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Daniel Ellsberg On WikiLeaks, Google and Facebook

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the locking-out-big-brother dept.

Privacy 87

angry tapir writes "The Silicon Valley companies that store our personal data have a growing responsibility to protect it from government snooping, according to Daniel Ellsberg, the man who leaked the Pentagon Papers. Discussing the growing role of Internet companies in the public sphere, Ellsberg said companies such as Google, Facebook and Twitter need to take a stand and push back on excessive requests for personal data." Ellsberg spoke as part of a panel at an event from the Churchill Club, which included Clay Shirky, Jonathan Zittrain and others discussing the WikiLeaks situation.

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I dare say (5, Insightful)

Grapplebeam (1892878) | more than 3 years ago | (#34952110)

Those companies shouldn't have all our information either.

Slipper Slope Illustrated (1)

sycodon (149926) | more than 3 years ago | (#34952258)

Just recently a Swiss Bank employee gave to Wikileaks information related to a few thousand or so customers who have "secret accounts".

So now we've gone from government secrets to the private information of individuals. This is the Slippery slope in action. Sure...some will say these are tax cheats and deserve it, but the person who leaked this has no idea if these people actually cheated on their taxes.

Next, it will be private information of people who are of some political persuasion the leaker happens to dislike.

Re:Slipper Slope Illustrated (4, Interesting)

Zocalo (252965) | more than 3 years ago | (#34952554)

You are assuming that Wikileaks isn't going to censor the list to prevent that type of data going public, or that these accounts belong to individuals for that matter. While I'm sure that some of them will do, it's also possible that the list will include shell accounts for corporations and other organizations, possibly including organized crime and may even shed some light on the whereabouts of the billions that have been salted away by tin-pot dicators and other corrupt government officials. From what I've read about the leaker of the data the point of the leak seems to be more about what the Swiss banks are turning a blind eye to than the private finance details of individuals and chances are the leaked details will be focussed on this rather than some random Joe Public who has avoided paying some taxes.

I guess we'll find out in a few weeks though, unless the Bank of America data is going to follow the Cables.

Re:Slipper Slope Illustrated (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34952676)

You are assuming that Wikileaks isn't going to censor the list to prevent that type of data going public

You're right. I am indeed assuming that. Do do otherwise is foolhardy.

Re:Slipper Slope Illustrated (1)

Wocka_Wocka (1895714) | more than 3 years ago | (#34953276)

Do do otherwise is foolhardy

I don't think talking about excrement will help your argument.

Re:Slipper Slope Illustrated (1)

bhartman34 (886109) | more than 3 years ago | (#34956032)

You are assuming that Wikileaks isn't going to censor the list to prevent that type of data going public

Why should a sensible person assume anything different? Assange's MO seems to be, "We're short-staffed. No one's willing to help us publish their stolen data. Therefore, roll the presses!".

Re:Slipper Slope Illustrated (1)

sycodon (149926) | more than 3 years ago | (#34956536)

I find it disturbing that you are willing to leave these kinds of decisions to someone who:

* Has no fiduciary duty to you or anyone else.
* Has no moral obligation that they acknowledge.
* Is not subject to any kind of legal authority with respect to publishing information.
* Has demonstrated a disregard for the possible "collateral damage" related to released information.

Re:Slipper Slope Illustrated (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#34961330)

Has demonstrated a disregard for the possible "collateral damage" related to released information.

Did any collateral damage ever occur?

Re:Slipper Slope Illustrated (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 3 years ago | (#34961570)

"Has no fiduciary duty to you or anyone else."
WL has the same fiduciary duties as any other private organisation.

"Has no moral obligation that they acknowledge"
WL and Assange in particular promise their sources annonimity and maximum exposure for their material. Is keeping one's promise a moral obligation in your book?

"Is not subject to any kind of legal authority with respect to publishing information."
Are you implying freedom of the press is a BadThing(TM)?

