Future

Privacy Is Over. We Must Fight Harder Than Ever To Protect Our Civil Liberties.

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Once upon a time, privacy was everyone's default setting. Imagine an era when most letters and ledgers existed only in a single hard copy, when long-distance communication was slow and unreliable, when unpickable locks existed and cameras didn't.

These are the conditions under which America's founding documents were written. It was far from a golden age, but there were undeniable upsides to a government that had neither the technology nor the resources to know what most people were up to most of the time.

Those days are done. Privacy is dead. We have killed it, you and I.

It happened slowly and then all at once, much like falling in love. We traded away some of our privacy for convenience, with credit cards and GPS and cloud computing and toll transponders. Some of it was taken from us while we weren't paying attention, via warrantless wiretaps and IRS reporting requirements and airport searches.

I applaud the valor of those who are fighting the rearguard action on privacy, making it their business to blow up bridges and burn crops as the rest of us beat a retreat. There are still many good opportunities to slow the rate at which the state gobbles up all privately held information about our purchases and daily routines and inboxes.

I used to think there might be some way to erect a legal bulwark between the ravenous state and the vast troves of private data. I now think that is a losing battle, primarily thanks to the too-common eagerness of the firms we entrusted with our intimate information to hand it over to law enforcement without even the formality of a warrant.

So we cannot keep our secrets much longer. But there is still hope. A minimal state where civil liberties are expansively interpreted and scrupulously protected offers the best chance to preserve the sphere of individual liberty. It matters much less if the state knows everything about you when it has no cause and no right to act on that information unless a genuinely serious crime has been committed.

If speech and assembly and trade are not crimes—not punishable by the state—then the loss of privacy will be less acutely felt. This, in turn, is self-reinforcing. A state where civil liberties are robust and jealously guarded has little reason to install a vast surveillance network of its own or to force its way into private networks. There is little it can do with that information. It's a virtuous cycle.

In other words, while the fight for privacy is over, the battle for civil liberties is more important than ever.

Nowhere is this lesson more apparent than in Hong Kong this summer. For months, there has been riotous protest in the streets over a bill that would allow the extradition of suspects to, among other places, mainland China—a nation not famed for its commitment to due process.

In the Joint Declaration of 1984, after the U.K. returned Hong Kong to China, the city was promised "a high degree of autonomy." Among the protected rights of Hong-kongers: "those of the person, of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of travel, of movement, of correspondence, of strike, of choice of occupation, of academic research and of religious belief."

This list of rights is familiar to Americans and to other members of the Anglosphere and reminiscent of our own Bill of Rights. Under this regime, Hong Kong has flourished. But in recent years, China has looked for ways to assert its power and incept its authoritarian political culture into one of the freest places in the world. This summer's extradition bill was the last straw.

The technology of protest in Hong Kong is striking. The citizens in the streets wear helmets, masks, glasses. They move under cover of umbrellas, faces and gaits obscured. They buy their train tickets in cash. The getup is practical and it looks quite cool, but it is nothing less than a MacGyvered right to privacy, snatched back temporarily from the ascendant surveillance state.

Hongkongers pull down lampposts, which are rumored to contain a full suite of surveillance technology, much as Iraqis pulled down statues of Saddam Hussein in 2003 or Hungarians pulled down monuments to Stalin in 1956. Authorities in Hong Kong admit the lampposts have the hardware necessary for spying but pinkie promise that they have disabled the continuous audio and video collection, the license plate logger, and the facial recognition tools.

To protest under threat of extradition to China is especially brave. Hongkongers know well that China is ruthless in stamping out dissent, and the protesters have every reason to believe that to be identified as a participant in the demonstrations could be very dangerous in the aftermath if they do not win the day.

But it's worth noting that their demands do not include a rollback of surveillance; it's far too late for that. Instead, they are insisting on due process, transparency, and democratic reforms. What matters now is not privacy—the masks and umbrellas are a stopgap while the city is in a liminal zone—but civil liberties.

Civil liberties work together. They support and reinforce each other. The possibility that any person could be hauled in to the mainland on vague charges and never heard from again makes the fine language about all the other rights in the Joint Declaration void.

What is fascinating is that so many people in Hong Kong seem to know that and to be willing to fight for it. Some estimates place 1 in 4 Hongkongers out at the protest—a truly astonishing number when the consequences of participation could be so dire.

But civil liberties do not function as flawless interlocking clockwork, with each burnished gear clicking into place to power a free society. Instead, they act more like an ecosystem, with complex and sometimes obscure interrelations between the components, evolved over time. Sometimes you don't know about a crucial symbiosis until it's already too late. The relationship between the rights protected in America's First and Second Amendments, for instance, has long been debated. To give up a little freedom of speech, to stop protecting some gatherings, to abridge due process in the most extreme cases can sound reasonable. But it could also be the disruption that destroys a delicate balance and sets off a cascade of destruction.

Sometimes, though, the system proves surprisingly robust. This can be true even when it's planted in foreign soil or tested by a vigorous invasive species, as the example of Hong Kong's history proves.

This is why Reason is absolutist about the protection of that high degree of autonomy from the state guaranteed by Hong Kong's founding documents, and ours. This is why we return over and over to the idea that the best defense from tyranny is a small state with a limited mandate to protect against force and fraud. It is why we insist on the distinction between true crimes and victimless crimes. It is why we are constantly asking what the unintended consequences of regulation will be. It is why we favor devolution and self-governance. It is why we demand transparency and fairness from our criminal justice system.

When the state can see everything—and it can, or will be able to quite soon—the only way to preserve a free society is to shrink the government's purpose and constrain its powers.

If Hong Kong is China's best-case scenario for personal freedom, the Uighur areas in the west are the worst case. The country's ethnically separate Muslim population now resides in an open-air prison, with mandatory facial scan checkpoints, tracking software forcibly installed on every phone, and concentration camps for the noncompliant.

The Uighurs are at the terminus of authoritarianism. They have lost even the right of exit. They cannot retreat to the mountains or smash their phones or wear a mask or emigrate. Hong Kong is fighting tooth and nail to avoid the same fate. So must we.

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  1. Summary: It’s OK if Government Almighty knows a shitload about me, as long as Government Almighty keeps its filthy mitts off of my business (as long as I in turn don’t do thievery-rape-murder kinda stuff). Get rid of stupid wars on drugs, wars on me making my own charity choices, wars on dirty pictures, and wars on blowing on cheap plastic flutes w/o permission.

    In other words, limit Government Almighty to what is HAS to do… Now we won’t have to worry about Government Almighty knowing too much. It’s that simple!

    In the meantime, while Government Almighty is still obviously WAY the fuck TOO monstrously large…
    To find precise details on what NOT to do, to avoid the flute police, please see http://www.churchofsqrls.com/DONT_DO_THIS/ … This has been a pubic service, courtesy of the Church of SQRLS!

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    2. Look at what happens when you swallow propaganda. Squirrel boy thinks he owns people

      1. ToolPoopy thinks that it can read minds, then it bravely slays the straw men. Very, VERY brave, that ToolPoopy!

        1. Poor guy, will you say trade will fix this? How many years now?

          Oh wait, you’re just abusive LMFAO!

          1. ohlookMarketthugs
            October.5.2019 at 9:50 pm
            “Poor guy, will you say trade will fix this? How many years now?”

