Joined: 09 Feb 2007
|Posted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 2:13 pm Post subject: The Open Conversation : Privacy versus Secrecy
|I've struggled to find the right title for this thread, to be general enough to go beyond the two topic threads that I am thinking of comparing - I'm provisionally settling for " The Open Conversation : Privacy versus Secrecy " because I'm thinking that the general collection of data in such a way that people can use it to blackmail and manipulate others is a separate issue to specifically targetted surveillance which usually sounds more offensive but could be argued to actually be potentially benign ( not that I am about to do so.) The subject matter could range over thousands of ears - oops, - years of events, issues and methods ranging from eaves'-dropping on people to dropping people off eaves in order to acquire the sorts of information that they would in all likelyhood have simply told you of their own free-will if only you had written them a nice letter ... of course in the United Kingdom we have been privileged for centuries to have these small courtesies done for us : for as little as the price of a 1/2 d the Royal Mail undertook not only to carry your letters for you but also to open them, read them, throw away all of the begging letters and junk mail, and reseal and forward only the most important and interesting ones ( provided that the snails in the pillar boxes didn't beat the post men or women or employees of undeterminated agender to those letters in the first place.)
I find the fact that I now only get junk mail through my letter box like extortionate bills and suspiciously informational leaflets upon what to do if I want to offer my opinion to the Welsh Government to be very odd. Exactly why should I be required to fill in their census forms or to confirm to them that I have indeed died and no longer wish to be recorded on the Cardiff City County Council's Commercially Conveniently Constructed Electoral Register ? And why, if they already know that I am dead and have recorded the fact that I am buried in Cardiff City County Council's Commercially Constructed Conveniently Countrified Crematorial Commemoratory Cemetary, do they need to threaten me with fines and / or imprisonment for not declaring this to be the case myself ? There is an obvious public interest issue here in the sheer expense involved of initiating court proceedings, issuing subpoenas, digging up my corpse and storing it to await appending to it expert medical opinion as to whether I am fit enough to stand trial, the usual delays involved in having dug up the wrong corpse due to those same old filing erors in the City Cemetery that happen in City Hall ( not to mention having to placate the Catholics afterwards who will have figure out how to reverse the last rites they administered - and get in a whole college of Jesuits in order to be able to win the argument with the local board of rabbis as to how to get their man out of the Jewish section ... perhaps he might be made into a convert posthumously ? )
... I mean, I could go on but ... surely all of these sorts of problems could be averted if we had good reliable data on everybody, if all of our records - medical, tax, national insurance, educational qualifications, library cards etc were simply held under one single unique number for everyone which could be tattooed onto our forearms at birth - ? Even better, we could be discretely microchipped : this is now a tried and tested technology on cats, dogs, cattle, horses which have such things implanted invisibly under the skin enabling them to be identified by scanning them with an electronic wand - and, more importantly, in the case of some kinds of livestock such as horses it is now illegal not to microchip them and those found without this form of identification can be sent to the ... er ... um ... how about " The Princess Anne Happy Hospice for Hopeless Horses " - but surely we shall not tell small pink frilly nieces what that really means, will we ? I mean, some things such as these will just have to be kept secret because the indiscriminate telling of facts may introduce unnecessary unhappiness into the world, whereas believing in such nice niece fantasies is so much better. We'll get some small pink frilly Labour and Cooperative Assembly Member to stand in front of this abattoir with a big smile on her face whilst accepting a big red thrillingly post-dated cheque from one of our local suppliers of ready-meals for the owners of pets.
