While reading about the January arrest of Marcel Lazar Lehel, reputed to be the infamous Guccifer, I stumbled across this NYT opinion piece that discusses how important the 1st Amendment is. I recently had a brief discussion about anonymity, online griefers and the like and struggled to word a defense for what I consider an important bulwark of American culture.
For now, if the only way to get people like Diane McWhorter (sp? - article at http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/09/opinion/sunday/stop-glorifying-hackers.html) to develop some personal responsibility when it comes to usage of telecommunications networks is to have their personal email hacked, so be it. Humans tend to learn the hard way.
Weev did a toorcon presentation where he pointedly noted that (while hilariously dosed to the gills on LSD), while your computer is your personal property, once it is connected to networks you don’t own, data sent over them is public. While this is a cavalier and simplistic opinion, I think it would help people to think of the Internet in this light.
One could use a metaphor of renting space from a storage facility (like that extra couch you want to keep but don’t have room for in between moves) to compare their email, Twitter and Flickr accounts to, but I think this would be an apples-to-oranges comparison - we’re talking about modulations of electricity, not personal property. Bits flipped on hard drives owned by corporations, not physical space to store physical property.
If you don’t want your personal pictures and correspondence to be accessed by people you don’t know, you probably shouldn’t upload them anywhere outside of your home, no matter what security promises some “cloud” data company make. If you do, then for fuck’s sake learn something about encryption and strong passwords. Otherwise, keep them on your own media in your own home until you do. The world can be a scary place with other humans not acting to your expectations.
And if you don’t like what someone is speaking or writing, don’t fucking listen. It’s not the criminal justice system’s problem to waste resources prosecuting obnoxious and offensive people. If you are concerned about your children being exposed to insane assholes in chat rooms and game servers and potentially offensive content like Internet flashers on webcams and pornographic content, then exercise some parental responsibility by teaching them how to think critically and restrict their Internet usage to your specifications. No one’s forcing you to get online and it’s not the government’s job to protect you from being irresponsible and stupid.
More importantly, if you’re a government employee serving the public, what you talk about on networks we paid for is wide open to scrutiny and if someone you work with thinks you’re embezzling public funds, abusing power to drone strike US citizens without due process or spying on journalists investigating you for these kinds of things, you deserve to have the whistle blown on you. You cannot cry about privacy violations or broken secret oaths.
Regarding Guccifer, if a 40-something Romanian family man cab driver can circumvent communications in the highest echelons of power, including those in military and intelligence, what does that say about our national security and defense and the trillions we spend on it?
Also, what does that say about any purported threat to our safety from groups like terrorists?
Even if the 9/11 story we’ve been fed was true, what does that say about the NSA, NRO, DIA and so on? Perhaps the better strategy is to not interfere in the affairs of other nations to begin with, no matter how much corporate lobbying influence would otherwise dictate.
Even the post-9/11 increase in certain areas of defense spending did nothing to stop the Boston marathon bombers. I and many others argue that this was a false-flag event concocted to justify even more domestic surveillance. The rapidity of the release of the perpetrators’ identities was a dead giveaway. Some might think this is overly paranoid and places too much confidence in the competence of government. Given how frequently they lie about simple questions like “are you tapping our phones without warrants”, who’s to say any more.
By 2021, they’ll be irrelevant anyway.