Friday, December 13


Friday, December 13, Morning

Well, we fucking told you so.

True enough, they did. Not that anyone was listening, but they did.

I only wonder:

Does the cypherpunk crowd have any idea of how impossibly difficult it is for most people to use technology to protect what remains of their privacy? Is privacy really supposed to be retainable only by the dedicated few?

What if the whole concept of privacy is basically hopeless? Positing a world where privacy is rendered technologically and economically impossible, what would be the best option - trust the collective benevolence of the world's governments and assorted giant economic entities to take good care of our data? Throw everything so wide open that no one, least of all the govs and the corporations (and the Church, while I'm at it), has anything left to hide?

If you haven't read The Shockwave Rider, do.

(Coming soon: Brennen tries to figure out if he might be an anarchist, or if maybe all political philosophies are at heart components of the same basic lie about reality.)

And while I'm thinking about it...

The Information Awareness Office plays it so weird that one can't help suspecting that somebody on its staff might be putting us on. The Information Awareness Office's official seal features an occult pyramid topped with mystic all-seeing eye, like the one on the dollar bill. Its official motto is "Scientia Est Potentia," which doesn't mean "science has a lot of potential." It means "knowledge is power." And its official mission is to "imagine, develop, apply, integrate, demonstrate and transition information technologies, components and prototype, closed-loop, information systems that will counter asymmetric threats by achieving total information awareness."

The New Yorker

Yeah, there's some PK Dick stuff of dubious relevance opening that piece, but what's interesting to me is that this is exactly the kind of thing you see all over the place about the whole TIA concept. You can't even quantify how pseudo-Orwellian the whole thing sounds. (I say pseudo-Orwellian because it's saturated with the kind of lame box of donuts and bad coffee in some conference room with folding chairs while we scribble shit on legal pads vibe that 1984 was too dread-laden and menacing to convey.) Somebody might as well have ripped a couple pages out of The Illuminatus Trilogy. They're using a pyramid and eyeball, for @#$%sake.

"one can't help suspecting that somebody on its staff might be putting us on"

Well, aren't they? Do we really need to sound like conspiracy theorists to acknowledge that once the furor over Poindexter's little project has passed, it's going to be remarkably easy for someone to implement most of it, albeit under more innocuous names without scary symbols?

p1k3 / 2002 / 12 / 13