Today I am not going to talk about current events or political economy. Today I am going to talk about digital privacy. The principle of the 4th Amendment is not merely legal: it is ethical. It is a statement of natural law, and the USA’s Founding Fathers believed it to be instituted by God to govern God’s creation.
The Internet has evolved to a business model of mass surveillance, and mass surveillance is contrary to the principle articulated by the 4th Amendment. Even if you’re not from the USA, that doesn’t change the principle.
“Computer hacking” may still sound pretty “1337” to folks who don’t aspire to professional knowledge of computers. Hacking used to be a labor of love done by guys like Steve Wozniak, who broke the law frequently and was richly rewarded because Silicon Valley was free from serious law enforcement before the famous “Hacker Crackdown” of 1992.
Nowadays, “hacker” is a blue-collar job. Check out this glorious bit of corporate propaganda:
I have not signed up for those online training course. Maybe they are high-quality products put out by an ethical training company. But the point is that hacking is a mainstream job skill now. You can get an “ethical hacker certification” just like you can get an “apprentice electrician certification.”
I am not eager to sign up for those courses. I don’t understand privacy technology. I don’t understand how many people would get their hooks into my personal data if I were to try to get educated online. I suspect, however, that a fair number of newbies trying to get educated are just going to get onto NSA watchlists without acquiring any useful skills.
By now, everyone has heard that the NSA has Carnivore and XKeyScore and other projects intended to eavesdrop on everyone.
You may have heard that the NSA also bribes hardware manufacturers to put backdoors into commercially available hardware.
Julian Assange has declared the dawn of the CYPHERPUNK age. In this day and age, when Catalonia is trying to use Internet privacy technologies to get a vote out, who remembers cyberpunk? Apparently PocketC.H.I.P. remembers. They are selling their glorious equipment to hobbyists and hackers in a small number of countries, because they are a tiny organization that cannot pay for a big shipping company to ship these devices all over the world. These devices are not very powerful, but they ARE user friendly – if you can manage to get one shipped to your country, and that is a big deal.