"Has demonstrated a disregard for the possible "collateral damage" related to released information."
Crocodile tears don't impress me. If your concern is "collateral damage" then why are you ignoring the fact that the released information demonstrated the US military lied to the public in order to cover up real "collateral damage".

Re:Slipper Slope Illustrated (1)

Serious Callers Only (1022605) | more than 3 years ago | (#34953214)

the person who leaked this has no idea if these people actually cheated on their taxes.

What makes you think that?

Re:Slipper Slope Illustrated (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34954176)

The fact that they haven't had a trial?

Re:Slipper Slope Illustrated (1)

sycodon (149926) | more than 3 years ago | (#34956388)

Sometimes the AC is spot on.

Re:Slipper Slope Illustrated (1)

Serious Callers Only (1022605) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968608)

The person who leaked this managed the cayman island accounts for at least a few years, had a high up position in the bank and had access to the data on the accounts. As the purpose of hidden and offshore accounts is often explicitly tax evasion he most likely has a very, very, good idea of whether they cheated on their taxes and declared all their income.

He doesn't need a trial to know that.

Re:Slipper Slope Illustrated (1)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 3 years ago | (#34953476)

Just recently a Swiss Bank employee gave to Wikileaks information related to a few thousand or so customers who have "secret accounts".

So now we've gone from government secrets to the private information of individuals. This is the Slippery slope in action. Sure...some will say these are tax cheats and deserve it, but the person who leaked this has no idea if these people actually cheated on their taxes.

As long as the government continues to look the other way when the wealthy commit crimes (a readily provable truth) it would be unethical for someone with the ability to do so to not refer the matter to the public.

Next, it will be private information of people who are of some political persuasion the leaker happens to dislike.

Again, as long as governments operate this way (another demonstrable truth) playing by the same rules is more than reasonable.

Re:Slipper Slope Illustrated (2)

sycodon (149926) | more than 3 years ago | (#34956358)

As long as the government continues to look the other way when the wealthy commit crimes (a readily provable truth) it would be unethical for someone with the ability to do so to not refer the matter to the public.

So you are good with anyone deciding that some person has comitted a crime and deserves to have private information leaked?

Again, as long as governments operate this way (another demonstrable truth) playing by the same rules is more than reasonable.

So, since "government" leaks private information, then anyone can leak private information, even if the subjects are not in the government? Ever here what two wrongs add up to?

Re:Slipper Slope Illustrated (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 3 years ago | (#34954640)

You need to understand that if some data exists somewhere, it is likely it will be "leaked", "released" or "published". If it is damaging to someone - anyone - it is even more likely.

Nothing is going to be held back from this sort of exposure. Of what possible value would a list of accounts without names be? That certainly would not enable various governments to actually prosecute tax evaders. And giving governments the unredacted list but only publishing part of the information wouldn't seem to be in the Wikilieaks mold at all.

I don't think political persuasion matters much. This purpose is titilation and releasing hidding or secret information. This demonstrates the power of the leaker and the publisher and the powerlessness of the subject of the information. And believe me, it is all about the power.

Re:I dare say (2)

discord5 (798235) | more than 3 years ago | (#34953522)

Those companies shouldn't have all our information either.

Now if we can only convince everyone to stop giving out their information to them.

Let's take a look at facebook and twitter alone. I don't have an account, but sure enough some of my friends have public profiles. After about 10 minutes of googling I've found out that a friend of mine is nearly done building a house (with the address included, ideal for stealing building materials, such as copper tubes which is worth quite a bit these days), a woman I know has a bladder infection (really? why is this on the Internet?), a coworker has just gotten an achievement for a videogame that posted it on twitter (during work hours, productive friday I assume). A little googling reveals quite a lot these days, and most of the time it's stuff people put online without thinking about who can read it.

Re:I dare say (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 3 years ago | (#34954960)

I dare say, they didn't threathen us to get it.

Personal data == money (4, Insightful)

djlemma (1053860) | more than 3 years ago | (#34952122)

Something tells me that companies that have a lot of data on their users are going to be leveraging it to their own benefit, not the benefit of their users.. It's how things seem work these days.