            Poor lefty ignoramus, will you say gov’t will fix this? How many years?
            Fuck off, slaver.

            1. One thing that will certainly not fix it is any form of criminal “satire,” and in this regard we should be very cautious about any kind of push for “civil liberties” that could end up limiting the government’s ability to quickly suppress any wrongful “parody” that impugns the good names and reputations of respectable academics teaching in our nation’s institutions of higher learning, especially here at NYU, which we are proud to have made into one of the most prestigious universities not only in the country, but in the entire world. See, in this regard, the documentation of America’s leading criminal “parody” case at:

              https://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

        1. Keep trying! Sorry you can’t think!

          1. ohlookMarketthugs
            October.5.2019 at 9:52 pm
            “Keep trying! Sorry you can’t think!”

            So no cite? Sorry you’re full of shit.

    3. I don’t believe that’s quite right.

      Try this:

      It’s [not harmful] if Government Almighty knows a shitload about me, as long as Government Almighty keeps its filthy mitts off of my business.

      The argument wasn’t that government serveillance was any sort of good or benign by it’s own merit, it’s that, in a sufficiently “free” society, it isn’t actively harmful.

      Minor quibble, I confess, but I think it’s an important distinction. No one is arguing for government surveillance, just ways to make it tolerable since it’s happening anyway.

  2. “don’t do thievery-rape-murder kinda stuff”

    Individually or all at once?

    1. If you do them individually, make sure that you don’t do it with a goat, on a boat, or on a boat in a moat, and you’ll probably get away with it.

      If you do them all together, make damned sure that you can get someone to testify that they SAW you not do it! But then also make sure that this testimony doesn’t come from lyin’ Donald Trump, ’cause you’ll get shot in the crossfire that will immediately erupt! (Trump fights aren’t about lies or truth, they are about pro and anti Trump).

  3. Truly unpickable locks have never existed, although one lock resisted picking for a very long time. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHMhPj-gDDY

    1. War with Hong Kong. There can only be one bastion of freedom.

      1. Strike the colors. Hong Kong wants it more.

    2. I think the anti-government violence in Hong Kong is justified considering China’s history in Tibet and the current reeducation camps for Uyghur Muslims. This weekend, the leader of Hong Kong used a state of emergency to pass a new law unilaterally. She used it to ban the wearing of masks. We are looking at a situation where Hong Kong residents could soon end up in reeducation camps if they say that freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and/or freedom of the press is important.

      In Europe, things are better, which is why it can be sufficient to get a little Harlem towards petty European tyrants:

      Harry and Meghan are fair game for criticism and ridicule. If you are going to be a woke royal who spouts eco-pieties from the pulpit of Vogue magazine and then takes a private jet to lounge about in Elton John’s house in France, you’re going to get a lot of flak. Suck it up.

    3. In local news, sometimes things just happen when leaders tell homeless people that they have a right to housing but there are not enough homes to house every homeless person. How many winters will a homeless person in New York City spend patiently waiting on line for that rent subsided home while activists near him protest home construction in Orange County NY?

      1. Nutballs at Reason film at eleven

        1. ohlookMarysback

  4. To give up a little freedom of speech, to stop protecting some gatherings, to abridge due process in the most extreme cases can sound reasonable. But it could also be the disruption that destroys a delicate balance and sets off a cascade of destruction.

    It’s always “reasonable” compromises they’re after – it’s for the children! They’re always willing to debate the “balance” between your rights and the needs of government, but they don’t acknowledge that our Founding Fathers already had this debate and the Bill of Rights is how they settled the debate. Yes, if everybody has the right to free speech and to peaceably assemble and keep and bear arms and to be free from unreasonable search and seizure, there are some bad people who will abuse that right but the alternative to that is allowing other bad men to abuse the restricting of those rights – and the second group of bad men will have guns and badges and the authority of the law. The whole problem starts when you start with the assumption that all men are flawed and cannot be trusted to be honest and wise and selfless but that somehow having their paycheck signed by the government miraculously transmutes flawed men into angels, pure and wise and honest and altruistic. Always remember when you’re advocating giving more power to government that it’s not you who is going to be wielding that sword. If you wouldn’t trust that power to your worst enemy, well, but you are.

  5. “Reason is absolutist about that protection of that high degree of autonomy from the state”
    Have you talked to some of your writers, cause yeah……not feeling it so strongly.

    1. What’s the most egregious example you can cite?

    2. Have you had your reading comprehension fluid and logical reasoning densitometer checked recently?

      Just because someone points out how horrible A is, or that B is not as horrible as A, or that A and B both have some good points, does not mean that A and B are both terrible.

        1. Nothing to do with pointing out the characteristics of reality.

    3. +1000….Same here. Definitely not feeling this vibe from Dalmia, Brown, or Gillespie.

      1. You’re not feeling an absolutist civil libertarian stance from Gillespie? Seriously?

        I’d object to that characterization of ENB as well, though I think it might be debatable there. But it’s weird as hell to me that you wouldn’t pick out like Suderman or maybe Welch before you’d say ENB or Gillespie. The curmudgeon in the jacket is like half a step behind J.D. “Set everyone who runs for office on fire” Tuccille.

  6. “the only way to preserve a free society is to shrink the government’s purpose and constrain its powers”

    Unfortunately, that’s never going to happen. All over the world right now there are people everywhere demanding new constraints on freedom yelling “something must be done!”. The media are the number one culprits. Levithon never goes on a diet.

    1. Well, it lost both its “a”s.

  7. This is why Reason is absolutist about the protection of that high degree of autonomy from the state guaranteed by Hong Kong’s founding documents, and ours.

    And yet completely blind because of the back door that Reason/commenters are 100% oblivious about and even cheerlead for:

    I now think that is a losing battle, primarily thanks to the too-common eagerness of the firms we entrusted with our intimate information to hand it over to law enforcement without even the formality of a warrant.

    1. It takes a lefty ignoramus of JFree’s caliber to find a strawman of this size:
      “And yet completely blind because of the back door that Reason/commenters are 100% oblivious about and even cheerlead for:
      I now think that is a losing battle, primarily thanks to the too-common eagerness of the firms we entrusted with our intimate information to hand it over to law enforcement without even the formality of a warrant.”

      Now JFree, should I embarrass you right now, or do you want to make a *slight* correction to that imbecilic comment?

      1. JFree supports the excess protections that have stopped individuals, like Meagan murphy, from suing corporations for contract issues. He seems ignorant to this point. He has also openly called for the prosecution of trump for wide interpretation of laws. He also does not get the irony of that.

        1. He also, as a lefty ignoramus, assumes that allowing people to make fools of themselves is promoting that activity; stemming, I’m sure from his scumbag assumption that HE knows what people should do.
          Hint, idiot posting as JFree: Accepting that some people will OD on heroin is not promoting OD’ing. Using the sledge-hammer of gov’t intervention is NEVER a better alternative and even a cave-man understands. The ODs continue and the gov’t tends to kill innocent bystanders as an added benefit of your approach.
          Think real hard; maybe you’ll get it. Maybe; you’re pretty stoooopid
          But that sort of

  8. OT:
    “People in this California town received $500 a month for free — here’s how they spent it”
    […]
    “SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The first data from an experiment in a California city where needy people get $500 a month from the government shows they spend most of it on things such as food, clothing and utility bills.”
    https://www.marketwatch.com/story/people-in-this-california-town-received-500-a-month-for-free-heres-how-they-spent-it-2019-10-04

    Well, not quite:
    “People in the program get $500 each month on a debit card, which helps researchers track their spending. But 40% of the money has been withdrawn as cash, making it harder for researchers to know how it was used. They fill in the gaps by asking people how they spent it.”
    You can be sure Max isn’t telling the gal with the laptop that he fenced the clothes and spent it all on blow.

