[extropy-chat] Wireheading

BillK pharos at gmail.com
Thu Oct 5 11:42:16 UTC 2006

On 10/5/06, Samantha Atkins wrote:
> On Oct 2, 2006, at 3:16 AM, BillK wrote:
> > You do realise that anything significant that you post on extropy-chat
> > (or anywhere on the internet) is likely to immediately update your
> > Homeland Security Profile?
> The day I live in fear of these meat heads and their silly profiles is
> the day I disappear completely.

That is an admirable political posture to take, but back in the real
world a higher level of caution is more advisable.

You don't seem to appreciate the power of surveillance and information
gathering available to the authorities now or in the very near future.
Advances in DNA analysis are now expected to solve tens of thousands
of crimes from many years ago and many more future crimes.
Advances in data-mining accumulate people's online incriminating
history so that it is available at the press of a key.

In the 'war on terror' environment, self-censorship seems just common
sense to avoid attracting unnecessary attention from officialdom. You
certainly don't want to get on the list for special attention by
airport security.

Obviously the authorities cannot send the hit squads after every
member of the population. Posting on the web won't get your door
kicked in at 4 am by police in riot gear. Not unless you are *very*
criminal in your postings.

But just in case the police ever call me in for an 'interview', or I
am caught dropping litter someday, I would prefer that their computer
file on me didn't display lots of stuff about x, y or z.

For some activities, running a computer security check is now
standard. Working with children is a hot button issue at present in
the UK.  As security checks become easier and more detailed, getting
the job you want will get more difficult. Like getting a political
appointment, or on a School Board, or a local  government post, or
helping with kids holidays or school trips, etc. They don't have to
tell you why you don't get the job, either. You will just find more
doors being closed to you.

I think a lot of the kids on MySpace are going to have some growing-up
pains when all the personal stuff they dump there comes back to haunt
them. Government security people are not the only ones who can run web
searches. Employers, lawyers, press, finance companies, banks, you
name it. Searching someone's history will soon become standard
procedure. Google knows (nearly) everything. And Echelon (or whatever
they call it now) has access to much more than Google.

I am not saying that you have to redesign your whole lifestyle to
become Mr Average in all opinions and activities. Just be careful and
think before you self-incriminate yourself.  Take the Fifth.

Your mother was right.  Never, ever, put something in writing unless
you would be happy to see it as front page news.


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