2016-03-14 Crypto Wars

I’m sorry, another link post. If you’re a regular reader, you might wonder what this is. A bookmark? In way, yes. I find that I regularly search my blog for stuff I only half remember. I’ve used Google Bookmarks in the past to save links, but as it turns out, I hardly ever use it to find links. The few times I’ve tried, I failed. So now I’m trying to use the blog. And I try to update these posts with more links and summaries. 2016-02-15 With Regards from Russia has grown in recent weeks, for example.

Anyway, cryptography:

Why Are We Fighting the Crypto Wars Again? “American companies are worried that foreign customers might regard their products as direct conduits to American authorities.” Definitely! For the moment, Apple and Google are not too bad, but we think about it every time we put something on the American cloud. Dropbox? iCloud? Google Drive? We always joke about the NSA reading our stuff and nobody laughs.

Mass surveillance silences minority opinions, according to study:

Elizabeth Stoycheff, lead researcher of the study and assistant professor at Wayne State University, is disturbed by her findings.

“So many people I’ve talked with say they don’t care about online surveillance because they don’t break any laws and don’t have anything to hide. And I find these rationales deeply troubling,” she said.

She said that participants who shared the “nothing to hide” belief, those who tended to support mass surveillance as necessary for national security, were the most likely to silence their minority opinions.

“The fact that the ’nothing to hide’ individuals experience a significant chilling effect speaks to how online privacy is much bigger than the mere lawfulness of one’s actions. It’s about a fundamental human right to have control over one’s self-presentation and image, in private, and now, in search histories and metadata,” she said.

I cannot stress this enough. This has happened to me, too. I avoided posting things online; I’ve had arguments with my wife regarding things I wanted to post online. She said something along the lines of “you’re simply stupid if you want to go ahead with it in times like these.” I argued that “if we’re censuring ourselves then there’s no point in fighting for our rights – the bad guys have already won!”

But then again, you learn how to control yourselves when talking to border police and other people of authority. The stakes never seem high enough. Miss a flight? Surely you jest. Is this Facebook post really necessary? Of course not. And thus, quietly, our world changes.

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