Is the SAFE Network Safe?


#1

I’ve been quietly followed this project for a few years now (back then of course it was LifeStuff) with a keen eye to see where it goes. In terms of the technology it’s definitely very interesting but ethically I’ve always had a hard time with it. I have no doubt that many of you will have had similar concerns and wonder if anyone has a good argument for how such a system can be used safely.

“Can people be trusted to have complete anonymity on the Internet?”

There are of course legitimate benefits that could be enjoyed by many people who live under oppressive regimes if they could use the Internet without fear of being persecuted. However there are also, of course, many things that are dangerous about it.

If we rephrase the question so that it’s applied to the physical world then it would look something like:

“Can we trust perfectly disguised people to travel freely around the world?”

The distinction between where the physical world ends and the virtual one begins is rapidly becoming more blurry. Presently, if a person wanted to they could live their entire life without ever leaving their house and other than physical touch (which will be available at some point via cybernetic implants) they can achieve almost as much as they would by actually venturing out of doors. They can talk to friends, buy food, play, earn an honest living, steal, vandalise, extort, participate in rape, etc.

So I suppose this means that the two questions are really one and the same. I’m sure nobody’s going to try and convince me that people in the physical world should be allowed to run rampage and never face justice. This is why I struggle to see how the unbridled use of a technology like the SAFE Network can be considered “safe”.

Call me naïve (which I’m sure many may) but the average westerner can gain an adequate level of anonymity just by using an email address that doesn’t spell out their name. Of course it will very often be possible to trace the email address back to the real person but unless this person is at real (not imagined) risk of persecution then total anonymity is not required.

The average westerner is not attempting to overthrow a government run by a despicable despot. Sure targeted advertising can be annoying and maybe someone at Google’s currently laughing at my holiday photos but if the price to pay for that “lack of privacy” is a world where serious criminals aren’t handed a carte blanche then it’s clearly worth it.


#2

What if governments and corporations decide to police thoughts? If something like SAFE Network does not exist then there is nothing to stop them. If there is nothing to stop them then as soon as the technology enables them to do it then why wouldn’t they?

Corporations and governments aren’t any more kind to us than the criminals you speak of. It’s not really about anonymity but about how you will store your thoughts in a world where everyone is under surveillance all the time for no reason at all.

Transparency is a good thing but unless you’re prepared to go outside in front of your peers naked and endorse a nudist outlook then you have to determine where to draw a line in the sand. If SAFE Network doesn’t exist then there is no line between where you end and the computer begins. Who owns the data on the computer?


#3

Safe to learn the things deemed illegal,
Safe to believe the “unbelievable”.
Safe to teach the unbelieving.
Safe to speak out when those that call me evil, have told me that I must not speak.
Why, oh why do they fear me?


#4

Interesting points there Luckybit.

I suppose you could say that governments and corporations already have that capability; with tweets like “I’m getting hungry”, “down the shops”, “I’ve just eaten a burger, yummy”, “sleepy”, etc. etc.

There is obviously masses of data on the internet…you’d probably struggle to class even 20% of that data as information of even slight importance though. The exact same would be the case if our thoughts could be read. All day I have very important thoughts…but only as far as I’m concerned. I’d be flattering myself if I thought the government cared about what I’m doing.

Governments and corporations will typically be interested in trends and this can in fact be very useful. A simple example of this is a small project that Google worked on a few years back where it prediced outbreaks of the flu by region based on the number of people in a region searching for terms related to symtoms of the disease.

Obviously bodies could also use this big data for more sinister reasons, quashing uprisings, pre-empting massive lawsuits, etc. etc.

Unless I’m mistaken though governments and corporations will still be able to analyse much of the data within the SAFE Network. They might not be able to trace the sites author easily or shut sites down but they’ll surely be able to crawl sites on the network. There’d also have to be a good search engine running on the network or else nobody would find your website and what would stop this search engine becoming the next Google - or even being Google? Unless I’m mistaken JavaScript is going to be used for sites within the network and sites can know about you (or an alias at least). What is there to stop the site from building up a picture of who you are and targetting you with advertising?

