[ExI] internet privacy

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Wed Jul 23 10:39:06 UTC 2014

spike <spike66 at att.net> , 20/7/2014 8:14 PM:
Harvey this is the kind of power that is intoxicating to any bureaucrat.  If 
they know everyone's secrets, every google search everyone ever made, every 
website everyone ever viewed, that NSA agent has power far beyond anything 
seen in government to date.  Forget the threat of an IRS audit or an EPA 
raid.  Any subtle threat to reveal all ones secrets will keep the masses in 
line.  How could such power ever go without being abused? 
Exactly. On the other hand, how stable and secure is the blackmail material infrastructure?
A few years back a quarrel broke out between the youth wings of a few Swedish political parties. And somebody started throwing embarrassing information around. Of course political parties and even their youth organisations collect stuff like that, as do individual politicians (be the least drunk on the party and snap some photos). The problem was that somebody else retaliated, and suddenly the muck from the opp research and embarrassing photo stashes was flying! The more senior politicos reputedly had to bang quite a lot of heads together to make it stop: this is *not* how you use that stuff, if you want to have a future career - or a trusted system. 
Now imagine a deep state with blackmail on *everybody*. That means blackmail on other parts of the deep state. And deep states are rarely unified, brotherly structures where everybody works together for a shared goal - they have politics just like normal states. So the risk here is that either incompetents like the above politicos start throwing things around or a scheme gets out of hand, a deep rift between key fractions turns into MAD, or that somebody gets fed up and leaks.
It is instructive to look at Turkey, where the Gulenists have been waging an embarrassing revelation war against Erdogan's circle (previously they helped him oust the *original* military deep state using the same means). 
This is why we should become more tolerant: most people do not do things beyond what we can and should tolerate. And if we do not care en masse, then most blackmail becomes worthless. The people who have something to fear are the ones with something to hide... like the masters of deep states. 

Anders Sandberg, Future of Humanity Institute Philosophy Faculty of Oxford University
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