    And then:
    “Matt Zwolinski, director of the Center for Ethics, Economics and Public Policy at the University of San Diego, said people aren’t likely to change their behavior if they know the money they are getting will stop after a year and a half. That’s one reason why he says the experiment is “really more about story telling than it is about social science.”
    […]
    “What you get out of a program like this is some fairly compelling anecdotes from people,” he said. “That makes for good public relations if you are trying to drum up interest in a basic income program, but it doesn’t really tell you much about what a basic income program would do if implemented on a long-term and large-scale basis.”
    Regardless, fuck off, slaver; don’t tax me to hand over my money as ‘free’ to anyone.

    1. 40% of the money has been withdrawn as cash, making it harder for researchers to know how it was used.

      Hookers and blow. Duh.

    2. They are always soooo willing and eager to experiment with other people’s money. Strange how their own money is personal and private and not for sharing. I have a neighbor who is as money grubbing as anybody else, but he’ll gladly deliver prescriptions and food to people who are snowed in, not even charging gas money. I bet their fancy experiments don’t allow for that kind of absurdity. They probably chalk it up to mental illness.

      1. It’s not even an experiment at this point. The idea of UBI is batting zero with multiple studies having concluded.

        1. I think it was Nixon that came up with the idea, but if you give everyone 1K a month you remove the bureaucracy and it would be cheaper. It’s costing us a fortune to just give welfare. Just cutting checks to all costs less. Funny how things work.

          1. I think it was Nixon that came up with the idea, but if you give everyone 1K a month you remove the bureaucracy and it would be cheaper.

            It’s much older than Nixon and the problem is the falsehood as stated and includes some unstated false assumptions. Simply cutting checks doesn’t make the bureaucracy go away and giving someone $100 to spend isn’t the same as someone earning $100 and spending it.

    3. Hilariously, no one appears to have saved or invested the money. I’m sure they manipulated the results so that it looks like they gave everyone grocery money or money to keep grandma’s prescriptions filled but that exposes the projection; they don’t want people living comfortably with an income stream independent of the federal dote. They want them paycheck to paycheck, afraid to leave Stockton and afraid to give up free shit lest they be forced to choose between Grandma’s prescriptions and groceries.

  9. “I used to think there might be some way to erect a legal bulwark between the ravenous state and the vast troves of private data.”

    There are only two reasons why anyone ever does anything.

    1) Because they want to.

    2) Because they can.

    During the Red Scare, the government would have violated our privacy much as they did in the wake of the War on Terror. They certainly wanted to. The reason they didn’t was because tracking the phone calls of hundreds of millions of Americans was both technologically impossible and cost prohibitive. Once it became both possible and financially feasible, during the War on Terror, the government did it–and the Fourth Amendment didn’t stop them.

    The American people were entirely capable of stopping the government from doing this. The American people didn’t stop the government from violating our privacy–because they didn’t want to. Some of them said we only opposed Bush the Lesser because we supported terrorism. Some of them said we only opposed Barack Obama because we were racists. Whatever the reason, the American people didn’t make this an issue–because they cared about other things more.

    We could fix this.

    We don’t want to.

    That’s the reality.

    Our job as libertarians should be about persuading the American people to care more about their rights, and that’s why it’s so sad to see libertarians denigrate their fellow Americans for trying to see what they want implemented in policy–as so often happens around here. Within the proper purview of democracy, we should be encouraging people to press for their policy preferences–not telling them that their opinions shouldn’t matter.

    1. “We could fix this.
      We don’t want to.
      That’s the reality.”

      I disagree. I think the dragon has grown far too large for us to fight it. Even the last bastions of non-collectivism are barely hanging on. “Freedom” is a joke we tell on a holiday we mock when we ‘celebrate’ it. Short of civil war, we may resist, but we will continue to lose ground.

      1. Please take note of the following argument.

        Perhaps the most easily refuted false belief of the trolls who come here is the idea that where our rights only exist in the abstract, the law is real. In this formulation, the only reason we have rights is because they’re protected in the Constitution or some other “real” law. That is not the case, and it has never been the case.

        There are places in this country where people still believe that the right to consume marijuana only exists if the law says so–despite all the evidence to the contrary. Only recently have some state governments become disabused of the delusional fantasy that they decide whether people have this right. For 50 years we threw people in prison by the millions, squandered trillions of dollars, lived in total denial of this rights–and for 50 years, people still continued to exercise their right consume cannabis anyway.

        One way to tell fantasy from reality is that when fantasy and reality collide, it’s the fantasy that disappears. There was a time in this country where the law propagated a delusional fantasy that black people didn’t have the right to attend the same public schools as white people or sit in the front of a public bus. That delusional fantasy was no less of one for being enshrined in the law, and when people like Rosa Parks and MLK put that fantasy onto a collision course with reality, the fantasy of the law disappeared and the reality remained.

        The list of examples of the law being a delusion is eternal, but the most poignant example is probably the story of communism. It didn’t matter what Chavez, Mao, or Stalin said. It didn’t matter what the law said. The laws against private property were delusional, and the people of Venezuela, China, and the Soviet Union had to deal with the reality anyway–no matter what the law said. What makes the story of communism so poignant in this regard is that the failure of the law to be reality was not because Mao and Stalin didn’t work hard enough to enforce the laws against private property. Those laws could hardly have been harsher or more widely enforced.

        It should be noted that this problem of the law being a delusion and people’s rights the reality is also at work–even when the laws in question are protecting our rights. Here in the U.S., it’s especially easy to get confused between the law and reality because the verbiage of things like the First Amendment so closely approximates the reality of our rights. I’m here to tell you, however, that if the First Amendment were repealed tomorrow, the government would still suffer the real consequences of violating our rights anyway.

        The Roman Empire of the 1st Century didn’t give Jews an exemption on bowing to an effigy of the emperor because of the First Amendment. Rather, they did it because they feared the negative consequences of making Jews bow to an idol. The religious fanatics who overran the Persian empire during the Muslim conquest didn’t give the Zoroastrians a pass for not being “People of the Book” because of the First Amendment. They did it because they feared the real consequences of violating those people’s rights. If having a fundamentalist Christian president became necessary in order for Christians to exercise their rights, many more of them would vote primarily on the basis of religion than do now–because there was no longer a First Amendment.

        Point being, if the Fourth Amendment were routinely violated and those violations were routinely ignored, our right to privacy would still exist–and its importance would still be a function of how many people care about it and how deeply they care about their privacy. The solution, therefore, is not to denigrate them as racist for being white, stupid for not wanting to sacrifice their standard of living on the altar of global warming, xenophobic for not wanting their country overrun by a million bogus asylum seekers a year, or unsophisticated for not wanting to bend to the will of elitists who think their personal preferences are better than everyone else’s.

        The solution is to persuade them to care more about their privacy than they do now. Jesus started out with no media except word of mouth and 12 guys–and one of them was a traitor. What you say to your family, friends, and coworkers is far more powerful than you realize–which is why dictators everywhere are scared to death of what their people are saying to each other. You are still capable of making choices for yourself to protect your own privacy. I strongly suggest choosing to learn about and using the tools that are available–and persuading the people you know to do likewise.