Sorry, I didn’t intend to digress but now that I have it’s raised another question - I may well be showing my ignorance of the technology here. If I run a web site I cannot be traced or shutdown and I can do what I want on my site; accept SAFE Coins, credit card details, etc. If you are a user of my website and decide to pay me what’s to stop me from ripping you off?


#5

I believe this is true. This forum is filled with a wide range of ideologies that sometimes can skew the actual functionality of the network (from my understanding). But it appears to me that SAFE is essentially just a distributed file server with the ability for private or public access. So yeah, there’s nothing stopping anyone becoming King of the Mountain in a particular angle/industry.

Agreed, but this applies to the current web as well. Anonymous + No History = Don’t Buy Goods. The difference is that if you’re paying with Safecoin/Bitcoin, then you have to be even more cautious.


#6

Nothing; at least as far as MaidSafe is concerned. But then the SEC exists and Bernie Madoff was able to make off with a heck of a lot of cash. We don’t blame the entire stock trading system for that.

It isn’t MaidSafe’s responsibility to police these issues.

Also, reputation is a factor in business. If people are getting ripped off by a particular website, then the word will spread, and people will hopefully stop buying from that website. The reverse is true, in that honest websites will develop a good reputation and people will buy from them. This is the same as what goes on now.

Granted, it would be harder to track people down and punish them for theft and fraud. But I think the benefits far outweigh the costs.

Also, there has been discussion here and on the maidsafe dev blog about problems such as child porn. The idea was raised that instead of ‘shutting down’ that material, it could be pushed to the fringes by the app developers building apps in such a way that this content would not show up. Digital shunning, if you will.

The fact is that when any system exists, there will be individuals and groups that attempt to thieve and defraud others. There will be people who will attempt to use said system for negative and/or nefarious ends. The fact that these phenomena exist, is not an argument against that system.

My understanding is that websites, as a publicly shared file, will indeed be findable online. We make information public so that others can see it. That means that we don’t really mind whether governments, or Google can access it. The difference with MaidSafe is that it will include the ability to make some info truly private. Such a capability does not exist in an easily accessible form right now.

Why is this a problem? If they can’t identify you (meaning who you are) and you don’t mind frequenting a site that includes advertising, then go to that site. If you don’t like it, don’t frequent that site. I do not believe that advertising, in and of itself, is of major concern. Data mining is a problem I see, but I’m much more concerned with said data being connected to my identity, than the fact that they have anonymous data that says ‘60% of people on the MaidSafe network enjoy ice cream’. It’s the databasing of people’s personal details and the identification capabilities that I see as the real issue.

Indeed. Although one cannot avoid the (attempted) quashing of an uprising in any public forum, whether it is physical meetings, internet forum meetings, or encrypted chat. The problem here is that even if everything is encrypted, the situation requires large numbers of people to coordinate their actions. The chances of infiltration grows with every new member. If you are suspicious of new members, you may drive them away, or limit the growth of an uprising/lawsuit. If you are free and open, your opponents know your moves before you make them. It only takes one person infiltrating an organisation like this to inform on their activities, regardless of the structure the organisation is working under.

How would one vandalise online? If you mean hacking then yes, people can do that. It’s likely never going away, regardless of the system it occurs under. Physical vandalism also still happens in my society, regardless of the laws and systems put in place to punish the offenders after the fact. What about your society?

How would one extort online? Forum threats? Hacking ransoms? See above.

How would one participate in rape online? Incitement? Egging on? The problem is not digital at all, rather that someone is online and willing to engage in the actual physical rape that occurs.

The overall message I think I would impart here is that MaidSafe and other improvements to civilisation-as-we-know-it are not meant to give us Utopia. They are meant to improve aspects of the status quo.

I think your concerns are valid, but as it stands today, highly motivated criminals can engage in all of these activities already, under a blanket of strong encryption and VPN’s. Because most criminals are highly motivated not to get caught, they take the extra effort of seeking and employing methods of not getting caught. For this reason, I would suspect we may not see much of an increase in such behaviour on MaidSafe.

