[Air-L] NSA and privacy?

Charles Ess charles.ess at gmail.com
Sun Jun 9 21:29:51 PDT 2013

On 10.06.13 02:21, "nativebuddha" <nativebuddha at gmail.com> wrote:

> Here's a splendid interview with Snowden:
> m.guardiannews.com/world/2013/jun/09/edward-snowden-nsa-whistleblower-surveill
> ance 

Yes, splendid indeed - in part as it evokes a political question: Snowden is
hoping for asylum in Iceland. And beyond the political question of whether
or not Iceland will do him the favor - does it ultimately make any

That is: given (a) the global reach of not simply the technologies but these
particular NSA systems, etc. - as they are (b) apparently fully complied
with by the corporate powers that, to put it in a somewhat oversimplified
but still not entirely false way, own and manage "the Internet" (Google,
Cisco, and the rest of the usual suspects)
- where these corporate powers, being businesses and all that (you don't
have to be a Marxist here, or even a scholar of political economy, though it
helps) have the pressures of profit as primary motivators, not staunch
defense of human rights and democracy
[something most of us conspire with, however passively, as we consume and
use their "free" services, etcetera ad nauseam]

(c) - can any single government, or even the E.U. (and, e.g., Norway, which,
while not a member of the E.U., has data protection laws at least as
stringent, and in at least one way even more so), stand as some sort of
alternative domain / system that can successfully establish significant
barriers against (a) and (b) in the name of human rights and democracy -
while still connected, of course, to "the Internet"?

As many here know better than I, the recently implemented E.U. data privacy
regulations concerning cookies (basically, users are asked to opt-in to the
use of cookies before proceeding further) made Google, Facebook, and other
U.S.-based firms apoplectic: this will "break the Internet," they said
Mine still seems to be working, thank you. But the current regulations under
review will not only be still more stringent but also have real teeth -
significant fines based on global revenue for violations. Based on recent
reports, the U.S.-based resistance - exemplified by boatloads of lobbyists
in Brussels - is, understandably, even more fierce.

There's already a great deal, of course, both in the scholarly and more
popular literature, over these differences. I have some suspicions here (and
even a bit of hope - however contrary such hope may seem to the U.S.-based
powers that be (political, economic, corporate), and consumer complicity
therewith). But I would be very interested in and grateful for the thoughts
and reflections of list members with more detailed knowledge and insight on
these matters than I have (a pretty low bar ...) as to how these debates,
already pretty fierce, may be affected and play out in light of the NSA
activities, etc.?

Many thanks, finally, to Robert for kicking up this thread, and to Rick for
the rich and articulate backgrounds and springboards.

- c. 

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