        1. For me, the most egregious problem is these firms openly LYING about what they’re doing.

          They sell Android devices, give you options to turn off certain tracking things…but STILL track you. They listen in on your kids when they say they are not doing so. This happens a lot.

          And NOBODY is punished for it. There is no reason for them to not do it.

          1. “They sell Android devices” it isn’t just Android that does this. Apple does this too, even when you dig into the dungeon basements of their settings and disable the few tracking options they give you they still collect the data. No it is only for “quality” purposes rather than advertising.

          2. I talked about the e foundation below, but because of the one-link limit, I didn’t include this:

            https://e.foundation/products/

            You can use their version of Android without using any Google services at all.

            You can download and install their software for free on unlocked phones that I’ve seen on New Egg for about $85.

            You have choices. There are upsides and downsides, but the shit we take from Google is the shit we choose to take.

            1. I’ve not come across this before. It looks like it’s just forking LineageOS. Old versions of Lineage anyway.

              It’s interesting but there is a lot more information on their site about their philosophy and who is on their board than how they actually differentiate themselves from those other two flavors of Android. That I have to dig through their git page to see whats different would normally be a red flag coming from such a pretentious web page but once there it gives the impression that the type of people this is geared toward are probably capable of making these changes to Lineage OS on their own.

            2. Not many people are aware of alternatives such as this. They assume the big boys are the only way. And unless they’re “tech savvy” they’ll probably shy away from dealing with the extra hassle and reduced usefulness. Also, you have to trust that this software is as secure as they say unless you’re a programming expert. This thing uses Telegram. Do a search on Telegram security issues. It’s not so great.

              1. “Not many people are aware of alternatives such as this.”

                In fairness, one of them just came out of beta a week and a half ago, and the other one is still in beta.

                We have more choices than either Apple, Google, or Elizabeth Warren, but people aren’t about to hear about the alternatives from them.

                We probably need to tell them about it.

            3. Ken….adding to your ccomment. If you use the ‘Brave’ browser, there is definitely an enhanced layer of privacy protection. After I read about what Google does with our data, I looked for (and found) and alternative.

        2. If people are exercising their natural rights, most of them are probably not high profile nobles, but rather renegades (as Thaddeus Russell calls them). These are people who have been largely disengaged from politics, or at least posturing, since before the US existed. They have pretty much done what they wanted, guided by their own cultural ethics more than written law.

          A small slice of deliberate Libertarians will not preserve natural rights, but a ground swell of annoyed renegades just might.

          1. The US was founded by a small slice of deliberate libertarians fanning the flames of an angry renegade ground swell. So I think it forms a useful template for the future.

        3. “The solution is to persuade them to care more about their privacy than they do now.”

          But that’s not a solution. Consider Ross Ulbricht, AKA The Dread Pirate Roberts. He’s a believer in libertarian capitalism and about as computer savvy as they come. To ensure privacy he used the Tor browser and Bitcoin. It didn’t work. He’s now in prison serving a life sentence. All the other hackers doing time will attest to the same thing, these are not solutions, They won’t save you from prison or surveillance.

        4. Just since you brought up the history.

          The first Jewish-Roman war began as a tax revolt. The Romans in turn ransacked the Temple. This really pissed some people off and the zealots began a revolt. The Zealots were pretty nasty people actually. The revolt lasted for eight years and the Romans eventually prevailed. The Temple was destroyed.

          The last holdout was at Masada by the Dead Sea, a tourist destination today. It took 10,000 soldiers a long time to defeat the remaining 900 holdouts. Eventually the Romans built a earth rampart to reach the top. Great builders they were. When they got there they were all dead by suicide.

          Just mentioning it. History can tell us a lot. Excess taxes resulted in all of those unexpected consequences. As a side note the destruction of the Temple resulted in the rise of rabbinic Judaism, the writing of the Mishna and Talmud, which shaped Judaism to what it is today.

          1. How did the Romans get there in the first place?

            The Greeks sacrificed a pig on the alter in Solomon’s Temple, prohibited Sabbath keeping, prohibited circumcision, and, perhaps worst of all, they installed a statue of Zeus in Solomon’s Temple.

            It was very clear to the Romans that if they didn’t want a total revolt, they should at least suffer the Jews their religious practices–including their extreme reluctance to bow to idols.

            This is why Pliny the Younger wrote to Trajan asking what to do with Christians who refused to sacrifice to the Roman gods and show reverence towards the Roman gods–aka idol worship.

            My understanding is that the Jews were given a pass on that–because the Romans knew that making Jews reverence idols was more trouble than it was worth. Meanwhile, Jews had started differentiating themselves from Christians and Christians from Jews–meaning that Christians were no longer exempt if they weren’t Jews.

            Point being, even a government as authoritarian as the Roman Empire in Judea understood that there were negative consequences associated with violating the religious rights of Jews.

            As Christianity spread throughout the Empire, it became increasingly clear, through later persecutions, that there were negative consequences associated with violating the religious rights of Christians, as well–until Constantine had a vision of a cross realized that if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

            The chaos of the Thirty Years War only came to an end with the Peace of Westphalia, which made it so that the religion of the many individual states that made up the Holy Roman Empire were no longer bound to follow the religion of the emperor (freedom from establishment) and individuals under the princes were free to practice their own religion–regardless of the religion of their local prince (free exercise).

            It’s the same problem ISIS ran into setting up the Islamic State. If you make it clear to Shia Muslims that they can only practice their religion if their political leader isn’t a Sunni of the ISIS persuasion, then they will resist the ISIS government in every way they can and they may even fight ISIS to the death.

            Here in the U.S., the consequences aren’t as extreme because the violations aren’t as extreme, but the results are pretty much the same as they were during the Thirty Years War–even if they aren’t as intense. If we don’t want people to pick their leaders based primarily on their religion, then we must not use the government to violate their religious rights. Ignoring people’s religious rights comes with negative consequences that can be endured but cannot be avoided.

            It’s always the same–cross culturally and throughout history.

            1. Yup.

              “Conquering the world on horseback is easy; it is dismounting and governing that is hard.” Ghengis Khan

              A lesson we should have learned before Iraq.

        5. One way to tell fantasy from reality is that when fantasy and reality collide, it’s the fantasy that disappears.

          Some libertarians have argued the informational privacy has always been a fiction or fallacy. Privacy, anonymity, secrecy are frequently conflated and ideas like permanence and encryption strength are rarely mentioned in such discussions. The ‘right to privacy’ is frequently slewed as a ‘right to keep others ignorant’.

          Property rights and information rights are intertwined but not (currently) 100% intractably. If I have to choose between property rights and perfect secrecy/anonymity I choose property rights. If I have to give up property rights or privacy rights, I give up privacy rights. If someone learns of libertarianism and goes off advocating for *either* property rights or privacy rights, I would prefer property rights.

    2. Absolutely on target. Any victory will come from persuading people that they have rights and that they matter.

      Ask the average person what a libertarian is and i tend to get “aren’t they just Republicans”, “you mean the legalize pot guys?” or my favorite “those cooky liberals?”.

      The principles in libertarianism are not aided by the libertarian party or the policies presented by many libertarians. It’s counter intuitive for people that not doing something is often better than doing something, no matter how stupid it seems.