Persecution is not the only issue. Many non-criminal people around the world (perhaps millions, perhaps billions) are uncomfortable with having their privacy breached. Some may feel comfortable having their government sorting through their emails (for the public good, of course), but many do not. I, for one, consider privacy to be a right.

Also, with the current design of the internet, it’s not only your identity that can be discovered; it’s your physical location (via IP address). Coupled with location information, people can discover your address. I’m not comfortable with that. MaidSafe makes it possible to release that information if you want to.

Not right now. But all things change. Hitler was voted into power. And imagine if he had had the capability of the NSA/GCHB when he was in power. Based on data they have access to, he could have wiped out his entire opposition overnight. Can we trust that these powers will not be used nefariously in future?

I strongly disagree, as you may already guess :wink:
I don’t necessarily believe these criminals would be handed a ‘Carte Blanche’ with MaidSafe. The possibilities for abuse are there, but the possibilities to combat the abuse also exist. The network’s success will come down to whether developers create functionality that addresses these concerns sufficiently, and whether the market of users will demand solutions.

The very same argument (yours: we should sacrifice privacy for security/to combat criminals) could be made against the 4th amendment of the US Consititution, or the right in some Western countries to not have your privacy breached in lieu of a warrant. This is a dangerous notion.

Yes, but that doesn’t mean that the status quo is acceptable or good, and that we shouldn’t take the capability away from them.

Regardless, they are your thoughts. The government has no right to look at them. As with your emails and communications.


#7

Interesting points there Luckybit.

I suppose you could say that governments and corporations already have that capability; with tweets like “I’m getting hungry”, “down the shops”, “I’ve just eaten a burger, yummy”, “sleepy”, etc. etc.

There is obviously masses of data on the internet…you’d probably struggle to class even 20% of that data as information of even slight importance though. The exact same would be the case if our thoughts could be read. All day I have very important thoughts…but only as far as I’m concerned. I’d be flattering myself if I thought the government cared about what I’m doing.

I think the problem with trusting authority is it assumes the authority will never change their attitude. If you look at what happens overseas you’ll see the level of oppression often increases as governments gain more technology. If you’re familiar with how information security works then you also know that the more human beings with access to your information the more risk there is to it leaking/being misused.

Governments and corporations will typically be interested in trends and this can in fact be very useful. A simple example of this is a small project that Google worked on a few years back where it prediced outbreaks of the flu by region based on the number of people in a region searching for terms related to symtoms of the disease.

We are all interested in trends. What makes those traditional institutions any more important than if we formed a distributed community and decided we are interested in trends? The distributed community could be global like the UN while also being local. Nationalism would not get in the way, nor would politics, and in that way you would have the ability to investigate with less political bias and corruption.

Obviously bodies could also use this big data for more sinister reasons, quashing uprisings, pre-empting massive lawsuits, etc. etc.

Those are some of my points. Why couldn’t SAFE Net use big data to keep corrupt individuals out of power? Of course we would need to first form a consensus on what a corrupt individual is but the ability to crowd source investigate can actually have positive uses. They call this sousveillance which unlike surveillance is directed at authority.

Unless I’m mistaken though governments and corporations will still be able to analyse much of the data within the SAFE Network. They might not be able to trace the sites author easily or shut sites down but they’ll surely be able to crawl sites on the network. There’d also have to be a good search engine running on the network or else nobody would find your website and what would stop this search engine becoming the next Google - or even being Google? Unless I’m mistaken JavaScript is going to be used for sites within the network and sites can know about you (or an alias at least). What is there to stop the site from building up a picture of who you are and targetting you with advertising?

I see it like this, if someone wants your data why not let them purchase it from you? Why should they go through Facebook, Google, and all these different companies to get your data? If they really need your data they could buy it from you. If they can’t buy it from you then they’d buy it from people who know you and who you interact with.

The difference here is they would have to ask for your data. It wouldn’t just be stolen from you and then given to them(unless you were hacked). Also you would be able to define the terms. When Facebook gets your data they could give it to literally anyone on the planet. That data could find it’s way into the possession of the wrong people.