To put it another way, if you did find a fly in your soup and with your nice niece's small pink frilly pocket fairy wand you found out that the Welsh Government had microchipped it for you - well, wouldn't that then help you to be able to determine how it got into the food supply chain in the first place and so potentially improve not only your own private health but our collective public health too ? AND !!! If we microchipped all of the flies, or just a significant proportion of them as maggots, when this will be easy to do, we could build a computer system - the technology already exists - to launch into outer space, expensive I know to begin with but it would thereafter be solar-powered and so we'd be able to get a grant for that, and we could then moniter from distant satellite orbit any and every bluebottle, blowfly and buzzing insect that we liked or disliked. We could collect massive amounts of data in order to fully understand their life-cycles and thereby intervene at critical moments in subtle ways to prevent them from overwhelming us, and if we notice any of them behaving oddly and not conforming to the algorithms which we have written, by which we define their conformity to their species' niche in our society's delicately balanced ecology, then we can target those deviant individuals in order to thoroughly investigate them. We must especially investigate those which seem to have developed any sort of resistance to our methods of control e.g. those which are refusing to eat shit any longer and are hunting around all over the place for other sources of nourishment besides.
The fact is, that if there are no insects left who are prepared to eat shit then the whole ecological balance of our system will be undermined : this sort of dangerous evolutionary activity must be opposed whenever and wherever it is discovered. In order to stop it from happening we need to be able to study this problem scientifically : we need to embark upon the mass collection of data from as many sources as possible, using as many methods of analysis as possible, about as many species as possible, confirming as many wild speculations as possible - and then we must use this data to identify those critical individuals who have become differently adapted and are showing signs of evolution ... those who have developed traits which are new to us and may be of use we shall make the greatest possible efforts to domesticate and exploit for our greater benefit. Those however whom we discern to have reverted to primitive traits and thus can be demonstrated to be throwbacks of a degenerate devolutionary sort, whom if allowed to inter-breed with our domestic stock will re-introduce those features associated with their feral ancestors, must be prevented from procreating those traits by intercourse with those others in our care : they must be either neutered or naughted. Gadflies especially are the most dangerous sorts of insect ...
Yeah ... took a short cut again, but I got there in the end - that is more or less a good metaphore for the relationship between the two things that I have been talking about on these two threads -
Communications Bill : A Blackmailers' Charter http://repwblic.informe.com/viewtopic.php?p=1747#1747
Surveillance Issues http://repwblic.informe.com/viewtopic.php?t=267
In the first instance the collection of data sounds as if it could be fairly neutral and unthreatening, since it does not ostensibly direct its interest towards individuals in an intrusive way and it seems to have a sense of equality and fairness about it for those whose data is being collected. But there is no equality or fairness between those whose data is collected and those who collect the data : nobody embarks upon this sort of mass data collection without counting the cost or figuring out the profit to be had in using it. This is how Google works : they provide you with a search engine and in searching for things you provide them with information to sell. Quakers like to use Yahoo groups apparently - so I ended up with a Yahoo email account, but I don't like it because Yahoo ( hopefully by anonymising the material obtained ) read every email, many of which may be confidential, and then they present me with advertisements for " Quaker Oats " and " Young Friends " - and the latter are definitely very disturbing ... unsurprisingly there is nothing free either in real life or in this virtual life, but some data collection is not anonymised but placed on view for anybody who can get access to it. As the internet has developed and various pink frilly nieces have turned into sullen moody Goths and - OK ! OK ! - sullen moody Emos and Retro-hippy-chicks and er ... well, I'm actually quite worried about the other one because she didn't want to go to university but bought a pin-stripe suit and got a job and started saving for a pension ... anyway, once they were born it proved to be impossible to severe their umbilical attachment to the internet which started from an early age. You'll understand that adopted uncles have very little authority over surrogate nieces once the novelty of being held upside down has worn off, which generally happens on the evening of the day that they first go to kindergarten and come home pubescent.