Re:Personal data == money (4, Interesting)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 3 years ago | (#34952182)

It's how things seem work these days

Exploiting personal data for profit is nothing new. Spies, snitches and blackmailers have been doing that for millenia. And conning people out of giving out their personal data isn't new either. The internet just makes suckers get suckered faster and in the comfort of their own living room.

An admirable man (3, Interesting)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 3 years ago | (#34952142)

While I can't entirely join in with those who claim that Assange is a media whore, Ellsberg's low-key style in releasing the Pentagon Papers certainly makes him look all the more respectful. I'd recommend reading his memoirs [amazon.com] for a portrait of a truly committed and sincere American citizen.

Sadly, as I've gotten older, I've come to realize that American history isn't a straight path of progress, but a cycle of ups and downs. The gains we got in the late 1960s and early 1970s in weakening undemocratic power structures are pretty much all gone now.

Eheh (4, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 3 years ago | (#34952204)

Time heals all wounds. Ellsberg was a villified as Assange is now. But the decades of Bread and Circusses have dult your memory till it now seems all quant and harmless.

Those who dare to stand out are often the oddballs of society. And society rarely looks on them kindly. Nobody likes someone who rocks the boat especially while they are sitting in it.

So you have realized that history is not a straight line. Good for you. Now realize this. History books are written by people and people have motives.

History is NOT what you read.

Uhmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34952436)

I dare say history is what u read, but not what actually happened with ALL the diversity of life.

Some people read history, very few make it, and THEN someone else writes about it. Then the tea party and ID proponents rewrites it;)

Steeltoe anonymized;)

Re:Uhmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34954686)

Sometimes, but as Churchill said before WWII:

I will leave judgements on this matter to history — but I will be one of the historians

Re:Eheh (3, Interesting)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 3 years ago | (#34953072)

History books are written by people and people have motives.

History is NOT what you read.

You're right. HIstory books can't possibly represent the entire depth of human experience for each historical event. Just different people at the time an event is occurring will see that event differently and remember different details due to seeing the world through different individual filters and having different motives, the same thing occurs among historians. The good thing is that while history books are written by people, all with their own motives and their own filters, there are a lot of history books and a lot of historians, and the best research is always peer reviewed. So while we can't get a 100% accurate accounting of the past that represents the entire depth of human experience for that event, if we do enough research we can get a pretty good idea.

And Ellsberg was quite villified; the good news is that this generally means that as villified as Assange is now, history will probably remember him quite differently. :)

Re:Eheh (2)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34953332)

But the decades of Bread and Circusses have dult your memory till it now seems all quant and harmless.

Did you mean "dulled"?

Urban Dictionary: dult
a deliberately dumb or dull insult, used when replying to someone who said or
wrote something stupid or insipid.

www.urbandictionary.com/define.php%3F... - Cached - Similar

Now realize this. History books are written by people and people have motives.

History books are written by historians. Physics books are written by people, and people have motives.

Have a real history book [virginia.edu] about the 1920s; the book's full text is at the link, gratis. This book was required reading in a mandatory undergraduate level history class I took at SIU in the late seventies (I still have the paperback version). It seems that a lot of what went wrong in the 1920s was exactly the same as the 2000s, including a drug prohibition (the drug alcohol in the '20s), stock market crash, and a housing market meltdown (obviously, the 1929 crash and its resulting depression was worse).

This book is an attempt to tell, and in some measure to interpret, the story of what in the future may be considered a distinct era in American history: the eleven years between the end of the war with Germany (November 11, 1918) and the stock-market panic which culminated on November 13, 1929, hastening and dramatizing the destruction of what had been known as Coolidge (and Hoover) Prosperity.

Obviously the writing of a history so soon after the event has involved breaking much new ground. Professor Preston William Slosson, in The Great Crusade and After, has carried his story almost to the end of this period, but the scheme of his book is quite different from that of mine; and although many other books have dealt with one aspect of the period or another, I have been somewhat surprised to find how many of the events of those years have never before been chronicled in full. For example, the story of the Harding scandals (in so far as it is now known) has never been written before except in fragments, and although the Big Bull Market has been analyzed and discussed a thousand times, it has never been fully presented in narrative form as the extraordinary economic and social phenomenon which it was.

