[ExI] chilling effects

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Fri Oct 25 18:32:26 UTC 2013

On Fri, Oct 25, 2013 at 06:29:43PM +0200, Anders Sandberg wrote:

> But there is a more insidious aspect: our drive for attention and
> importance makes us brew chilling effects. A lot of people I meet
> deal with things that are fairly important and controversial. But
> most of what they do is, let's face it, boring low social status

Anders, do you remember Assange? He used to post to this list.
Have you received email from him? Encrypted email? Are you one
one or two hops away from people that are known targets? Have you
received packages from any such? Have you had any significant
exposure to Bitcoin circles? Did you travel to Bitcoin conferences
as a speaker? Are you a computer security researcher? Are you
a member of political group even remotely considered daring,
or are you connected to people like that? Do you travel a lot,
into diverse countries? &c&c

If any of these apply, consider yourself a likely target for
telco surveillance.

This is not conjecture. We have multiple data points for such,
so it's robust evidence.

> research or activism. In that situation it is easy to make what you
> do more impressive by warning about how the Powers That Be are
> against it and will stop at nothing in order to prevent their work.
> It is an easy claim (especially when it has *some* grain of truth),
> slots into paranoia receptors, and gives the desired admiration for
> bravery. But it also serves to convince a lot of people that dealing
> with the whole area is scary and dangerous, best left to the James
> Bond hacktivist.

The very opposite: they're not Beria. You will not be deported to
the gulags, at least not just yet. Just make sure you travel with
disposable, clean electronics, and be prepared to be denied entry.

Not knowing this would be foolish. Letting you get all hot and
flustered about it would be even more foolish. Not getting hopping
mad about it, and trying to make a difference is the most foolish
at all.
> Most dire warnings I hear about how the Powers are doing sinister
> things seem to be more about getting attention and playing human
> social games than actual intel. And they do damage by their chilling
> effects - I have met people who are afraid of being associated with
> cryptography or working for better intelligence oversight because

They have reason to suspicition that this adds a flag that can
make a difference in future, but perhaps being flagged a coward
stings a bit more.

> they do believe the talk. That talk was not produced by psyops
> spooks, but bona fide crypto-activists.

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