Thursday, July 04, 2013

Vinay on Snowden etc.

Vinay has a good overview of where we are now :

I don’t know what happens next. Snowden has shone a lot of light into a very, very dark corner, but there are vastly worse corners which are still in darkness.

There are three main factions of response to the new reality in which we operate. They are

Germany pushes back using international law against US intrusion into its sovereignty. The US likewise.

Civil Libertarians push back within the court system in America and the UK asking for answers, real oversight, and civil rights.

Cipherpunks now push end-to-end encryption of all messages as a basic civic duty by which we attempt to protect each-other from the State gone wrong.

The hardest part of all of this is going to be keeping all of these groups cooperating and moving in the right direction. The Germans, of course, want data retention and the right to spy on their own citizens, as most EU countries do. They will be quite unhappy with the cipherpunks. The civil libertarians are quite distrusting of encryption as an end-run around the legal system, a technical implementation of a civil right that could be over-turned by superior technology: a worthy argument, but let them change the law to comply with the Constitution then complain about crypto. Finally, the non-state wing of the cipherpunks view international and national action as a distraction: the system cannot be fixed, the guilty cannot be punished, and the only available approach is to remove the power of the State to do what we do not wish it to: a digital insurrection.

The desperate need right now is for orientation to the new reality that Snowden’s actions have exposed. The old map of superpower alliances may be toast, with China, the EU and Russia allied against the US in at least basic security concerns. The black-clad paranoids of the hackerspaces are now fully vindicated, and preparing GPG and OTR for mass adoption is now an urgent step. Finally, the ACLU & co are now, without a doubt, completely vindicated – but can they actually close with their targets, or will they be intimidated and fobbed off by corrupt courts?

It is all to play for, but discard your old map and do the analysis from scratch. There is much more going on than the old models predicted. Gods help all of us as we reorient and reintegrate, and take action to survive.

Disorientation is normal. Go about your day, citizen!

No comments: