[ExI] [FoRK] [liberationtech] Fwd: [riseup] Space for dissent

dan at geer.org dan at geer.org
Sun Aug 25 11:42:13 UTC 2013

[ cross-posting will fail unless someone else wants to do it ]

The leading snippet of the forwarded piece,

 > What surveillance really is, at its root, is a highly effective
 > form of social control. The knowledge of always being watched
 > changes our behavior and stifles dissent. The inability to associate
 > secretly means there is no longer any possibility for free
 > association....

is called "anticipatory compliance," a term due to Shoshana Zuboff
who said "[W]e anticipate surveillance and we conform, and we do
that with awareness. ... Once anticipatory conformity becomes second
nature, it becomes progressively easier for people to adapt to new
impositions on their privacy, their freedoms.  The habit has been
set," and that quotation is from a couple of decades ago.  More
recent and more relevant to this topic is this:


which is too long to quote and too good to abridge.  Speaking for
myself, I touched on this in my column for IEEE S&P of last January,

Identity as Privacy

In the meantime, and with allowances for approximation, as of 2013,
it is possible to:

  recognize your face at 500 meters

  recognize your iris at 50 meters

  recognize your heartbeat at 5 meters

  recognize your gait by your smartphone via its accelerometer

  read your keystrokes on your smartphone via its accelerometer

  identify your car from its Bluetooth tire pressure sensors

  geo-locate you indoors via Wifi interaction with other devices

  know what you are doing via your Smartgrid elec meter

  identify you even if you never post photos; someone else has

  read 1" block letters from orbit


Disconnecting as a purposive decision is no longer a mere reaction
to the demise of some "expectation of privacy" but rather the
realization that the Internet is more and more a tool of control,
not emancipation.  As the source of risk is dependence, risk reduction
goes straight to dependence reduction.


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