otago massacre

freedom and darknets by ophalm
May 5, 2009, 9:03 pm
Filed under: philosophy, politics | Tags: , , ,

posted by ophalm

I’m a bit keen on freedom and liberty. not surprisingly privacy is also strongly linked in with those concepts. some people think that “if you aren’t doing anything wrong, you have nothing to hide”.. those are the kind of people who are all for the cctv cameras in the octagon. it might reduce crime, but so would other methods that didn’t require making records of normal people doing normal things.

recently I read this article from here and here is some of it

The most common retort against privacy advocates — by those in favor of ID checks, cameras, databases, data mining and other wholesale surveillance measures — is this line: “If you aren’t doing anything wrong, what do you have to hide?”

Some clever answers: “If I’m not doing anything wrong, then you have no cause to watch me.” “Because the government gets to define what’s wrong, and they keep changing the definition.” “Because you might do something wrong with my information.” My problem with quips like these — as right as they are — is that they accept the premise that privacy is about hiding a wrong. It’s not. Privacy is an inherent human right, and a requirement for maintaining the human condition with dignity and respect.

Two proverbs say it best: Quis custodiet custodes ipsos? (“Who watches the watchers?”) and “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Cardinal Richelieu understood the value of surveillance when he famously said, “If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged.” Watch someone long enough, and you’ll find something to arrest — or just blackmail — with. Privacy is important because without it, surveillance information will be abused: to peep, to sell to marketers and to spy on political enemies — whoever they happen to be at the time.

Privacy protects us from abuses by those in power, even if we’re doing nothing wrong at the time of surveillance.
We do nothing wrong when we make love or go to the bathroom. We are not deliberately hiding anything when we seek out private places for reflection or conversation. We keep private journals, sing in the privacy of the shower, and write letters to secret lovers and then burn them. Privacy is a basic human need.

A future in which privacy would face constant assault was so alien to the framers of the Constitution that it never occurred to them to call out privacy as an explicit right. Privacy was inherent to the nobility of their being and their cause. Of course being watched in your own home was unreasonable. Watching at all was an act so unseemly as to be inconceivable among gentlemen in their day. You watched convicted criminals, not free citizens. You ruled your own home. It’s intrinsic to the concept of liberty.

For if we are observed in all matters, we are constantly under threat of correction, judgment, criticism, even plagiarism of our own uniqueness. We become children, fettered under watchful eyes, constantly fearful that — either now or in the uncertain future — patterns we leave behind will be brought back to implicate us, by whatever authority has now become focused upon our once-private and innocent acts. We lose our individuality, because everything we do is observable and recordable.

is this something we need to think about? surely as we grow up we need to be aware of these things, because when people don’t protest governmental decisions to do away with rights, freedom and privacy; those rights are lost.

and as part of this I’m thinking of what it would also be like for otago university to have a dark net running. something where students could anonymously log onto a darknet and share information, talk to one another, not scared of any kind of authority.. maybe I’m a bit paranoid.. I don’t think I am but it’s something that should be considered?


12 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I like your idea. Darkent is a great idea and I do not think you are paranoid, just logical and right.

Comment by economicus111

WASTE is a pretty good darknet program.. the only thing is that it’s kinda worthless without people using it and for 99.9% of time would sit idle. if it was possible to get like >10 people on it, it might be worthwhile

Comment by ophalm

I agree that “if you’ve done nothing wrong you’ve got nothing to hide” is not a valid excuse. Alternative solutions….?

Comment by strangelyanonymous

I was thinking about this a while ago. TOR is pretty good privacy wise and has some nice apps that run on it (private messaging etc.) but it was really too slow to do anything than look at. :/ An otago darknet would be pretty interesting though I don’t know how many people would use it..could be good for NORML advocates though esp after the business with the undercover police last year

Comment by criticalwat

in order for people to use it it’d have to be easy to use. either way it needs to be something decentralised if it’s to be worth anything

I don’t think there are alt solutions. that’s the point. our privacy is valuable because it’s a right. when we take a dump there’s nothing wrong with that but we (mostly) don’t want people watching
do I not understand what you’re saying

Comment by ophalm

actually waste is pretty ideal. it’s decentralised, secure, has all-in chat.
it’s not terrible simple to set up but a easy how-to guide could be written. might get a few other friends to set up so no-one can identify anyone as anything

Comment by ophalm

No, I meant in terms of reducing crime in the Octagon, are there reasonable alternatives to CCTV that would be as effective (and they are effective, to some degree – not that I’m supporting it)?

“it might reduce crime, but so would other methods that didn’t require making records of normal people doing normal things”

Comment by strangelyanonymous

well, it’s not like I think CCTV is the worst thing, it’s just that it’s so open to corruption and misuse and doesn’t just observe but takes a record

I don’t know what the problems are to be honest so it’s hard to comment, but I imagine just having more lighting and some form of community patrol would be a large deterrent for most of the issues.

Comment by ophalm

The crime problem may indeed need more patrol and harder sentences and these two are the best deterrent in my thinking

Comment by economicus111

generally, does harsher sentences prevent crime? I don’t believe it does, I don’t think the evidence shows that it solves problems. in the US they tend to have that approach towards crime in the more conservative states.. doesn’t seem to do anything?

eitherway, I’d like to see evidence that harsher sentences really prevents crime

Comment by ophalm

what are the chances that alcohol is involved in all of these instances? maybe if we made alcohol safer – scientists invented a new kind of alcohol lately that works better, maybe that is the key?

Comment by raincoat-h8r

what? how can there be a different kind of alcohol? you’re idea is fucked mate

Comment by ophalm

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