem less alarming, but in Snowden's view, "That metadata is in many cases much more dangerous and much more intrusive, because it can be understood at scale." He added that we currently face unprecedented perils because of all the data that's now available -- in the past, there was no way for the government to get a list of all the magazines you'd read, or every book you'd checked out from the library. "[In the past,] your beliefs, your future, your hopes, your dreams belonged to you," Snowden said. "Increasingly, these things belong to companies, and these companies can share them however they want, without a lot of oversight." He wasn't arguing that companies shouldn't collect user data at all, but rather that "the people who need to be in control of that are the users." "This is the central problem of the future, is how do we return control of our identities to the people themselves?" Snowden said.

    How collecting metadata can be more dangerous than collecting data that lead to metadata in first place? Snowden speaks nonesense here. Then all the examples he is giving are related to data collection and not metadata collection. Your beliefs, your future, your hopes and your dreams are not lying in the metadata.

    Frankly, Snowden is overrated on these topics. I am a bit tired he is given the microphone by fucking journalists which have no clue about what they intend to talk about.

  • Snowden has a hammer, and everything looks like a nail. IMHO, the central problem of the future is finding enough affordable energy and being able to deploy it without wrecking the environment.

    Also, being able to detect and prevent Earth-colliding asteroids. If we had two years to divert a planet-killer, suddenly not caring if FaceBoook knows I bought a dildo.

  • Since nobody can afford to own their own home anymore, and there's no social safety nets, and all the jobs are being automated, so everyone will just get kicked out of their rented homes and die in the streets en masse.

  • Even with slavery there was some type of internal freedom, because "the owner" only was owning the physical part and capacity, never what was inside the person mind ... until now.

    The collective behavior indicates what I am trying to accomplish, what are my feelings, my thoughts. The data is there, the only needed thing is to dig enough.

    For some time I have been trying to discover what it is exactly the "666" written on the Bible. Initially my thoughts were related with the DNA, as it is a number. It is

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