Sorry, I didn’t intend to digress but now that I have it’s raised another question - I may well be showing my ignorance of the technology here. If I run a web site I cannot be traced or shutdown and I can do what I want on my site; accept SAFE Coins, credit card details, etc. If you are a user of my website and decide to pay me what’s to stop me from ripping you off?

If you have a reputation and your website has a reputation then you will not be able to get away with it for long. Also why do you believe SAFE Network makes crime fighting impossible? It’s more technologically sophisticated but it’s not impossible.

I think there are arguments you could make about these technologies. I’ve made these same sort of arguments at first (ask David Irvine, and Greg Maxwell). One of the first concerns I had was the possible criminal uses.

But I also realize that law enforcement are going to enforce the laws even if the laws are oppressive. This means if in the future technology allows the government to tap into our thoughts or to try and use algorithms to predict whether or not we will commit crimes then they’d do this even if it were worse than the crime itself.

So the same way you fear the criminals getting too much technology some of us fear the balance shifting too far toward law enforcement. Should law enforcement fly unmanned drones over our houses and scan us all to prevent crimes? Do we want a relentless police state where we are put in an electronic prison to prevent crime?

Consider the fact that technological progress is never going to stop. The goal should be to have the maximum amount of security and autonomy we can have. The maximum about of liberty and security we can have. If a technology can provide an increase to both liberty and security then it’s better than a technology which costs liberty to provide security.

Facebook costs liberty to provide security. SAFE Network provides security and increases liberty. For example the current Internet allows a hacker to get millions of people’s private information. I’m sure you trust them not to abuse that right?

If you don’t trust the hackers who break into websites hosting your private information why would you trust the government or corporation? Why would you trust corporations or the employees who work for them? People who work for the government leak information and people who work for corporations leak information.

So if you’re focused on security for yourself you would want to prevent leaks. SAFE Network doesn’t allow employees to access anything so there isn’t a way to leak. That is a massive accomplishment for security because even the NSA can’t keep it’s secrets safe due to leaks.


#8

Having said all of that I did think that anonymity in cryptocurrency would be abused and so far it has. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t see valid uses for anonymity at the time.

I think any technology in the hands of malicious individuals (mallory) is going to be abused. I also see these technological advances as inevitable (and even strategically necessary socially) so it’s a situation now where if you’re not a malicious actor its important that you’re not a late adopter.

Should you hesitate to adopt so that malicious actors gain an even wider advantage? What good is that? They’ll take the technology or even the whitepaper and develop code in secret so it’s likely some people already have all these capabilities and it’s only the rest of us who miss out.


#9

At least in the case of email/communications they could have an excuse to want to see what you’re saying. You could be part of a conspiracy or there could be some victims.

But if we are talking about your thoughts or your diary etc then there is no reason why the government, Google, Facebook or anyone has any business reading that.

People need a place to store private information. This could be a place for them to test out new ideas, store their medical records, or anything else.

If it’s information someone does not want to share then we should not require they share it.


#10

The possibility that I ‘could be’ a criminal is not enough for government to take away my right to privacy. Probable cause (meaning some form of evidence or reasonable suspicion) is. So if the government believes I am involved in crime, they have the right (under my society’s laws) to apply to a judge to get a warrant to be able to read my emails and tap my communications. I was referring mainly to the current state of affairs, where the NSA et al has been intercepting and storing this information on a mass scale, and without individual warrants.

Perhaps I should make a clearer statement:
The government has no automatic right to read my emails/communications by default.

In terms of your diary, this is certainly something that the government would indeed seek out as evidence against you during a search. For the same reasons you mentioned. As far as your thoughts go, one could imagine a case being made that law enforcement could be granted warrants in the future to use that capability. Hopefully after presenting their claims and suspicions to a judge.

Other than that, I agree with you.


#11

In a time of war or civil unrest then they do have the authority and justification to do this. You’re right that they should require a warrant and I believe there is a process with the FISA court to acquire such warrants.

But I don’t think they need blanket surveillance. If they need to have blanket surveillance then what exactly is the threat? Who are we at war with where they have to spy on people who don’t have any power or connections to terror suspects?

