I have to write this rant once about ever six years or so. I preached it in the late 1980s, I preached it in the mid-1990s, then again in the 2000s and I guess it's time again. When developing start-up forums and "communities" for Quantum Computers (shortly thereafter known as "America Online") we established policy to warn people :
Do not post or upload anything here, written or images, that you do not want to become public. This is the connected online world. What ever you post will be public, and may be difficult or impossible to remove. Do not post or upload any personal information whatsoever.
Did you think they listened?
I got a press inquiry from a person called Karl Volkman, billing himself as a 'technology expert' and asking if I would like an interview. Volkman says :
For technology sites, one of the most important factors for customers is trust. Customers need to know their information is safe and secure, and right now users of Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc., are not sure who exactly has access to their data ... Reforming the regulations surrounding government surveillance is crucial for these sites and presenting their plan of action is a step in the right direction.
For a technology expert, he seems a little naive. He wants customers to know their information is safe? From who? By virtue of giving that information to Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc., it's definitely not safe. They track, quantify, and re-sell that data on an hourly basis. Google purveys that information to advertisers on a seconds basis. Does he think government surveillance will do more harm than Google or Yahoo or Facebook? Are people really that stupid? Folks, let me repeat, you don't need a "step in the right direction" if you don't take a step in the wrong direction. Why is that so hard to learn?
Volkman continues :
The tech giants’ plan consisted of five principles; limiting governments’ authority to collect users’ information, oversight and accountability, transparency about government demands, respecting the free flow of information and avoiding conflicts among governments.
So do people actually think that the government is so interested in their little lives that they'll sift through billions upon billions of bits of data to stalk them? You piss-and-moan about hear-say* claiming the government is capturing telephone numbers? Yet have no qualms with Google+ or LinkedIN or Yahoo or Facebook -- who are all intensely interested in each and every user's online habits, friends, purchases, likes, and dislikes??? You give those entities your phone number, but don't want the government to have it? That doesn't bother you? Are people really that stupid?
In the 1980s and 1990s my graphic design seminars always had attendees asking questions about art and graphics online, and theft, or plagurism. Well, read my lips :
IF you don't want it out there, don't put it out there. If you do put it out there, then be prepared to walk away from it -- the world will own it.
A qualified felon* named Edward Snowden comes along and grabs the limelight by saying the NSA has been collecting information on us. This has never actually be verified with testable* evidence* -- only hear-say*. So what? Why would you be worried about the government knowing you made a phone call? Can you think of a reason? How many phone calls did you make in the last 24 hours? Which one do you think the government is most interested in?
That's what I thought.
The only people really worried about NSA collecting their phone records are the ones who have something to hide -- or are using their phones for something that would catch NSA's attention*. Yes, NSA is completely capable of hacking your iPhone. Duh, no surprise here.. But then again, so is the Russian mob and the Pacific Rim mob and the ACLU, NAACP, Zappa-Crappa and twenty-five-thousand other organizations, if they really want to. But then again, who wants into your iPhone? What have you done to identify yourself as someone worth going after?
Yes, of course Google and Yahoo and all those others are wetting themselves -- they have billion$ at stake. They make boatloads of revenue from organized internet crime. Of course they want to limit governments' authority -- of course they're going to hype the issue to the public -- they like the millions they make each hour on users private data. Of course they want all of their users using email and texting and browsing, thinking the government's not watching -- how else would they be able to send the right advertisements -- demographically* structured -- to each and every user? You put it out there, and now you don't want them to look? That's a joke. You don't think Google is watching? ROFL! Google is watching, analyzing, qualifying and tracking you at this very moment.
Repeat after me :
IF you don't want it out there, don't put it out there."
And, thanks for reading
PS : NOT what you THINK : Just in case you picked up on my intentional merging of two totally unrelated elements of the online world, YES, I did it because the entire drive-by media has somehow manipulated the whole NSA / Snowden leak thing to be directly involved or related to the internet. Which is totally incorrect. Telephone call records have absolutely nothing to do with the internet or online social entities like Google, Yahoo or LinkedIn. But for some reason the talking heads seem to think if they drag in the big online players, they'll have more traction with the goverment and popular opinion. The telephone companies have your records. NOT the internet. The media is intentionally fogging the lines between online info and government acquired metrics. Start using your brains, folks!
NSA malware infected over 50,000 computer networks worldwide Summary: A newly-surfaced Snowden slide shows the NSA infected more than 50,000 computer networks worldwide with malware, according to Dutch outlet NRC. Reported by Violet Blue for Zero Day | November 23, 2013
* Was that Snowden slide ever validated as authentic? NO.
Will 2014 be Nineteen Eighty Four? Moderated by Steve Ranger | December 16, 2013 -- Summary: In light of the NSA Snowden revelations, we asked our debaters: Is Orwell's vision coming into focus at last?
* Which side are you?
Is Edward Snowden a hero, criminal, mole? Interesting conversation