    3. You tell yourself a nice story, but you’ve said otherwise. Keep trying!

      1. ohlookMarketthugs
        October.5.2019 at 10:00 pm
        “You tell yourself a nice story, but you’ve said otherwise. Keep trying!”

        As a fucking lefty ignoramus, you have yet to tell any believable story.
        Don’t bother trying further; fuck off and die where you won’t stink up the place.

  10. It boggles the mind how readily people mistrust “big business” or “big tech” but can turn around and give “big government” their full trust. I know too many people who believe governments are benevolent protectors but business are evil exploiters despite both exploiting technology in similar ways. They care less about the what than the why. Seems the phenomenon of “hate crimes” and “hate speech” have accomplished something after all. They’ve shifted focus to intent of action rather than the result.

    When it comes to surveillance few people I know realize much less care about the degree to which they’re being monitored. Some are upset that companies can profit from it but not that the data gets turned over to the government which uses it to “protect” them. Many I’ve talked to don’t understand what’s happening in Hong Kong or why it matters. It seems difficult for people to comprehend that surveillance, especially amid unchecked government power, isn’t conducive to the freedom they believe they enjoy. All of the concepts here, liberty, freedom, surveillance, oppression are all abstract to them. They live in the land of the free after all and they’ve done nothing wrong.

    The populace cares more about being lauded or consoled on social media for their manufactured drama of the day and simply don’t value privacy until losing it affects them directly. After all, what have they got to hide…

    1. You may not have noticed. But those who openly advocate for big government also advocate for big tech. They happen to be largely on the left.

      1. Our current resident in the White House is rather friendly to Big Government, but has nothing nice to say about Big Tech. His highest-polling blue team challengers are even bigger fans of Bigger Government, and even bigger foes of that dastardly Big Tech. The current front runner has made trust busting their stubborn asses a centerpiece of her campaign. So I’d love an example of anyone who’s in or likely to be in a seat of power here in the US actually advocating for both.

    2. And the same people who’ll threaten census workers will happily spill all the details of their life for Facebook†.

      If you stop expecting people to behave rationally, and understand that even “smart” people behave emotionally and are just better at after-the-fact justifications, this stuff makes a lot more sense.

      There’s a reason “bread and circuses” is a Meme-As-Old-As-Time.
      ________
      †Which just goes to show that the government could probably out-source census-taking to Facebook and get better data out of it.

  11. Reason might consider doing a story on the Librem 5.

    Anybody else remember that troll who came here a couple weeks ago and said I was an idiot for mentioning the Librem 5–because it’s vaporware?

    Yeah, well that “vaporware” started shipping last week.

    https://puri.sm/posts/first-librem-5-smartphones-are-shipping/

    My big downside on the Librem 5 is that it doesn’t use Android Apps. For plenty of people, using Linux apps will be more than sufficient–and maybe even better. For others, there’s my preferred implementation, the e Foundation, which is already shipping phones in Europe. You can download the software and load it yourself for a wide range of unlocked phones, as well.

    The libertarian capitalist solution is often consumer choice, and privacy is no exception.

    1. This won’t take off until we get more progressive web apps.

      But Google and Apple aren’t stupid: they are going to try and sabotage that, making lame excuses like “we need to protect our users from content/app X”.

    2. I love the concept of the Librem 5 but the reality is much less impressive. I don’t begrudge them not using android apps, i just wish they hadn’t chosen to use lower grade, 3rd tier hardware.

      The concept is a step in the right direction but the reality is several steps backward in phone capability.

      It does deserve more press but right now it’s less useful than a first gen chromebook.

      1. With the e foundation, you can load it on your own unlocked phone–and you can use any Android app you want.

        https://e.foundation/products/

        1. “and you can use any Android app you want” isn’t entirely true. You can use “nearly” any Android app you want.

          1. It is something I’ll be keeping an eye on though.

          2. Which Google app can’t you use on e Foundation and why?

            You can load the Google app store on it if you want.

            Are you talking about hardware limitations?

        2. Out of curiosity why wouldn’t you just use LineageOS or LineageOS for microG with Fdroid? They’d seem to offer the same thing in a more polished package for more devices…

          1. e foundation’s version of Android is based on LineageOS.

            Ubuntu is based on Debian.

            e foundation’s Android is to Lineage as Ubuntu is to Debian.

            1. I believe all the phones that are compatible with Lineage are also compatible with e foundation’s os.

              e foundation is going for a few things here.

              On the one hand, they’re gunning for a mass market audience rather than hobbyists and hackers that are running Lineage. They’re even selling complete phones with e foundation’s OS already installed. They’re already for sale in Europe.

              https://e.foundation/e-pre-installed-refurbished-smartphones/

              On the other hand, they’re replacing all of Google services with services that are Google free–including their own App Store. Does Lineage provide e mail, weather, maps, etc., and an App store that are all Google free?

              It’s an implementation that’s intended to be as non-Google specific as anyone wants to be and is still aimed at your grandmother.

              1. I get what you’re saying but I think you’re a little off the mark here.

                First off they’re more of Mint, distro based on a better distro based on a better distro…

                Secondly a devices firmware is device specific so each model of phone requires it’s own ROM. Being based off of lineage means the foundations are there if they wanted to build those ROM’s but it doesn’t appear they do. They’re also operating generations behind Lineage and selling older hardware. What they should be doing is automating builds based on LineageOS for microG then leverage that wider device base.

                The “Google free” part is the integration with MicroG which you can just get LineageOS for microG and get that minus the hokey UI skin for more phones right now. It looks like a bad copy of a cheap Chinese knockoff of an android skin trying to look like a bad copy of iOS.

                Building and maintaining their own app store for their own ROM is a big nope for me. There are preinstalled apps in Lineage but they’re kept to a minimum as apps included in the ROM are permanent. LineageOS is google free, LineageOS with microg has the same underlying play services replacement e uses. combine that with fdroid and you have a better solution than this.

                The only way they can be said to be going for a mass market rather than hobbyist is by selling reconditioned phones with their ROM installed. Their preinstalled packages aren’t meant for the privacy centered user but for the tech illiterate person scared into buying their device.

                Looking at their offering it’s like they set out to do what was already being done only they wanted to do it harder, with less technical aptitude and in a less appealing way.

                I do appreciate you bringing this up as it’s something I haven’t seen before but the more i look into them the more convinced i am that there are better, less shady seeming offerings already out there. They just aren’t hocking second hand hardware to distribute it.

                1. “Being based off of lineage means the foundations are there if they wanted to build those ROM’s but it doesn’t appear they do. They’re also operating generations behind Lineage and selling older hardware. “

                  https://gitlab.e.foundation/e/wiki/en/wikis/devices-list

                  The device list is compatible with all the same old phones with which Lineage OS is compatible, but because they cover the same legacy phones that Lineage covers doesn’t mean they don’t also do newer phones.

                  One of the phones they’re selling with the OS preinstalled now is the Samsung Galaxy S9. It was first introduced by Samsung in March of 2018.

                  I appreciate that newer phones have faster processors, better cameras, etc., but these are not ancient phones. Again, just because you can install it on an older phone doesn’t mean the OS is limited to older phones. There certainly isn’t anything I want Android to do on a phone that’s newer than the Galaxy S9 that would be worth giving up the privacy features I get with e foundation’s OS.