I guess I can see and understand that in some cases a government might need it but it’s also the sort of thing which can be abused if the wrong individuals are in the wrong positions.


#12

Could someone point out this post. I must have missed it? Thanks…

Yes, this is the problem. All you have to do is look to the current issue of the IRS targeting conservative groups and those groups members because of their political leanings. The government is using data to find and oppress people today.

There is the rub, it’s already happening. If you stand against the status quo (the lobbyists, the politics of big government) you are already being targeted. They are not being marched off to camps, yet, and I hope it never happens, but like you say, things change and things can change quickly if you know a lot about the person you label the enemy.


#13

This is the one, I believe: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/maidsafe-development/uDwbIcjZCAc

Precisely. I have been watching this with interest. Those familiar with the intricacies of the Ron Paul election campaigns of '08 and '12 also have an understanding of how deep the corruption really goes. Ron Paul supporters in the US were listed as extremists and federal agents, as well as police were advised to approach with caution when encountering people with Ron Paul bumper stickers. The Campaign For Liberty, which Ron Paul founded, is now under IRS investigation, after refusing to release the names of all of their members/donors. Regardless of which side of the political line one decides to stand on, this does not bode well for liberty in future, when political dissenters of any kind can be harassed and intimidated.

Yes. I personally believe that one more major terror attack could spark something truly frightening. On the other hand, I have never seen more people aware of these issues, and actively searching for solutions to the problems. Which, of course, is why we are here :smile:

But oh how quickly people forget the lessons of history. I don’t want to get too political here, but I think the majority of us would agree that Bush’s use of presidential power crossed the line in a rather serious way. Previous authorisations of presidential power and executive orders came back to haunt the USA in a rather obscene way. Most of the groundwork was laid in preceding decades, but the rest they simply pushed through in a time of great fear. And I would note that the ground taken by Bush has not been ceded by Obama; rather, it has been expanded further. These changes may turn out to be disastrous. And times of great fear will, in all likelihood, come again.

So I consider MaidSafe, and other efforts to decentralise, an effort to oppose vested power, and to change the world in a way that is peaceful.


#14

The whole left vs. right political argument is a farce IMHO. Its the statists trying to polarize freedom loving people against one another so they can continue to help us be safe from each other. That is why I love distributed systems. Liberty minded folks are everywhere, in every political group. We have just been told they are the enemy :wink:


#15

Here is an example of the power the government has. I’m not sure if they always had this power but the fact that they let it reach the news makes it seem like they are trying to intimidate people with it.

This guy was an American citizen even if he was a traitor.

I think what people have to realize is SAFE Network does increase security. It increases security for the user. It also increases freedom for the user. Someone posted my post to the development group but that post shows that I always have been concerned about the potential abuse of the SAFE Network.

But I also see it as a strategic necessity. I do not believe more surveillance produces more security. Surveillance produces security only to a certain point and then it becomes oppressive. The reason it becomes oppressive is mission creep.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/15/AR2007081502430.html

It starts out as something only to be used in cases of counter terrorism. Over time the establishment which writes the laws for us turns that surveillance into a tool for law enforcement to go after drug dealers, and then other people they don’t like from there.

Private prisons make profit from housing prisoners

Because of the way our lawmaking works (or doesn’t work if you think about it), and the way our justice system is broken (and biased to protect certain demographics), you can understand why some of us don’t want to give law enforcement of a particular nation God-like power which they can then be made to abuse by corrupted lawmakers.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/15/AR2007081502430.html

It’s not about national security anymore when lawmakers start passing laws which have nothing to do with national security. Law enforcement will end up protecting the borders from illegal immigrants, chasing drug dealers, and targeting vice criminals. I’m sorry but I do not support these uses of law enforcement.


