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View Diary: Technology, Privacy, Revolution and Control (31 comments)

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  •  There is something that many people don't get. (6+ / 0-)

    The Internet developed in the US.  Most people understand that.  Access to the Internet has become global.  There is a tendency to think that because of this it's "equal" everywhere.

    The Internet, though, relies on what's called the "backbone," a very heavy bandwidth connection that carries large amounts of data around the world.  Most of the backbone for the world is located in the US for historical reasons, much of it carried by large telecom corporations like Verizon.

    I point this out because people seem to think that China or some other country (I heard France mentioned) could do the same thing as our NSA.  Probably not the way things are right now.  Our NSA has access to the equivalents of fire hydrants atop the city water main.

    This has another huge implication it's easy to overlook:  The Internet may be America's single biggest tech export.  We're poisoning that biggest export.  And for what?

    Imagine if McDonald's got a request from the NSA to secretly put radioactive GPS locators in every Big Mac so they could track the locations of everybody who eats at their restaurants.  They tell McDonald's it's the patriotic thing to do because one of their customers MIGHT be a terrorist somedays (you never know!), and, besides, nobody will ever find out about this.  So they go along with it.

    Glenn Greenwald comes along and writes a story about it.  Now everybody knows.  Many feel sick.  "So what?  What are they going to do for burgers?  Ha ha!"  

    Well, some people and some countries might just say, fuck this, we'll flip our own burgers.  McDonalds has thereby fucked themselves with the assistance of the NSA.

    That's where this is headed eventually.  If you were a country that didn't feel totally secure about your international relations with the US, you might be ready to separate your existence from dependent on the US based Internet and other US tech countries where the security of their products is brought into question.  You may think you know everything that the NSA is doing today, but how about tomorrow?  They're busy little beavers.  If you're that other government,  there are private matters you are bound to not want getting out, so it will be a concern.  

    Likewise for private corporations overseas who have to worry now about just who is going to get access to their corporate secrets.  Many people here might trust Obama and the NSA, but if your livelihood could be destroyed if a competitor found out what you were planning, you might want to look elsewhere.

    So I expect at some point there will be alternatives to the Internet as it exists now, probably still interfaced transparently, but not based so heavily on the US backbone nor on the products of US tech companies.  We in the US would CERTAINLY do the same thing if the backbone and Windows and Google and Verizon were all based in China.  In fact, our own NSA would probably be frantic to do just that.

    So, we're just like McDonald's despoiling its own biggest product.  It's going to hurt us down the line as much of the tech center of gravity migrates offshore to compensate.

    Was it worth it?  No.

    •  Already the case in China (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Richard Lyon, FG, Dumbo, J M F

      Baidu, QQ, Sina Weibo, etc., dominate the market because (a) they are Chinese language for Chinese users (b) approved by our government with their taps and valves.

      But this is going to hurt the US IT sector in much of the rest of the world, particularly Europe, which has stronger privacy laws.

      There is also an element of retribution at work; after so many years of pedantic lectures on cyber security and cyber rights by American leaders and media, people (not just their governments) have reason to turn their heads and laugh, and make other choices.

      This is great news for Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent and Huawei.

      400ppm : what about my daughter's future?

      by koNko on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 06:31:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  actually the french did (0+ / 0-)

      where the backbone is ultimately doesn't matter much it just makes it a little easier.

      After all how do you think China censors it's internet access? (free hint metadata)

      In the time that I have been given,
      I am what I am

      by duhban on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 09:28:56 PM PDT

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      •  The French can't do what we do. (0+ / 0-)

        I know, I read the same article.  But they don't have the infrastructure to suck up the whole Internet.  Even if they did have the storage and bandwidth, there is also software required to sort and arrange the information into a usable form and encrypted messages (the really interesting stuff) to be decrypted, which takes some firepower and smart people to stay afloat of the encryption arms race.

        Censoring data in China is also a very different thing.  That doesn't require access to the world's Internet traffic.  That requires monitoring the nation's internal traffic, and I'm sure even with that they aren't very successful.

        •  it's not about sucking up the whole internet (0+ / 0-)

          which even if theoretically possible I remain skeptical of us having the ability to do day in and day out.

          The real abuse is supposed to be reading metadata except probably every nation in the world can do that.

          In the time that I have been given,
          I am what I am

          by duhban on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 09:41:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Great comment but I'll be happy (0+ / 0-)

      to see the backside of Microsoft. China can have them. Google not so much.

      Bill gates didn't get rich by producing good software. He got rich through a combination of savvy, disruptive technology, and unethical business practices. If he had his way, the internet would be accessible only via Internet Explorer running on Windows and maybe Mac (to prove he was a monopolist.)

      "Send your resume in .doc format." Bull shit. That's like saying "Show up for the interview in a Ford product or don't show up at all."

      Reaganomics noun pl: belief that government is bad, that it can increase revenue by decreasing revenue, and unregulated capitalism can provide unlimited goods for unlimited people on a planet with finite resources.

      by FrY10cK on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 10:49:20 AM PDT

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      •  "...to prove he was not a monopolist ..." (0+ / 0-)

        You know what I meant.

        Reaganomics noun pl: belief that government is bad, that it can increase revenue by decreasing revenue, and unregulated capitalism can provide unlimited goods for unlimited people on a planet with finite resources.

        by FrY10cK on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 10:51:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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