Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Digital Privacy Movement's Battered Woman Syndrome


"No one is coming to save you." --Nathaniel Branden

A woman discovers her controlling boyfriend has secretly bugged her cell phone, placed hidden cameras in her bedroom, and been reading her private emails. He refuses to admit wrongdoing and apologize. He even tells her he's doing it for her own good: "Honey, I'm doing this to protect you. I'm doing this because I love you."

She should just tell him this is unacceptable and trust him to stop after she confronts him about it, right? Obviously wrong. Anyone who'd rather not end up putting the lotion on its skin before it gets the hose again would move apartments, get a new phone, change passwords, file a restraining order, and start carrying a Smith & Wesson. I'd probably adopt a couple pitbulls too.

Spearheaded by digital privacy activists, today is The Day We Fight Back against mass surveillance. By "fight back" they mean do the literally most useless thing they could possibly think of: make a phone call to nag one of the 435 most fictional characters on TV.

The banner ad they want you to put on your website to support the effort says: "Dear Internet, we’re sick of complaining about the NSA. We want new laws that curtail online surveillance." But that's exactly what they want you to do: complain about the NSA to Congress.

New laws? How is that going to work any better than the old laws we already have to curtail this kind of activity? Do I actually need to make a list of all the times the Washington regime has broken its own laws or is that finally common knowledge by now?

The regime has a prolific record of breaking its own laws, and when it does there are no repercussions other than some nagging phone calls and sign waving.

Passing one more won't do a thing to stop the NSA from continuing to break the law and lie to the public and Congress about it. How many times do our abusers have to prove this to us before we stop trusting them to end the abuse and do something about it ourselves?

Do not lobby your oppressors to grant you the freedom and privacy you want. They are obviously not interested in your freedom or privacy. Do not expect laws written on paper to protect you. Look instead to the laws that already and inexorably govern the universe: the laws of mathematics which provide a vast and wild terrain in which you can seek shelter from prying eyes and thieving hands.

Cryptography can lock the NSA out if only we have the will to implement its solutions. Ignoring the abusive regime and its completely untrustworthy promises is a shortcut to harnessing this will because at this point in history there can be no denying that nagging Congress to pass a law is not an act of defiance, but the most ultimate form of resignation, apathy, and submission.