Further research will undoubtedly disclose errors and deficiencies in the book, and the passage of time will reveal the shortsightedness of many of my judgments and interpretations. A contemporary history is bound to be anything but definitive. Yet half the enjoyment of writing it has lain in the effort to reduce to some sort of logical and coherent order a mass of material untouched by any previous historian; and I have wondered whether some readers might not be interested and perhaps amused to find events and circumstances which they remember well which seem to have happened only yesterday-woven into a pattern which at least masquerades as history. One advantage the book will have over most histories: hardly anyone old enough to read it can fail to remember the entire period with which it deals.

As for my emphasis upon the changing state of the public mind and upon the sometimes trivial happenings with which it was preoccupied, this has been deliberate. It has seemed to me that one who writes at such close range, while recollection is still fresh, has a special opportunity to record the fads and fashions and follies of the time, the things which millions of people thought about and talked about and became excited about and which at once touched their daily lives; and that he may prudently leave to subsequent historians certain events and policies, particularly in the field of foreign affairs, the effect of which upon the life of the ordinary citizen was less immediate and may not be fully measurable for a long time. (I am indebted to Mr. Mark Sullivan for what he has done in the successive volumes of Our Own Times to develop this method of writing contemporary history.) Naturally I have attempted to bring together the innumerable threads of the story so as to reveal the fundamental trends in our national life and national thought during the nineteen-twenties.

Re:Eheh (1)

Steauengeglase (512315) | more than 3 years ago | (#34954034)

Now realize this. History books are written by people and people have motives.

That isn't the real crime (to be honest, our day to day news suffers from the same problem) and in the end it is simply what a history is, someone's view on an event, era or epoch based on the information they have at hand. The real crime is the "dumbing-down" of history (and yes, journalism). You can give me hundreds of pages of lies and if they have context, it still has some value to me. It lets me know your position and your biases along with what you distorted and where you got it from. It reveals new histories.

Re:Eheh (1)

bhartman34 (886109) | more than 3 years ago | (#34965334)

Time heals all wounds. Ellsberg was a villified as Assange is now. But the decades of Bread and Circusses have dult your memory till it now seems all quant and harmless.

Hardly. Ellsberg's revelations are still far and away more important than anything leaked by WikiLeaks. Ellsberg's information was actually new, and moved people to action. The only new information that I've seen or heard of in WikiLeaks' Afghan war diaries was the names of the Afghan informants. And the only people who wanted that information released was the Taliban.

As others have pointed out, WikiLeaks occasionally leaks something that's got social value. But mostly, it's just a vehicle for Assange's self-aggrandizement. He wants the media to bow down to him and organizations he's opposed to to fear him.

Re:An admirable man (1, Interesting)

bhartman34 (886109) | more than 3 years ago | (#34952746)

I can agree that Ellsberg is an admirable man, but I can't bring myself to think that of Assange.

Ellsberg, in a crisis of conscience, leaked a broad document detailing the history of the Vietnam War, most of which was secret. Assange leaked documents for the sole purpose not of informing people (because most of the information had come out), but to embarrass the U.S. In addition, Ellsberg's Pentagon Papers didn't have the same contemporaneous nature that Assange's leaks did.

What Ellsberg did can be seen as patriotic, but Assange is not and was not a U.S. citizen, so even if you think there was a value in having the information leaked, he did not do it for love of country. He did it to embarrass the U.S.

Most importantly, Assange's ethic is completely different than Ellsberg's was. Ellsberg, having an IQ above room temperature (Celsius) does not refute the idea that governments and institutions can and should have secrets, Assange, on the other hand, is apparently the oldest living patient to have been born entirely without a brain.

