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[liberationtech] It's about time we publicly declared privacy was never dead.

Shava Nerad shava23 at
Wed Nov 6 07:41:52 PST 2013

Yosem, can I pull this back to my original call to action in this thread
which was not regarding open source but the question of "Is privacy dead?"

It's stated as assumptive language (often citing Brin) by the entities who
profit directly or indirectly from oversharing, insecure, in-the-moment,
click-thru,  and otherwise myopic user/public behaviors.  It's fashionable,
cool (and sophomoric) and people are starting to wonder about it.

This does relate to liberation tech policy in big ways.  Technology can't
be separated from the law, policy, or reality engineering/memetics/social
engineering/marketing/politics around those technologies.

Code is law, but law is also determined by the steady state of accepted
truth in the culture as recognized by the mechanisms of democracy and
markets and cultural practice -- these feedback loops are a powerful part
of our ecosystem, and there are change-agents here on this list who work
those systems.

That was the substance before the thread got derailed,  although no one
seemed to leap to the call to action.  I think there is a mass "teachable
moment" to be addressed here, in a timely basis.

On Nov 6, 2013 10:08 AM, "Yosem Companys" <companys at> wrote:

> These messages are personal replies that have little to do with
> technology, other than the references to open source.  Let's steer the
> discussion back to "how information technology can be used to defend
> human rights, improve governance, empower the poor, promote economic
> development, and pursue a variety of other social goods."
> Thanks,
> Yosem
> One of the List Moderators
> On Wed, Nov 6, 2013 at 5:31 AM, Moon Jones <mjones at>
> wrote:
> > Shava Nerad:
> >> On Nov 5, 2013 8:32 PM, "Moon Jones" <mjones at>
> >> wrote:
> >>> Shava Nerad:
> >>>> If these young people could dream together, on and offline, some
> >>>>  hero's journey -- to change their world reasonably peacefully,
> >>>> fighting dragons, taking all that world building F&SF they love
> >>>> and putting that modeling to work IRL?
> >>>
> >>> Sounds like a Stalinist/1984 goal. I find your stance puzzling. You
> >>> seem to be against the current political way, yet you are pushing
> >>> for a far more totalitarian society.
> >>
> >> How do you see that?  I see this as a continuation of the work of
> >> movements such as the SCLC and the poor people's movement that
> >> followed.  Were those totalitarian?
> >
> > People don't dream together. People dream in their own ways. But they
> > can unite for a common goal. Stalin, Christianity, Islam make people
> > dream together. To paraphrase Mr. Carlin: because you have to be asleep
> > to believe it. Sure, they can agree and work together. But leave the
> > dream. An atheist can be against school prayer or the exhibition of
> > christian sex toys on walls. So does a minority Muslim. While a
> > Christian belonging to a different sect might be against that prayer,
> > but might be for the exhibition. Dreaming together sounds like
> > brainwashing, although I dislike the term.
> >
> >> Governments work to make us distrust popular movements because they
> >> can effect reforms.  Public education, 40-hour work weeks, public
> >> libraries, womens sufferage, civil rights, divestiture, (cc), FOSS.
> >> Are these Stalinist?
> >
> > A government is a group of people guided by some rules. Same goes for
> > the Middle Age guilds. Making an abstraction, a totem out such an entity
> > is only making things worse for you. But, sure, you can start your own
> > religion based on that. So you do have advantages and disadvantages,
> > like with any other stance.
> >
> > A government, or more DO NOT work. People do. And people means many.
> > Each with a personal agenda. Work with them and you can find your way.
> > Fight the «Government» and you'd be Don Quichotte.
> >
> > Changing from conspiracy theory and venerating a virtual totem pole, to
> > proven social progress is just another propagandist trick. Sorry. I'm
> > not saying you are evil or that you are trying to trick people. As a
> > matter of fact, most people I've met over the years are not even vaguely
> > aware of the techniques they employ. They just know they are effective.
> > And, like with any other job they do their best to do it better.
> >
> > To make things even more complicated, although the source of those
> > social advancements you mention were not from the Soviet Union, and had
> > no connection with Stalin or Lenin, they were brought in about a third
> > of the World because of their actions. Russian peasants were very close
> > to slavery. Same went for the workers. Those not killed by the regime,
> > got things Americans (of US) can only dream of: 40–hour work week, paid
> > sick leave, paid leave days, universal healthcare, gratis healthcare,
> > social housing, social support for the one working, but also for the
> > family, and so on. In a society a few centuries behind the rest of
> > Europe, Stalinism brought reproductive rights to the women and helped a