#16

The authority? What does that really mean? Does that mean that they have passed laws allowing them to do this? Does the law make it right? If we are talking about the USA, does the Constitution have any bearing on these laws? The 4th Amendment is clear in it’s language. If the US government is founded upon that document, then can a congress pass a law that circumvents it? Or is the Constitution the Supreme Law of the Land? If so, those statutes are null and void. They have the authority if we grant them the authority. Are our rights negotiable depending on the circumstances? Can they be suspended if someone in power decides they are ‘inconvenient for the situation’, or if it is necessary for security? Or are they sacrosanct? And if a ‘right’ is not sacrosanct, how can it be a right? What would it even mean? That when times are good, the government ‘allows’ us these rights?

See, I had always assumed that rights were instituted in law to prevent the government from breaching them. It is precisely when government is suspending your rights that you need them the most.

Yes, there is supposed to be a process with the FISA courts. However, they have been issuing blanket warrants. This is not in the spirit of the law that was passed. The revelations of Snowden/Greenwald have shown us just how fast and loose they play with these warrants. (As you note also)

All of this amounts to pointing out that despite the protections of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, they’re doing it anyway (in the USA. By the way, I’m from New Zealand, which has had it’s own surveillance debate recently, regarding a lad named Dotcom. They’re doing it anyway here, too).

Modern democracies were built on a foundation of liberties and rights. These rights were instituted into law because past governments had abused them, and people understood that government must be restrained if it is to be useful, rather than abusive. If we allow those in power to dilute those rights in the name of pragmatism, then we do it at our peril.


#17

I absolutely and wholeheartedly agree with this. The left/right paradigm is controlled opposition, no matter which horse wins the race. The solution is not going to come through necessarily opposing the statist system. Rather, we can spend our time building a working alternative that frees people from having to be subjected to it. And then the possibilities are endless. Glad to meet you!

To LuckyBit,
And here I was reading your previous post and assuming the worst! I take it back.

The case of Al-Awlaki was a clear and grievous breach of his rights. Any citizen of any country should have the opportunity to defend themselves in their respective courts, guilty or otherwise. Due process.

Exactly.

Boiling frogs. Slowly.


#18

OK so what I’m hearing is that there will be an element of censorship within this network (digital shunning). I understand that the content can’t be removed completely but it could be buried quite deeply. Does this not contradict the fundamental ideology of such a network?

Google is obviously very powerfull and there are many concerns about it’s practices, however the fact remains that it has a brilliant search engine and small developers aren’t going to be able to develop such a beast. For content to be found on the SAFE Network there will have to be search engines and the best one will become the most powerfull in terms of influence because they can control what people can and can’t see. This content that’s pushed out to the fringes will be the same content that’s pushed out just now and is in the likes of TOR or small communities built on a by-invitation model.

Now why would something be pushed to the fringes? Well I suppose it’ll be for the same reasons it is just now; it’s uninteresting, suppressed, illegal, etc.

You’re going to have two types of entity; service producers and service consumers. My understanding is that with the SAFE Network the service producers can enjoy anonimity, can’t be shutdown, etc. On the other had service consumers don’t really have a whole lot more freedom than at present. The producer will be able to develop a system that does whatever is possible now, inspecting files, determining public IP address, etc.

So if I’m an average service consumer do I get anything that I don’t have with the Internet? I already have ready access to potentially censored services and optional fringe services.

Let’s flip the last question on it’s head. If I’m an average service consumer what do I get with the Internet that I don’t have with the SAFE Network? I have the ability to call upon law enforcement to get clearly illegal content removed, I have an emerging “right to be forgotten” and also have the nude pictures an old girlfriend posted of me removed from Facebook. These are bigger risks to the average westerner in the current era than having the NSA looking their emails about gardening.

The fact that things like child-porn, terrorist propoganda, etc., etc. cannot be removed from the network is dangerous. This is a real danger, not an imagined one. Yes it can still be very hard to get this removed from the Internet and is an uphill battle but it is possible. The majority of benefits that I see are imagined, Hitler II could come into power, the NSA care about what I’m up to, etc. I argue that the average westerner (who is a data consumer) would enjoy less, not more, safety on networks like SAFE.

With SAFE it could be possible for powerfull bodies to make use of the network and be more nefarious than at present. With the Internet people can group together and protest against bodies (even though by questionable means - website defacing, DDos, etc.). I take it that this won’t be possible on the SAFE Network.

