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[Discuss] PRISM Re: TLD for Personal Use - Email

On 6/11/2013 2:29 PM, Rich Braun wrote:
> ... Today's kids, and apparently those born the past
> several years, can expect that every interaction they ever had or ever will
> make is going into a government hard-drive someplace.  Their political and
> personal opponents, if given access to this searchable database, will find it
> hard to resist going all the way back.  Public knowledge that this is actually
> happening, and isn't just the stuff of paranoid science fiction, will impinge
> on the 1st-amendment right of association: conscious of such monitoring,
> people will either associate differently, or not associate at all.

Maybe, but only for a while. That's the flip side of the (pun intended) 
bitcoin: massive amounts of data will reveal that every kid does foolish 
things, and that every boy lusted after the prom queen or dreamed of 
being an NFL star, and that every girl fantasized about meeting Sir 
Lancelot and settling down in Camelot, or of following in Hillary 
Clinton's footsteps.

Conscious of such monitoring, children will continue to act like 
children. The soon-to-be adults who later review the records will 
probably break into a wry grin, and push the "page down" button, knowing 
that the information is too common to be dangerous.

> I have associated with criminals, only knowing this fact later; many of us
> associate with them knowingly, as family members or other acquaintances. I've
> even been a John-Doe defendant in a federal case involving one of them.  So
> it's not just a hypothetical:  even if you have "nothing to hide", those
> around you do.

I used to sit and talk with a neighbor at my trailer park in 1978: he 
was a wise, and funny, older man. I offered him a ride to the poling 
place on election day, and he told me that he was a convicted felon who 
had done twenty years for manslaughter. I still sat and talked with him 
when I got the chance.  I never considered that his past could affect me 
or the opinion of those I knew: I didn't brag about knowing the man, but 
I never hid the fact either.

Had we known each other today, it's possible that we would use email to 
communicate, although I doubt it, since he was as technology averse as 
it was possible to get in 1978. No matter: all that a report would have 
shown is that I had lived next to him in a trailer park and traded 
anecdotes about local politics, local weather, the playoffs, or the fact 
that taxes were too high.

We have sex-offender registries online now, and by and large, nobody 
cares: only parents of young children want to know, and the information 
is out there for them to check. If someone who stands for election was 
on one of them, I might want to know that, although I would also check 
on the circumstances of the case, since some "sex offenders" were 
convicted only of mooning a local politician.

It's all grist for the mill, but the more you grind, the more you 
realize that a certain percentage of insects always remain in the flour, 
and that's life.

> The next shoe to drop in this case, or some future one, that I expect to see:
> content (as well as pen-register metadata) of SMS text messages is probably
> visible on the wire that attaches government servers at the big telco data
> centers.  Chances are, it's being recorded in full; Verizon has been quoted in
> public saying they don't record SMS but they have plausible deniability even
> if the gov't is keeping such records.  And even if Congress were to try to
> limit duration of such record-keeping, expect that it will be kept for life
> unless the practice is banned as it is in European countries.

If we could retrieve phone calls from the 1920's, we would find a 
certain percentage of them concerned the unlawful sale of alcohol. Some 
of today's text messages would concern the unlawful sale of Marijuana. 
The day after prohibition ended, nobody cared: in fact, knowing that 
someone never broke a stupid and counterproductive law would make me 
/less/ likely to vote for him in an election or hire him for my company.

Saints don't make good neighbors, you know?

> The "real criminals" have more motivation than the rest of us to evade this
> type of monitoring and most already do.  So PRISM and other programs are a
> pointless dragnet that will be usurped for dangerous/corrupt political
> purposes and repression.

Well, I can testify from personal experience that unsupported 
allegations can be dangerous, and I know that rumors and other 
fear-mongering are as reliable as a weather report and as common as 
predictions of the coming apocalypse, but if the information is out 
there, that means that the things I did or said can be compared to the 
things my contemporaries did or said, and therefore it all tends to 
blend into an ooze of "what else is new?" background noise.


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