Private Investigations


I’m back in Berlin. I am at 22C3: Private Investigations.

The conference has been good so far. I have learned a few things. I have become less convinced by the pro-privacy arguments recently. I feel the problem is that governments (and corporations) are not transparent enough, rather than citizen’s lives are not private enough.

As far as I have been able to gather the real problem is that some small percentage of the population can get totally screwed over. Screwing over includes being imprisoned, tortured, hassled, denied transportation, etc. But if this happens to a sufficiently small population, then no one will care enough to do anything about it. It is similar to the tyranny of the majority. The argument goes that this screwing over will become more deliberate and more focused on those people that the powerful wish to suppress. The power under consideration is government (the unelected head bureaucrats). I think, although no one has said it this way, that the idea is that privacy is the solution to this problem. There may be a point here, but I’m not certain. The problem may be bad laws rather than transparent lives. But whatever the point behind privacy is, I wish someone would spell it clearly for me and everyone else.

Another thing I have learned is that the MMPA has been sharing their own material on P2P networks, in order to manufacture evidence that their material is being illegally shared and convince the police to raid P2P organisations. This is similar to police impersonating protesters, and inciting violence.

I’ve also been surprised how anti-capitalist the speakers at this conference are. I’m quite pleased. My circle of American friends in this group are quite libertarian. As I get older, where free markets work and where they don’t has been slowly becoming more clear in my mind.

I have volunteered to give a 5-minute talk on OTR. I figured someone ought to give such a talk, and since the authors are not available, I stepped up to the plate. I should get some sleep, and prepare some information for tomorrow.


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Russell O’Connor: contact me