There have been many links posted to news articles and the people commenting have obviously read up a great deal on government corruption. This makes me wonder if the world is so bad at the minute as you’ve obviously been free to discover this…and it’s not all been through services like TOR.


#19

Not if the user’s of said network are the ones who are shunning it. It would be achieved by some sort of consensus.
What, in your opinion, is the fundamental ideology of the network?

Valid concern. Although I would posit that SAFE will initially not be as gargantuan as the regular internet, and that search providers may grow and adapt with it. Also, at one time, Google was a small developer.

Likely. Not will.

Privacy. Anonymity. Encryption. I’d call that a whole lot more freedom.

Your ‘right to be forgotten’ on SAFE is automatic. All of your data is yours to control. EG if I was designing ‘SafeBook’, I would design it in such a way as to create the structure of FaceBook, but only as an intermediary for people’s contacts. I would never see the data, never even have access to the data. The data would only be shared directly with people that you expressly authorised. This is because your data only exists once on your portion of the SAFE network. It is still true that someone you authorised to see your data could go and post it on a website somewhere. But then you made the data public. You are responsible for your data. Ok, granted, your old girlfriend could post your (previously taken) pictures to SAFE and make it public for all to see. These issues and others are why this forum currently exists; so people like yourself can come here and ask them and create discussions about them to try to resolve them. I, for one, do not know the answer to that particular issue. But hang around, keep asking the question to different people, get involved and help create the solution.

It’s not the gardening emails I’m worried about. It’s when a citizen questions the next war, or when the NSA steals pictures of my wife’s lingerie pictures, or when they database our medical histories. Are you a programmer? If so, do the current and coming capabilities to database and analyse all human activity to predict and influence human behaviours, to know everything about your life, not concern you? Can you not see the potential for incredible harm? I’m frankly not fussed with most governments conduct at the present time, but I’m not gonna hand them my data on a platter.

First, the fact that child-porn exists is not a danger in itself. It’s already there. It’s like playing whack-a-mole (on the current internet). But most people are reasonably satisfied that you can’t easily google it. I don’t see you arguing for the internet to be shut down because it currently exists there.

The first Hitler wasn’t a figment of anyone’s imagination. Nor were Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Castro, Pinochet, and countless others. Sometimes governments, and indeed societies, go wrong. My question to you: What precludes the possibility of it happening again? Would you be comfortable with a Hitlerian or Stalinist leader having the power that the NSA currently exercises?

And if the NSA don’t care what we’re all up to, what in the world do they need to record nearly all of our phone calls for? Why do they need to collect all of our emails? Why do they need our metadata?

Why would there be any less safety on the SAFE network?

How?

Yes. Thanks to the current internet, we have had the ability to share information as never before. Unfortunately, portions of it are being filtered and blocked. As a small example, recently a high school student in Connecticut went to research the issue of gun control for a class debate. He found that pro-gun websites were blocked, while anti-gun websites were not. Now, given the school shootings in the USA, there is probably a reasonable argument that could be made that they blocked pro-gun websites to try to avoid kids glorifying guns, or some such. One problem. Democrat websites were not blocked, but GOP (Republican) websites were blocked. So were anti-abortion websites and Christian websites, while their counterparts (pro-abortion/family planning and Islamic websites) were not.

Now, I understand that this is not government. I would even argue that any private institution has the right to block information on their provided web service, for any reason. But if you know anything about Australia, heck China(!), then you know that they have filters blocking sites that not only contain child porn (which was the justification in Aus), but sites containing political opinion also. Are you comfortable with this?

I don’t think people are blowing things out of proportion by being (very) wary of allowing our governments to monitor our emails/phone calls/social network use. As I said before, we have a right to privacy. It is an important right.

Oh, and right here on the forum itself:

Comfortable with that? Perhaps you may be, but when you get out of the garden, and want to oppose something government is doing, you may find yourself with a different perspective.


#20

I believe the United States government must abide by the Constitution no matter what. I don’t know whether or not this is true in practice.

I would say it likely is true that they do abide by the Constitution but you have the supreme court which can reinterpret the Constitution.