      2. lower grade, 3rd tier hardware

        And charge $700 for it.

        1. I appreciate that some people might want a better camera.

          It takes calls, gives me directions, checks my email, and does texts and IM, right?

          I appreciate that people who are more concerned about privacy might be willing to pony up more, but I also understand that when a hardware venture first comes out, their costs tend to be higher and then drift lower as they achieve more scale.

          Still, $700 for a privacy centered phone–without a plan–isn’t completely out pf whack with the unlocked phone market.

          At any rate, there are now more choices available than getting screwed by Apple, getting screwed by Google, or being anti-social, and I hope Librem is wildly successful–and that means wildly profitable at first.

          1. It isn’t about any one component. Oneplus makes better hardware for less. The replace-ability of the components is something i find highly appealing. Its when you take the entirety of the hardware that you see it isn’t anywhere near the hyped levels in terms of performance, price/value or any other metric. I understand they’re trying to avoid proprietary blobs but they might as well have picked up a 5 year old phone and said “hey, lets put Debian on this” only with replaceable modems and hardware kill switches no one actually needs.

            I can’t help but think they’d have been better off white boxing better hardware from another supplier and focusing on a Debian/Android hybrid as a better first effort. Prompting a user to ask whether they want to install some proprietary software like most Linux distros do with NVIDIA would be a good first step.

            Instead they shot for the moon but didn’t even reach orbit.

    3. “The libertarian capitalist solution is often consumer choice, and privacy is no exception.”

      Except there’s no choice. Even the crumbs of meta-data you unavoidably leave behind are enough for a determined surveiller to pin you down. And that’s assuming your system isn’t compromised from the get go before any encryption is implemented.

      1. mtrueman
        October.5.2019 at 5:07 pm
        “Except there’s no choice….”

        You are full of shit.

        1. Nevertheless, you don’t get to choose whether the government spies on you or not. In fact the more effort you put into covering your tracks, the more interest our spies have in your comings and goings.

          1. The point of stuff like this is simply to increase the cost of mass surveillance. The US government has sufficient resources that if they want to take an interest in your business, specifically, they can penetrate any level of ultra-paranoid security. But that’s expensive, and time consuming, and they can’t do it to everyone everywhere at all times. If you raise the cost of just passively spying on people, they must then make decisions and tradeoffs about who they surveil and how deeply. The net result is more privacy for regular folks.

  12. Once upon a time, privacy was everyone’s default setting. Imagine an era when most letters and ledgers existed only in a single hard copy, when long-distance communication was slow and unreliable, when unpickable locks existed and cameras didn’t.

    Such an era never existed in human history. When “long-distance communication was slow and unreliable”, people lived in towns and neighborhoods where everybody knew everybody’s business, and if people didn’t like you, they made your life a living hell; you could move, but it was hard.

    The difference between that and today is not the lack of privacy (that never really existed in the form you imagine), but the collection of information by government.

    1. The permanent collection of precise data is a bit different from gossip and hearsay.

      1. The permanent collection of precise data is a bit different from gossip and hearsay.

        The argument the article made was that we had privacy then and don’t have privacy now. That’s nonsense. Humans have never had privacy. The fact that the ways privacy used to be invaded are different from today is so blatantly obvious that you have to be a bit dense to believe that needs restating.

        The threat to privacy today that’s different from the past is not that we used to have privacy but don’t anymore (which is false), nor is it that data used to be imprecise but now it’s precise(which is true but an improvement), the threat is that now the government has access to all that data.

  13. “people still continued to exercise their right consume cannabis anyway.”

    Except for all of the people dead or imprisoned.

    “There was a time in this country where the law propagated a delusional fantasy that black people didn’t have the right to attend the same public schools as white people or sit in the front of a public bus.”

    It was hardly a fantasy, people were killed and imprisoned.

    “The list of examples of the law being a delusion is eternal, but the most poignant example is probably the story of communism. It didn’t matter what Chavez, Mao, or Stalin said. It didn’t matter what the law said.”

    It very much did. Hundreds of millions of dead and imprisoned people got that way using government.

    “The Roman Empire of the 1st Century didn’t give Jews an exemption on bowing to an effigy of the emperor because of the First Amendment. Rather, they did it because they feared the negative consequences of making Jews bow to an idol. The religious fanatics who overran the Persian empire during the Muslim conquest didn’t give the Zoroastrians a pass for not being “People of the Book” because of the First Amendment. They did it because they feared the real consequences of violating those people’s rights. If having a fundamentalist Christian president became necessary in order for Christians to exercise their rights, many more of them would vote primarily on the basis of religion than do now–because there was no longer a First Amendment.

    Point being, if the Fourth Amendment were routinely violated and those violations were routinely ignored, our right to privacy would still exist–and its importance would still be a function of how many people care about it and how deeply they care about their privacy. The solution, therefore, is not to denigrate them as racist for being white, stupid for not wanting to sacrifice their standard of living on the altar of global warming, xenophobic for not wanting their country overrun by a million bogus asylum seekers a year, or unsophisticated for not wanting to bend to the will of elitists who think their personal preferences are better than everyone else’s.”

    This is easily refuted by the current events when you look at the US v pretty much every other country. Gun rights, freedom of speech, etc… I see the angle you’re trying for here but i think you’re very much missing the reality of the world. The Courts have been dancing around the Bill of Rights for a long time but at least they have to dance around it. There are a lot of countries that haven’t had to and have gone straight to tyranny.

    You keep using the word ‘fantasy.’ Fantasies specifically don’t involve realities. Tyranny is very much a reality across the world right now. That tyranny, even when sanctioned by governments won’t just go away because a small percentage of the population wishes it away.

    “The solution is to persuade them to care more about their privacy than they do now…. I strongly suggest choosing to learn about and using the tools that are available–and persuading the people you know to do likewise.”

    Again, I believe this will only slow down the inevitable dictatorship/monarchy to come. You/we don’t have the resources to fight a war that we’ve already lost. The public schools aren’t going away. Gun restrictions aren’t going away. The mainstream media, social media, every bullshit alphabet agency… none of those things are going to go away. You can accuse them of being fantasies all you want, but they are very real and they will very much end you if they wish.

    1. You keep mentioning the negative consequences of violating people’s rights–as if that somehow suggests our rights aren’t what’s real? If our rights were a fantasy–independent of the law–then the negative consequences of violating them wouldn’t be so consistent.

      Newton’s Law is Force = Mass x Acceleration. Because people sometimes die for ignoring that law doesn’t mean it isn’t real. To the contrary, because there are negative consequences associated with violating that law, people come to learn to abide by it–regardless of whether they’re even willing to acknowledge its existence. They may not even know Newton’s Law, but they learn to avoid jumping off of cliffs anyway for fear of the consequences.

      What I showed above is that when society ignores our rights in the law, they suffer the negative consequences of violating those rights anyway. That those consequences are more or less consistent across cultures, legal systems, and laws shows that they’re real–just like F=ma.

      Our warnings about suffering the negative consequences of violating people’s property rights are just as real when we’re warning people about the negatives consequences of violating the rights that are protected by the First Amendment or the Fourth Amendment. It’s important to understand that society will suffer the consequences of violating our rights–even if those amendments were repealed.

