[ExI] The NSA's new data center

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Wed Mar 28 17:09:54 UTC 2012

On Wed, Mar 28, 2012 at 02:46:15PM +0200, Stefano Vaj wrote:

> The problem is that privacy is a doctrine at war with itself.

I do not see why.
> Take for instance the EU regulations in this respect.

As the EU is a largely self-perpetuating bureaucracy with
a very large (and growing) democracy deficit passing the best
laws money can buy we should actively ignore anything coming
out of Brussels for our sanity's reasons alone.
> While the States obviously maintain in full their factual and even legal
> power to spy on you and process your personal data, provided at best that

They do not seem to concern with legality overmuch. The legislation
pattern does start looking ominously like we've last seen in Weimar.
(This doesn't mean that this have to end like Weimar).

> some procedural steps are complied with and that no private-interest use is
> made of such data (and even that really pertains only to using the

Individual usage of data is fine. Institutional (whether federal or
corporate) is distinctly not.

> information for evidentiary purposes), *the enforcement of privacy rules
> would basically mean that the State has one more additional reason and
> legal right (heck, a legal *obligation*) to put its nose in your PC or

Personal and NGO IT is off-limits to federal and corporate interests.
There's considerable conflict of interest even with federal oversight
of itself, and in practice the data protection officers have no teeth.

> network* in order to check what you are doing with them (you could be
> engaging in illegal personal data processing or surveillance, couldn't
> you?).

Not as an individual or a small group, no. As a corporation, yes.
> Now, I do maintain that attempts at their enforcement are anyway becoming
> increasingly futile, owing to technological progress.

I don't see why, once a violation is detected you can send people
to jail for a long time, and a few billions EUR here and there do
add up to some real money. 
> But in the meantime, the regulations in place are pretty useful to limit
> transparency, blackmail people, indict whistle-blowers, try and control the
> circulation of information, etc.

It is not very difficult to leak information tracelessly, even though
the treatment of Manning and Assange (both travesties of justice resembling
what was once routine under Stalin, Mao, Hitler and similar scum) definitely
had some chilling effect. But also a radicalization effect.

We should also definitely thank the fine content monopoly lobbies 
for their tireless attempts to establish censorship infrastructure. 
Boneheadead, hamfisted attempts like that will further fuel the meteoric 
rise of Pirate Parties and robust anonymization overlays for the Internet.

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list