> > bit with raising the children. In an illiterate empire they brought
> > reading, writing and libraries. So they were a factor of progress. Which
> > does not make Stalinism, Leninism or Maoism any less totalitarian.
> >
> >> It might suggest this list comprises a list of interested parties.
> >> Why are you here?  This field has been my vocational center for two
> >> decades, arguably three-ish.
> >
> > I subscribed because of a talk that spilled over some other mailing list
> > I read. I admit, I never spent the time to read. I merely wanted to get
> > my reward, meaning the discussion I was after. Pretty much like clicking
> > «I agree» on a form printed on my screen.
> >
> >> Seems we both care about it.  I hope you don't have to protect the
> >> net from me.  Heh…
> >
> > I'm not protecting anybody or anything from anybody or anything. I just
> > want to point out a few mistakes. Sure, it's more probable that I'm the
> > mislead. But that fact makes no difference. If you want I can step down.
> > I usually don't follow beyond two or three replies.
> >
> >>> The Patriot Act is a law. Another law can just erase it. It's
> >>> quite simple. Just enough people have to care. No need of
> >>> mysticisms.
> >>
> >> Were it simple, a lot of very smart people might have figured a way
> >> to do it in a decade.  There is a lot of political machinery going
> >> into FUD, security theater, politics of fear -- you know these
> >> terms?
> >
> > It is that simple.
> >
> > Very dumb people have figured it out. Very smart people probably already
> > know that. But not enough of them care about it. You see, knowing that
> > is wrong to let somebody beaten up for a few pennies does not make
> > anybody interfere. Knowing that one can beat the attacker or the
> > enjoyment of being called a hero that can make a person interfere. There
> > can be even dumb reasons: the resemblance of the one getting beaten up
> > with someone you love. The reason says it's not the same person. The
> > emotion couldn't care. And so on.
> >
> > In short: people know. Some care. Not enough.
> >
> > Political machinery is another abstraction leading up to another totem.
> > Sure, society has some rules. The rules are agreed upon by most members
> > of that society. Be it a masonic lodge, a country, a faculty. And rules
> > can be changed.
> >
> > I am a bit familiar with those terms. Like any religion, they are based
> > on ignorance. To rephrase it: magic does not work. Because the active
> > elements or ingredients do not exist. Yet people make it real. Murder
> > can be a major crime in some parts of the World. Killing a cursed man
> > makes it a natural continuation of the curse in a backward society. Find
> > the body of a child and the whole village is disturbed. Find the body of
> > a cursed man and most are happy they were not the cursed one. Fighting
> > «the politics of fear» or enforcing them is part of the same show. It's
> > precisely as the confrontation with a great wizard.
> >
> >> To get people to care without *making* them care, but bringing them
> >> to care through a journey of understanding and discovery (which, in
> >> my hopeful moments,  I see Snowden as a part of, although I waver… )
> >>  is far harder than scaring them out of their rights.
> >
> > Care, without care by bringing them to care. Weird. Really weird.
> >
> > I know this kind of logic works on new age types. But each time I fail
> > to see the logic.
> >
> >> Enough people have to care and stand against fear-based arguments.
> >
> > There is no fear. Because there is no threat. And because there is no
> > afterlife, there is no preparation involved. So the root is much much
> > deeper.
> >
> >> They need to be brave and take risks.
> >
> > There is no risk. Or better said: there is no extra risk.
> >
> >> They have to have a sense of
> >> meaning and identity with a cause, if not unity or nation (I come
> >> from generations of philosophical anarchists, myself, but that might
> >>  take some hours of discussion to pin down pragmatically.  Most
> >> often, I simply describe my politics as anti-obscurantist. Sometimes,
> >> a Spinoza-era liberal.).
> >
> > There is no meaning. There is no identity. But there is joy in
> > exploration. There is pleasure to be gained from new ways. F*ck Spinoza
> > and his pantheism! He was a huge step forward in the human thought in
> > the Dark Ages of Christianity. To the chagrin of the extreme right, that
> > proves the Jews have once again been ahead of the others. No, I'm not
> > Jewish, but I admire what they have brought to the Universal Culture.
> > Back to Spinoza. Try Epicur.
> >
> >> People caring doesn't happen without steward leadership and art and
> >> it never has.  You can call that mysticism, poetry, zines,
> >> leafletting, soapboxes, folksongs, or propaganda according to your
> >> taste and the side you're on, in relation to the people when they
> >> begin to wake up and care. ;)
> >
> > And THAT was part of the mistake made by Marx. At least he knew it all
> > the time, but the glory and adulation of the communist crowd were waaay
> > too tempting.
> >
> > I don't call that anything. Leadership should be a fluid concept.
> > Cryptoparty style if you like. You know something, you do that
