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[liberationtech] Google keeps the chat history even you enabled the OTR

Jonathan Wilkes jancsika at
Thu May 8 20:56:32 PDT 2014

On 05/08/2014 09:31 PM, Anthony Papillion wrote:
> Hash: SHA512
> On 05/08/2014 08:23 PM, Doug Schuler wrote:
>> Realistically we need to develop an entire suite of publicly owned
>> tools. Could the development and implementation be massively
>> distributed?
>> Or is it over?   We lost all the other media....
>> "In just a few short years, starting in 1998, this company has
>> grown to employ almost 50,000 people worldwide, generated sixty
>> billion dollars in revenue last year, and has a current market
>> capitalization of more than 350 billion dollars. Google is not only
>> the biggest search engine in the world, but along with Youtube (the
>> second biggest search engine in the world) it also has the largest
>> video platform, with Chrome the biggest browser, with Gmail the
>> most widely used e-mail provider, and with Android the biggest
>> operating system for mobile devices."     From:  An open letter to
>> Eric Schmidt: Why we fear Google
> I fear we've already lost. I used to think that it would just take
> some sort of major scandal to wake people up to the fact that
> relinquishing their privacy wasn't such a good idea. Then, I thought,
> they'd stand up in outrage and take their privacy back with
> pitchforks.

You could only say such a thing if you completely ignore entire 
categories of software development like documentation and 
usability-improvements to the same extent that companies like Google and 
Apple embrace them.

> Then Snowden showed up and nothing really happened. Most
> people didn't actually change the things they do because, well, it's
> not convenient.

Not only is it not convenient, it is dangerous.  How is the 
non-technical user supposed to judge whether the implementation of a 
piece of privacy-preserving software lives up to its claims? Especially 
if technical users like yourself have given up?  [if I weren't lazy, I'd 
have links here to stories about that silly app that claimed to erase 
the pictures "permanently" after the recipient viewed them for a couple 
of seconds].

Anyway, convenience vs. privacy is a false dichotomy.  For certain 
designs like Tor, that dichotomy would be self-defeating: the more 
convenient it is to run the Tor Browser Bundle, the larger and more 
diverse the potential userbase can be.  That's a good thing for both 
convenience and privacy.  User-facing tools _must_ possess both to be  
at all effective.

So if you aren't truly self-defeated yet, please do find a non-technical 
user that fits your apparent bias and use your expertise to teach them 
to use Tor to read the web.  Perhaps like me you'll find you've revealed 
a coping strategy and replaced it in the user's repertoire with a 
privacy-preserving tool.

> I see a future where the world, not just the digital world, is divided
> into two camps: those who are technically literate and willing to take
> the sometimes inconvenient steps to protect their privacy and those
> who aren't.  The first group will be in the minority but will enjoy
> privacy and anonymity while the second group will be pretty much at
> the mercy of whoever can figure out how to access their data.

If you think of yourself in the former camp then you _really_ ought to 
be out there teaching people to use Tor.  In a surveillance state a tiny 
minority of anonymous literati are anything but anonymous (and, 
therefore, probably not literate either).


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