      China started respecting property rights more than they did before because they tired of suffering the negative consequences of violating those rights so spectacularly. China’s problems in Hong Kong right now are largely consistent with and attributable to the violation of other rights. The same thing happened with the Drug War. The same thing happened with segregation. The same thing happened with religious freedom and the Thirty Years War.

      The government cannot routinely violate our rights without suffering the negative consequences, and societies that are much more oppressive than our own have reformed because they grew so weary of suffering those consequences. Take heart.

  14. Just wait until viable quantum computers become mainstream. Say goodbye to encryption and any computer privacy forever.

    1. That’s bullshit. Quantum computers (even if they ever can be made to work) can’t break arbitrary encryption. They may be able to break some public key systems, but we already have replacements for those.

      1. “Quantum computers (even if they ever can be made to work) can’t break arbitrary encryption.”

        Do you mean a one-time pad will still be safe? How about RSA and other systems based on ‘hard math problems’? In any case won’t quantum computers require massive cooling systems putting them out of reach for all but the truly wealthy?

        1. “Do you mean a one-time pad will still be safe? How about RSA and other systems based on ‘hard math problems’? In any case won’t quantum computers require massive cooling systems putting them out of reach for all but the truly wealthy?”

          Di you hope that posting the obvious would make you look like other than obvious-man, bullshitter?

          1. Yes. I think. But this effort is unworthy of a spam flag. Try again.

        2. No, I mean symmetric encryption is not susceptible to quantum computers. For public key algorithms, there are algorithms that are probably also safe from quantum computers. Look up “Post-quantum cryptography” on Wikipedia.

          Some current attempts at quantum computers require very low temperatures, but others don’t. Nobody knows how to build a usable quantum computer, so we don’t know whether they can be built cheaply.

          1. There are no current prototypes for quantum computing that aren’t in the helium cryogenic regime (~4 K). There aren’t even any proposed designs that operate hotter than that, other than a few designs intended to test concepts at a lower cost (and nobody really expects those to do any work). Maintaining coherence is an enormous challenge without having to contend with thermal noise – there’s not even a theoretical basis for a large qubit system cohering at nitrogen temps (~90 k) much less anything higher. Certainly not long enough to do any useful work.

            Which is to say: I agree that knowing its price tag to precision before it’s built is impossible, but the theory tells you what’s possible, and the engineering should give you a decent order-of-magnitude estimate. Current best guess for any commercial quantum computing that functions in the near future, assuming there are economies of scale, would be something like tens of millions per system, plus several million in operating costs per year.

            It’s also unclear that those systems would be better than conventional supercomputing clusters except at a few narrow, specialized tasks. As far as breaking encryption goes, they’d probably be good, but not good enough to end privacy everywhere. Their processing time would just be too expensive for mass surveillance. And this assumes that we manage to conquer enough of the current (very hard) limiting problems to produce a quantum computer that’s useful at all, which is currently an open question.

    2. Meh.

      The problem with encryption is that it isn’t the weakest link. Once something is under serious scrutiny, there’s basically always a way around it (normally taking the person with the password into a camera-free room and a towel full of oranges).

      So seeing as encryption already only stops casual inquiries, and not serious inquiries, quantum computing won’t really change things.

  15. Shame to see the cute little Yalie anarchist age into center-right statism.

  16. The biggest threat to liberty in the West comes strictly from the progressive left.

    Keep focus and piss on them.

    The end.

    1. “The biggest threat to liberty in the West comes strictly from the progressive left.”

      When you’re feeling threatened by the progressive left, it’s helpful to consider Syriza, perhaps the most radical bunch to be elected to power in a generation. They completely caved to the neo-liberal agenda, imposing greater austerity on the public than previously seen. They were no threat to Liberty and, more to the point, they were no threat to Greek’s creditors.

      1. “When you’re feeling threatened by the progressive left, it’s helpful to consider Syriza, perhaps the most radical bunch to be elected to power in a generation. They completely caved to the neo-liberal agenda, imposing greater austerity on the public than previously seen. They were no threat to Liberty and, more to the point, they were no threat to Greek’s creditors.”

        So you simply agree with the earlier post with a lot bf bullshit tossed in?
        Or did you intend to make another point and bullshitted your way out of it?

        1. I’ll leave it to you to figure out.

  17. No doubt credit cards, GPS, etc., have contributed to a loss of privacy, but I would argue that the greatest 21st century loss of privacy is the result of so-called “social media.” When people post every trivial aspect of their day-to-day lives, how can they possibly expect privacy?

    1. When people post every trivial aspect of their day-to-day lives, how can they possibly expect privacy?

      You do know social media is an option, not an obligation, right? Even if you’re in one of those careers where you’re expecting to have a presence, it’s not hard to separate work and life.

      Which is to say… you’re right, if you share everything on social media, expecting “privacy” is weird. But that’s a choice people make, and many people choose to not use social media.

    2. I have never had a twitter account, nor Facebook, nor any of these other media of the social persuasion. There’s no law requiring you to reveal this information about yourself – most people seem to place a higher value on easily sharing their lives with their friends and family than they do on concealing information about themselves from strangers (or the government).

      I am far more concerned about credit cards and GPS monitoring than I am about social media, as those two are a lot harder to opt out of. (Not saying it can’t be done, but at the moment it’s rather painful).

  18. Any sense of passive privacy was a short-lived phenomena. For millennia, people lived in family-tribal-village groups, most living and dying within a few miles of their birthplace and with the same few hundred (or fewer) people. In these environments everyone knew everything about each other. Imagine eating, sleeping, and screwing in the communal long house.

    If privacy depends on anonymity, then for a few hundred years, some people lived in large enough cities that they might have enjoyed some privacy, but again not in the universal sense others are whining about missing now.

    So privacy is a lost cause. Focus your energy on constraining what others can do to restrict your actions. Its not that the founders had privacy; its that the founders had a more limited government.

    1. If privacy depends on anonymity, then for a few hundred years, some people lived in large enough cities that they might have enjoyed some privacy […]

      Point of order, Rome first hit a million residents somewhere around 100 B.C.E.. City size roughly plateaued from there until about 200/300 years ago, where industrialization made the importing of food much easier, allowing city size to balloon to our current metropolises.

      Which isn’t to say I disagree with your overall point (we’re just coming up on an era in which more people live in cities then rural areas, though we’ve delayed this point by redefining “city” and “rural”), just that while it’s been true-enough for most people, big cities are older then most people think.

    2. While we do say “Free as in beer or free as in speech?” it is still important or key to keep in mind that the two ideas aren’t related. Even when the whole tribe lived under one wigwam, hunters spent lots of time on the trail, farmers and shepherds spent time in the field, and soldiers spent lots of time on the wall. Moreover, as soon as any hunter, soldier, or farmer got enough hides, lumber and grain, and/or land together to build his own wigwam, he frequently did. We tend not to find caves full of huge human colonies with people squatting on hundreds corpses of several generations of ancestors. Privacy, both informational and sovereign or compartmentalized property rights, are as old as civilization.

      1. the two ideas aren’t related

        Aren’t *un*related.

  19. Don’t worry about protecting your privacy because soon the Progressive party will take over and they will protect any privacy that you need, It they don’t protect it you will not need it.
    Not will the Progressive protect your privacy they will relieve your worries about what you will do for a living and what you will earn. They will take care of your medical needs and will provide a place for you to live along with the food and clothing that you will need.
    In other words they will take over making the decision you will need just live.

