Data breaches are winning the privacy wars, so what should privacy advocates do?

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Time to double check my list of passwords, maybe change some and close some accounts.

People I talk to seem to think that the war for privacy has been lost already. After all the NSA gets to do pretty much whatever they want, everything Snowden revealed has been ignored or worse - gotten darker, antivirus programs don’t actually work, anti malware has the same problem, and web browsers just hog up more memory without actually stopping the threats.
It’s like that old axiom says - Why worry about what you can’t change?

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The one nice thing about grotesque data breaches is that they are pretty much the only thing that ever sheds light on exactly how much dossier-building gets done by “Legitimate” entities.

Obviously, I’d prefer a form of notification that has fewer side effects; but the data-gatherers of the world seem to be divided between those who don’t bother to ask and simply work efficiently and silently; and those who do make their plans public; but have some noble goal or other for which their definitely-benevolent-and-never-to-mission-creep database is a small and reasonable price to pay. The former aren’t going to provide notification, the latter are less covert but never frame the matter as anything except one of ‘so-called-privacy’ interfering with one urgent good or another.

Unfortunately, none of this has much weakened the actual surveillance capabilities of either type; but leaks are pretty much the only information to be had about the first; and the only counter-narrative to the blandishments of the second.

That’s a really smart article, but quoting yourself? Really?


Only people who have something to hide need privacy, right?

Having dealt with electronic communications for a few decades now and having read a bit of history, long ago I realized there really is no such thing as privacy of electronic communications and there never was. At least not for those who lack access to military or government communications systems and even then it is understood that the level of privacy is subject to limitations.

Why isn’t anyone talking about the Second Amendment aspects of this? The 1990’s held cryptography programs at the border as munitions and the Wassenaar Arrangement now sets security exploits in a legal framework of munitions. As part of a well-regulated militia, a USAnian citizen (specifically an American citizen from the USA) has the right to wield these tools as being necessary to the security of a free state.

Consequently, there’s lawyering to be done so that it’s a legitimate use of arms to raise something approximating the ‘herd immunity’ of online organisations against security breaches. Perhaps also the task of retaining a free state legitimises the scrambling to uselessness or surgical removal of your own data from the hands of an untrusted third party.

In many political struggles there are people who are willing to raise arms against their oppressors – and as a pacifist I must ask people to act only in line with their conscience. Unfortunately the end of this chain of thought is the Electronic Frontier Foundation (which does have a sizeable constituency of libertarian gun aficionados) becoming the equivalent of the NRA and lobbying to retain unsafe computer systems. Thus I end with: #ruiningitforeveryone

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