Now I do occasionally draw upon my life to provide material for my absurdistically surreal illiterations, but I'm not giving much away there about my surrogate nieces and I only mention them because they provide me with examples of why to worry about the trail of data which they have apparently left across the internet which might draw unwelcome attention to themselves later on in life, most certainly if I gave into their nagging and took out a Facebook page which they then connected to. In fact lots of people have said to me that ' Repwblic ' is a failure, that I am talking to myself here and that I would have a much bigger audience on Facebook. Well given that not much is actually said on Facebook, that it is essentially a means to facilitate social grooming - * lol * - ? - I bet that's wrong - and phpBB provides what I find to be a congenial format that is more egalitarian than the blog format, whereas the negative aspects of Facebook do not appeal to me. Whilst the webstats of Repwblic are quite healthy, the appearance of lack of interest because people do join in and add to the discussion reflects the fact that most people do not read anything but twits any longer, or write anything longer than twits either.
Now I live in Wales - well, mark time, tread water, sadly subsist here - and it is not as liberal a society as many assume, and whilst prior to 1792 it was perfectly respectable to be a Republican, since then 220 years of United Kingdom propaganda have manufactured the idea that Republicanism advocates the use of violence, secrecy and subversion - which for me is the complete inversion of what Republicanism is. I would be inclined to count these deluded ideas to be complete nonsense and something to be dismissed out of hand were it not for the fact that these ideas about Republicanism were created by the propaganda of the United Kingdom in order to project its own nature onto its opponents. Republicans were steadfastedly peaceful, painfully scrupulous in holding themselves accountable to others in word and deed, and committed to upholding the rule of law and conducting themselves in such ways that demonstrated the value of constitutionality which they were advocating. But the constitution of the United Kingdom was then and still is corrupt, this a state which is possessed of a promising outward appearance but it has an unpromising inward apparatus which operates in various ways to maintain the power of those who control it in order to protect their interests and therefore it must deny its own true nature and ascribe it therefore onto others.
One of the ways it does this is that when pressures build up in society and those small number of people who address them start to agitate and organise to try to relieve the problems involved, often calling themselves Republicans ( because they object to blaming these or those in society and believe that everybody should work together towards a solution because we should all have goodwill towards each other,) and the situation in society boils over into big demonstations or even worse into rioting ( sometimes the result of agents provocateurs sent in by the United Kingdom for the following purpose ) - it is these people, who are the ones actually trying to solve the problems, who find themselves being blamed for them. The instability of uncertain times natually makes people anxious and they want to find not so much log term solutions as people to immediately blame for their anxiety, to punish for it, and they like to have their actions sanctioned by someone in authority. This is sort of on the level of " Nanny State, why am I going to bed without any supper ? " " Because Father Christmas made me lose the National Lottery ! " " GOSH ! I HATE FATHER CHRISTMAS !!! "
Looking at it from this sort of angle, historically the United Kingdom has maintained itself by deflecting the blame for the political situations that it has created onto those it has actually harmed by defining those who have protested against it to be perversely opposed to its benevolence, whilst those who in desperation defended themselves against this benevolence it claimed to be ungrateful rebels engaged in criminality - or even Republicans persuading others to overthrow the United Kingdom in the bloody violence of ' revolution ' ... purposefully disregarding the fact that in Republicanism the descent into bloody violence by definition can not result in other than a regime founded upon who can hand out the most bloody violence ... in other words, most typically a monarchy like the UK or the modern USA. To blame any political theory for having predicted the likely consequences of a government policy and persecuting the advocates of it is just plain stupid : the number of people who seriously debate such things is always very small, the events that frighten governments into doing stupid things are not driven by high-minded intellectuals but by low-minded opportunists - and it is the latter who take their cue from the propaganda made by the United Kingdom against Republicanism to claim that it justifies what they want to do. Republicanism however is certainly not a political theory designed to privilege or justify criminality, because it locates the sovereignty of the state in the justice of its laws and therefore privileges none to commit acts of injustice - not even those pleading that they intended to end an injustice.
