The Back Door

It’s been my theory for a long time now that Federal law enforcement, not the military, have become the “Standing Army” that the Founding Fathers worried about.

Likewise – who needs a surveillance state, when you can can get over-wealthy, under-wise nerds to build it for you?

Where, a decade or so ago, the tech world’s products served to liberate us from the control of big institutions — I wrote a book on that! — now they seem designed to keep us under the thumb of big institutions. People used to start blogs to express themselves. Now they communicate via giant quasi-monopoly “social media” sites that mute and ban users over their politics. Your computer and phone used to be ways for you to learn more about the world than had ever been possible before in human history; now your devices have turned into tools for governments and corporations to keep tabs on you in ways that have never been possible before in human history.

And now we have the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Cambridge Analytica allegedly scraped data from Facebook users — apparently in accordance with Facebook rules at the time — but that has a lot of people hot and bothered. To be fair, if someone working for Hillary Clinton instead of Donald Trump had done this, there’d be less outrage in the press (in fact, when Obama’s campaign collected Facebook user information in 2012, the press mostly praised their ingenuity). But that doesn’t mean there isn’t an issue.

The whole thing is worth a read.

12 thoughts on “The Back Door

  1. The good news, and the bad news, about a privately funded surveillance state is that it might, unlike the NSA, actually work. That noted, I saw an article by a gentleman who queried his “Facebook” mining results with hilarious results. So we’re not out of the woods yet, but the machine learning that would be necessary to really get results isn’t quite there at this point.

  2. Electronic Frontier Foundation: “The internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.”
    What if the corporate state sees the internet as damage and routes around it?

  3. Microsoft sent me an email yesterday. They’ve updated the Service Agreement to include a Code of Conduct to say: “Don’t publicly display or use the Services to share inappropriate content or material (involving, for example, nudity, bestiality, pornography, offensive language, graphic violence, or criminal activity).”

    INAPPROPRIATE CONTENT. OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE. Now what, exactly, does that mean, and how would they know if I did it?

    Someone (or something) must be monitoring everything I do on every Microsoft platform – Word, PowerPoint, Edge, Mail, Outlook – and deciding whether I lose my license to use Microsoft products based on secret criteria known only to their in-house censors.

    When the censor bans me for supporting the Second Amendment, the response will be “You promised to abide by the Code of Conduct but violated its terms so you’re the bad guy here, not us” and every Liberal media and court will nod in agreement. Can anyone say “contract of adhesion?”

    This is how Liberals plan to win in 2020. They will prevent conservatives from using alternative media, forcing the nation to rely on the mainstream media where all news will be their news. They’re trying to return to the days of Uncle Walter, not by stuffing the genie back into the bottle, but by smashing every bottle except theirs.

    Time to start looking for a new laptop and office suite.

  4. I tried to post a comment about corporate censorship of conservative comments . . . and got sent to Moderation Purgatory. Hmmmm.

  5. Maybe it’s your writing style, Joe Doakes. By any chance did you work your way through college writing “Letters to Playboy” for 5 cents/word?

  6. Pingback: In The Mailbox: 03.30.18 : The Other McCain

  7. Yes, indeed, MP, and thanks for buying so many issues, it really helped my beer fund.

  8. Ah, I was too embarrassed to buy Playboy, Joy Doakes. I did shoplift an issue once. I never thought that this would happen to me, but I got caught by the shop’s proprietress. She was a tall brunette, trim, athletic, with a husky voice . . .

  9. JD, maybe the issue is not just censorship but lawyering up. With more noise about privacy i can see more and more companies changing T&C to cover their asses even more (if that’s possible!) in eventuality they get sued for breach. And M$ has a lot of lawyers on payroll.

  10. Mitch, not just federal law enforcement but entire bloated federal government apparatus. Think IRS and DOE and DOI.

  11. Joe D- there’s likely many more tech literate people than I. But, if you are looking for Microsoft options, I use Apache Open Office and Ubuntu operating system. Both free/open source.

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