> > particular something. Cook me a wonderful meal and I'd be more than
> > happy to clean up afterwards.
> >
> >> Gandhi,  MLK, and Mandela all got charged with mysticism.  I am
> >> humbled.
> >
> > And they were. Mystics. And hypocrites. When I get into their
> > biographies I get sick to my stomach. They brought with them some good
> > things. And their societies were backward enough to call that a
> > progress. And they did it in a spectacular way. And they make good
> > quoting material. And they inspire political activists all over the
> > world. That does not make them any less disgusting.
> >
> >>>> Not just clever language
> >>>> and fine speechifying.
> >>>
> >>> This paragraph is precisely that: clever language and fine that
> >>> thing.
> >>
> >> Yes, which is why I am asking for help.  If you aren't interested,
> >> this isn't your project.  Might not be as evil as you presume.
> >
> > I don't presume evil. Only pointing out the situation. Fighting
> > propaganda with propaganda does not make the system any better. In case
> > of win, it makes it YOUR system, whomever you want to include in the
> > word «we». Today, as stated the system is theirs, the ones you oppose,
> > the current propaganda generators. I'm truly indifferent as to whom
> > reigns a rotten system.
> >
> >>> Nobody need a movement. The movement is there. Or is not.
> >>>
> >> Haven't studied much political science or history?
> >
> > I don't have a PhD in that, so I can't say much.
> >
> >> Take free software or open source as examples.  (I more often use
> >> feminism.)
> >
> > I'm really puzzled. Do you make these mistakes as a natural
> > misunderstand or is it for the purpose of blurring the issues? Do you
> > wield them as a weapon or employ them as a tool, these confusions?
> >
> > Free software is open source. Open Source movement is just a way to
> > please the corporate owners. As a way of getting the free software ahead
> > is a clever step forward. As a way of losing some of the initial goals,
> > it can turn out to be a bad thing. Right now they are almost the same.
> > Or, I contemplated for a while the differences. Could not find ONE open
> > source app that can't be turned into free software. Higher on the
> > abstraction ladder you have APIs vs standards and so on. But back at the
> > user there is no difference.
> >
> > I don't see the connection with feminism. Sorry.
> >
> >> I see, in my "evil corporate view," a few dramatic and
> >> well-backed personalities and organizations, publicity engines, and
> >> catfights over art, philosophy, and meaning.  (Maybe aided in this
> >> perspective by being FSF's first PR person).  They annoy people
> >> getting the work done… now… but they still refine the memes and craft
> >> licenses and do significant catalytic heavy lifting and shielding, as
> >> well as spreading the ideas so much faster in resistant areas
> >> (including non-software areas of society).
> >
> > Sure. Evangelism. As long as it brings education it helps society. Make
> > it bring obscurity and things are turning the other way. Again I'm using
> > Christianity as an easy example. Spreading the belief into a savage,
> > ancient set of ethics was bad. Bringing reading and writing was good.
> > Telling the woman has no reproductive rights — bad. Telling nobody can
> > kill another — good. The same way, whatever you cover by «corporate» can
> > be good or bad. And that is ONLY my way of seeing things. An old man
> > trying to spread his genes or hoping for immortality can be the exact
> > opposite in his view of good vs bad.
> >
> >> Or, learn from the history, and save yourself from repeating it, and
> >> prevents others using their superior literacy hardcore organizational
> >> politics and power against you.  Knowing methods doesn't necessarily
> >> make one an enemy -- it can make one a warrior for peace.
> >
> > Oh! If people would not want to repeat it there would be at least one
> > day a week teaching Holocaust in every school. But, somehow money making
> > or the teaching of abstractions is very important. Important enough that
> > enough people do care. See? About the Patriot Act there aren't enough
> > people caring. And cheating them into accepting your point of view does
> > not make things any better. A society based on propaganda needs some
> > laws like that. And its going to enforce other laws like that. More or
> > less subtle. But subtlety makes a cosmetic change.
> >
> >> I am not your enemy,  I think.
> >
> > You can't be. I'm not sure anybody can be my enemy. But this is purely
> > semantics.
> >
> >> But you are right to not trust easily.  How could I advise otherwise,
> >> with my background?  Perhaps not so justified dissing someone on this
> >> list as totalitarian so very facilely.  We've barely met.
> >
> > Sorry, I don't know your background. My comments are purely based on the
> > message I read. Nothing more.
> >
> > Cheers!
> > --
> > Liberationtech is public & archives are searchable on Google. Violations
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> --
> Liberationtech is public & archives are searchable on Google. Violations
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