Schneier on the Internet Surveillance State

This is ubiquitous surveillance: All of us being watched, all the time, and that data being stored forever. This is what a surveillance state looks like, and it's efficient beyond the wildest dreams of George Orwell.

Sure, we can take measures to prevent this. We can limit what we search on Google from our iPhones, and instead use computer web browsers that allow us to delete cookies. We can use an alias on Facebook. We can turn our cell phones off and spend cash. But increasingly, none of it matters.

There are simply too many ways to be tracked. The Internet, e-mail, cell phones, web browsers, social networking sites, search engines: these have become necessities, and it's fanciful to expect people to simply refuse to use them just because they don't like the spying, especially since the full extent of such spying is deliberately hidden from us and there are few alternatives being marketed by companies that don't spy.

This isn't something the free market can fix. We consumers have no choice in the matter. All the major companies that provide us with Internet services are interested in tracking us.

Previously, previously.

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3 Responses:

  1. Simon Leinen says:

    rms warned us, we wouldn't listen.

  2. M.E. says:

    None of those three "data points" have anything to do with the thesis. All of those things could have happened in 1991, before Google or Facebook and their evil consumer tracking. It's just a consequence of using a public network.

    • James says:

      "Could have" but didn't. Z39.50 WAIS servers had no logging for unauthenticated use, although later versions of Gopher server did by the Veronica era. I still know people who refuse all cookies but don't think twice about their static IP. The early controversy about cookies was handled very poorly by CPSR officials who should have known better if they were less interested in deductible junkets and resume building.

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