Tuesday, June 03, 2014

OpenStack 06/04/2014 (a.m.)

  • I wound up joining this campaign at the urging of the ACLU after checking the Privacy Policy. The Reset the Net campaign seems to be endorsed by a lot of change-oriented groups, from the ACLU to Greenpeac to the Pirate Party. A fair number of groups with a Progressive agenda, but certainly not limited to them. The right answer to that situation is to urge other groups to endorse, not to avoid the campaign. Single-issue coalition-building is all about focusing on an area of agreement rather than worrying about who you are rubbing elbows with.  I have been looking for a a bipartisan group that's tackling government surveillance issues via mass actions but has no corporate sponsors. This might be the one. The reason: Corporate types like Google have no incentive to really butt heads with the government voyeurs. They are themselves engaged in massive surveillance of their users and certainly will not carry the battle for digital privacy over to the private sector. But this *is* a battle over digital privacy and legally defining user privacy rights in the private sector is just as important as cutting back on government surveillance. As we have learned through the Snowden disclosures, what the private internet companies have, the NSA can and does get.  The big internet services successfully pushed in the U.S. for authorization to publish more numbers about how many times they pass private data to the government, but went no farther. They wanted to be able to say they did something, but there's a revolving door of staffers between NSA and the big internet companies and the internet service companies' data is an open book to the NSA.   The big internet services are not champions of their users' privacy. If they were, they would be featuring end-to-end encryption with encryption keys unique to each user and unknown to the companies.  Like some startups in Europe are doing. E.g., the Wuala.com filesync service in Switzerland (first 5 GB of storage free). Compare that to Dropbox, which is finally encrypting user data on their servers, but the encryption key is on their servers too. Fundamentally insecure file sync.  There are some very good civil liberty organizations out there doing legal work on these issues, e.g., ACLU, EFF, Center for Constitutional Rights. But such organizations, while their services are valued, are not designed for mass political action. And to some extent, the fact that they do litigation induces a "leave it to the lawyers" attitude among too many people who care. Lawsuits are far from a complete solution to the digital surveillance problem. They can't do much in the area between what the constitution allows and legislation. In that zone, legislators have enormous discretion that must be met with mass opposition to digital surveillance.      The page that I have bookmarked here includes a fairly long list of digital privacy apps for all of the major desktop operating systems and for Android mobile systems. The concept of this campaign is that on June 5, all participants will do something to encrypt more of the web's data traffic.   That is an effective means of protest because NSA lacks the computing power to decrypt many encrypted data packets. So NSA stores all encrypted communications, hoping to spend their decryption capabilities wisely. Flooding the internet with encrypted data packets ensures that NSA accumulates an ever-growing haystack of encrypted communications, making it far more difficult for the NSA to engage in broad-ranging surveillance. Not just NSA but the signals intelligence agencies of all nations on the planet. That is a strategy that prominent internet security activists have recommended. This campaign aims to give that strategy a big boost.  So I endorse this campaign. Please consider signing up and taking part.   

    Tags: surveillance state, digital-privacy, NSA-reform, Reset-the-Net

Posted from Diigo. The rest of Open Web group favorite links are here.

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