  20. Even if you become a privacy prepper it is a losing battle at this point.

    Even posting here, we know what happened.

    I don’t do social media but then again I am grumpy and antisocial.

  21. “WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has renewed its fight for access to encrypted communications, arguing that it is a vital crime-fighting tool even as technology companies and advocates have countered that it will threaten individual privacy.

    Attorney General William P. Barr took aim at Facebook’s plan to make WhatsApp and its other messaging services more secure, pressing its chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, to create a loophole to that goal of full encryption. The Justice Department said that investigators needed lawful access to encrypted communications to fight terrorism, organized crime and child pornography.”

    —-New York Times, October 3, 2019

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/03/us/politics/barr-whatsapp-facebook-encryption.html

    If the fight for privacy is over, why was the Attorney General pushing for a backdoor into WhatsApp and Signal as recently as Thursday?

    P.S. Signal doesn’t even know who’s messaging whom most of the time. If the FBI bothered to subpoena Signals records of your conversations, Signal might not even know where to look.

    1. ” If the FBI bothered to subpoena Signals records of your conversations, Signal might not even know where to look.”

      Is Signal’s meta-data safe from the FBI? Meta-data is all a determined surveiller needs to identify you. Meta-data from cell phones provides military drone operators with all the information needed to track and kill suspected targets, even though the specific content of the communications remains unknown.

    2. “If the fight for privacy is over, why was the Attorney General pushing for a backdoor into WhatsApp and Signal as recently as Thursday?”

      Oh, the government doesn’t factor into privacy. If they can’t get their constant flow of dick pics then they get all pissy.

    1. I don’t know if “KMW (is) advocating civil war,” but I get all excited when she talks this way. Everyone needs a hoodie, broad brimmed hat, sunglasses, high collar jacket, ear muffs, whatever ….

      Oh, yeah, and a bandana for sure. You can drape it over your head and under your hat. With sunglasses it leaves little of the face exposed to the ever prying state.

  22. Other than us libertarian types most people don’t really care. Autonomy is not something people value much. It is not easy to take personal responsibility and accept some negative trade offs for liberty.

    So we are on the losing end in every battle. How can you win elections promising people less when everyone else is promising to give them more?

    As PJ O Roark put it in a famous speech. “We are the party of nothing”

    1. “How can you win elections promising people less when everyone else is promising to give them more?”

      You need a crisis. This is the lesson of Lenin. (Not that he ever won any elections, but stepped smartly into the power vacuum when one opened,)

      1. Interesting how most leaders once they are in power, try to avoid crisis. Trump seems to thrive on it.

      2. “You need a crisis. This is the lesson of Lenin.”
        Cite missing, as it always is.
        No, your bullshit is not accepted anything other than bullshit, bullshitter.

      3. Mtrueman, you need to show them properly that less is more. It’s like when you have a house with too much crap in it. You end up with very little space and no place to relax.

    2. Eventually the promises turn out to be empty, and the people rebel. Or at least switch to the other brand as long as they promise something.

      1. The two party system is how the same people stay in power. If your only choices are red or blue it just becomes a matter of what you are going to wear that day.

        Most people do not actually believe or like either one but they have been conditioned to think there is no other choice. They can only think on one axis. That is true for many of the commenters here who consider themselves libertarian.

        I have been joking about running my dog for president and getting my son to set up a twitter feed promoting him. The joke is that a lot of people would say “you know what a dog is not such a bad idea. Couldn’t be any worse” It is really what we have been saying all along. We don’t need this much government.

        1. The two party system is how the same people stay in power.

          That’s bullshit, as a simple look at Europe shows you. The US has had a far more dynamic political culture than many European countries. The two US parties function very much like European coalitions, without the mess and complications of party coalitions.

        2. Most people do not actually believe or like either one but they have been conditioned to think there is no other choice.

          A common pessimistic/nihilistic belief, but not supported by data.

          Partisans are significantly more common then independents, and most partisans are not partisans out of cynicism, they really do believe their side is the “good guys”. Full-on cynics who think they’re all bad are not the majority.

  23. Don’t go out in public and walk down the street — somebody might be looking at YOU, you linchpin of the universe you.

    This comment not approved by Silicon Valley brain slugs.

    1. “somebody might be looking at YOU”

      Use Tor or some other honeypot just to be sure.

        1. Hi spammer. A lovely black flag for you.

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  25. And yet free trade with China is what essentially has enabled them to flex their muscles. They know whatever they do, be it put muslims in concentration camps, torture a kill a guy advocating for free elections, or cracking down on protesters in Hong Kong, the world won’t lift a finger to oppose them. They won’t even protest in many cases.

    Look at what just happened in the NBA. A GM of a team supported the protester, so China basically unpersoned him. He had to grovel to keep his job.

    And what have we gotten in return? Poorly made cheap crap. Giant profit margins for companies like Apple in electronics. But at a huge cost

    1. Actually, trade has created a growing middle class of educated people who have some awareness of the world outside the Bamboo Curtain, and who together represent the greatest mitigating force on Chinese authoritarian excesses.

      Look at Hong Kong. The nonstop protests with the direct involvement of some 25% of the population didn’t result from the lack of trade, and an educated and prosperous middle class.

      You fools have this shit exactly ass-backwards; you’re the useful idiots in our own system.

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  27. I don’t disagree in theory.

    I think privacy is basically a lost cause. Genie out of the bottle, cat out of the bag, can’t close Pandora’s box… whatever metaphor you want to use, the lost of privacy in the modern world is a done-deal, and can’t be undone.

    I also think that the answer is just to protect folk’s civil rights harder.

    What I’m curious about though, is what specific ways libertarians want that to shake out.

    One way is the expansion of non-discrimination laws. We can’t stop your neighbors from learning all your dirty secrets, but we can enumerate secrets and knowledge that are invalid basis for specific kinds of actions.

    Another would be full-transparency on all financial transactions. Anyone would be able to look up where you got your money and where it went, whether it’s to charity, drugs, food, or sex toys. Radical transparency, but no room to hide actual crimes.

    These ideas of “zero-privacy, full liberty” are obviously non-starters for libertarians.

    So I’m curious what protections libertarians find both acceptable that they have reasonable basis to think will be effective. Because all the actionable policy ideas I hear aren’t libertarian.

    And as it goes, if you do not offer a solution, then you will be made to accept someone else’s.

    1. I think complete transparency is a good start. Government should have precious few privileges and liberties not enjoyed by the citizenry at large (I’m inclined to say nukes, then I kind of draw a blank).

      Every government agency, agent, bureaucracy, bureaucrat and employee should live in a virtual panopticon.

      If for no other reason then FTTW.

  28. TL;DR?
    Decriminalize as much as possible.
    Educate the public about jury nullification.

  29. Paranoid much, Chicken Little? The sky is falling! Privacy is Over! Woe is me!

    Last I checked, we still have freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press (I am able to write this very sentence online for all to see without fear of reprisal — except, of course, for the trolls who will pillory me and this post, but they have that right!), freedom of assembly, etc. The scary examples cited are from CHINA — an oppressive communist regime. Which is NOT the United States.

    I agree that the government is a necessary evil that should be pruned back in every area to its core functions and not one thing more. But hysterically proclaiming, “Privacy is Over!” is… well, I can’t think of a good “Reason” for such melodrama. Might wanna lay off the weed for a bit. Munchies are one thing, but that paranoia is a bitch.

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