" Enemies " of the United Kingdom upon which it has conducted mass persecutions of in time of social and / or economic distress have variously included - in rough historical order - English, Jews, Welsh, Scots, Irish, French, Dutch, Protestants, Catholics, Negroes, Women, Parliamentarians, Royalists, Republicans, Catholics again, Protestants again, Scottish again, Canadians, Americans, Negroes again, Women again, Children ( caused by Women again ), Republicans again, English again, Welsh again, Irish again, Scottish again, Women again, Children again ( caused by Women again ) Germans, Poles, Russians, Italians, Elderly people, Jews again, Women again, Chinese, Germans again, Irish again, Women again, Disabled people, Jews again, Germans again, Women again, Children again, Negroes again, Pakistanis, Indians, Irish again, Scottish again, Welsh again, Women again, Children again ( caused by Women again ), Elderly people again, Disabled people again, - and apparently the English are going to be next to be blamed again, unless it turns out that Women are in fact to blame in general after all for producing all of these babies which they do not bring up right and so turn out to be people who ought to be blamed in order to save the United Kingdom from any sort of political reform that might prevent it from being the sort of political system which people who keep getting blamed for its failures want to reform ... In just tweaking this again, I'd like to note that this conjectured list written off the top of my head pertains only to those who were used to lay the blame upon within the United Kingdom and I ought to apologise for leaving out the Gypsies whom I'm sure would not want to have their share in the blame for everything going wrong ignored.
[ There is a slight possibility that the United Kingdom may be able to do a sort of religious somersault and abandon its supposed adherence to some sort of mostly Protestant Christianity, which was always doubtful, and try to re-found itself upon the proclamation of a new faith in Richard Dawkins as the saviour and defender of everything they now value. This will enable the renewed and redeemed United Kingdom to blame anyone who believes in God for everything that has gone wrong next time, and this could be a politically rather neat and egalitarian solution, almost a Republican solution ... it would allow the United Kingdom to avoid being subjected to such allegations as that burning people at the stake was racist or such claims that using various books of faith as fuel for the fires was culturally insensitive - I mean, such auto de fe and the barbeques afterwards could become not only positively multicultural events for their persecutors but also ecumenical multi-faith events for the victims ; these could become calendrical celebrations of some sort of new united national identity, one as firmly cemented together as possible by the bullshit of the United Kingdom's political advocates whose haloed portraits as secular saints might appear on their very own Facebook pages ... this is a moment in which to use your imagination to picture the new secular Winterval Festivities featuring Carwyn in a manger ... Rosemary must be hovering somewhere over this scene, strapped into some apparatus of government which carries her third and fourth over it, and she will be looking down upon Leanne who will be playing the shepherd and Kirsty who will be posing with a screw-driver claiming that she not only designed and constructed the whole tableau but also in time and on budget , which I guess leaves Andrew playing the virgin mother ? ]
... the future of religion perhaps ... ? ... http://www.landoverbaptist.org/news0104/christmaspet.html
gotta get some sleep, left these notes to continue - some hope !
( monsters, beds, parents give nightmares, reassure child projecting fear of what parents have done - rite ! need to be seen to do something but not willing to stop scaring child etc ie continue with policies and distract electorate - situation gets worse because policies same - blame the jews etc)
( politicians blame classes of people - a few inviduals are picked out to stand as examples, fixed up : this relationship ... observation and surveillance ? terms ? )
( sus laws led to fitting people up because the police had to prove they were right, authority on the basis of power is not authority because that is based on ' author ' ship ie truth etc )
any way to stop politicians etc doing this ? best thing is to make your views widely known - and mean what you say - but that doesn't make you invulnerable
need to maintain right to privacy and know where boundary lies because you need space within yourself to think and feel without coercon or manipulation - this space is not what most people take to mean ' private ' it is not ' secret ' but akin to deciding whom you invite in - you have the right to close your thoughts to others, it is necessary for mental health becase the feeling that you hae to disclose everything on demand is an aspect of authoritarian society - arguably facebook breaches this privacy