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[liberationtech] IGP Blog :: Technology as symbol: Is resistance to surveillance technology being misdirected?

Collin Anderson collin at
Tue Dec 27 11:35:18 PST 2011

International regulatory regimes can be thwarted by bad-faith actors, what a wonderful, new discovery. Of course the most logical remedial action should be to abandon any attempt to reduce availability, sophistication or efficiency. 

Collin David Anderson ( | @cda | Washington, D.C.

Sent with Sparrow (

On Tuesday, December 27, 2011 at 2:22 PM, Alec Muffett wrote:

> > | But do we have any control over how that technology will be used?
> > 
> > Actually somewhat yes, the American government's arming of other countries
> > is an excellent point of leverage for inducing foreign regimes to behave in
> > a certain way. Materiel is not a completely durable good, requiring
> > servicing and upgrades. It was this dependency that was probably the origin
> > of the Egyptian military's fracture with the Mubarak regime. There are
> > countless instances where servicing aircraft and other weapons was a way for
> > the US to pressure a point with another country.
> > 
> Since this was not directed at me I'll just pick up on one point that
> I touched upon in the previous e-mail.
> * Regards hardware: technology goods can be serviced by anyone who has
> (or steals) the parts.
> * Regards software: updates can be downloaded / installed by the same
> restriction-bypassing methods that geeks use in any other sphere of
> online life - technologies that enable watching American streaming
> movies in Europe, or which help you run Apple's OSX on generic
> "Hackintosh" personal computers. Technologies which permit an
> activist to be anonymous on the internet could _also_ permit a
> repressive regime actor to update their firmware without leaving an
> audit trail a-la Blue Coat. That'll be the next step for Syria et al.
> * Regards intellectual property: restrict access to that and
> repressive regime actors will just roll their own, in time; the pros
> and cons of that are another argument entirely.
> In short: with IT there is no control over it as "materiel" - a word
> which implies weaponry - because computer and network hardware is not
> military materiel, it's dual-use.
> Anyone else here forgotten that the Playstation 2 used to be an
> export-controlled supercomputer?
> -a 

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