Re:An admirable man (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#34953516)

What Ellsberg did can be seen as patriotic, but Assange is not and was not a U.S. citizen, so even if you think there was a value in having the information leaked, he did not do it for love of country

All the more reason to respect Assange. Love of humanity is a more respectable motive than love of country.

Re:An admirable man (1)

bhartman34 (886109) | more than 3 years ago | (#34953766)

There's no such thing as "love of humanity". "Love" is too intense an emotion to feel for all of humanity. You might respect all of humanity (although I think that's a stretch, because there are certainly members of humanity who don't deserve respect), but love? No.

And even if such a thing is possible, you're deluding yourself if you think that was Assange's motive. Assange was simply trying to embarrass the U.S. That's all. You could plausibly say that the person who gave Assange the information had a higher motive, but Assange has shown, by his actions, that he's all about himself. Someone who was in it for higher motives would do what Ellsberg did, and face the charges against him, rather than fleeing like a coward. And someone who was in it for the love of humanity wouldn't a) threaten the banking system and b) have an "Insurance" file that he lorded over authorities in case he got caught.

Assange is simply a megalomaniac trying to cloak himself in "information wants to be free" bullshit.

Re:An admirable man (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#34954496)

Love is exactly as applicable to humanity as it is to country. Both are abstractions. Personally I don't know what Assange's motives are, but so far his actions are consistent with altruism. Between him and the US government, I'm far more willing to give him the benefit of a doubt.

Re:An admirable man (1)

bhartman34 (886109) | more than 3 years ago | (#34955190)

Love is exactly as applicable to humanity as it is to country. Both are abstractions. Personally I don't know what Assange's motives are, but so far his actions are consistent with altruism. Between him and the US government, I'm far more willing to give him the benefit of a doubt.

You shouldn't be giving either of them the benefit of the doubt. There's no real basis for doing so.

How are Assange's motives even a little altruistic? He unleashes all kinds of documents with only a token concern for who they'll hurt, does so selectively to further his own political agenda, and seeks at every turn to avoid responsibility for or the consequences of his actions. He's a media whore who enjoys playing with people's lives without having any accountability.

Re:An admirable man (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#34957086)

For someone who claims to think that the US government is undeserving of the benefit of a doubt, you're doing a great job of parroting their position on this subject.

Re:An admirable man (1)

bhartman34 (886109) | more than 3 years ago | (#34957812)

For someone who claims to think that the US government is undeserving of the benefit of a doubt, you're doing a great job of parroting their position on this subject.

Agreeing with one position they have on one subject does not equal giving someone a blank check. And my previous post doesn't contain anything that isn't apparent to someone looking at the situation with open eyes.

I'll ask again: How are Assange's motives even a little altruistic, based on the evidence?

Re:An admirable man (2)

gambino21 (809810) | more than 3 years ago | (#34958478)

I'll ask again: How are Assange's motives even a little altruistic, based on the evidence?

How about the fact that he is putting himself at great risk by exposing unethical and unlawful behaviour of the most powerful country in the world. There is a possibility that he will be locked up indefinitely in an American prison somewhere and not given a trial. Leading American politicians have called him a terrorist and/or called for his assassination. By making himself the face of Wikileaks, he's basically putting a big target on his head. And what does he get in return, fame? Maybe some money from a book deal which will likely be spent on legal fees. Would you trade places with him?

Re:An admirable man (1)

bhartman34 (886109) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960106)

How about the fact that he is putting himself at great risk by exposing unethical and unlawful behaviour of the most powerful country in the world. There is a possibility that he will be locked up indefinitely in an American prison somewhere and not given a trial.

There's also a possibility that I'll sprout antlers, but I wouldn't bet on it. There's virtually no possibility that Assange will face any consequences in the U.S., as he's not a U.S. citizen, and has broken no U.S. laws himself (because WikiLeaks isn't in the U.S.). You can always posit conspiracy theories where Assange is taken out by a Delta Force team, but there's no evidence that he is in any imminent danger from the U.S.

Leading American politicians have called him a terrorist and/or called for his assassination. By making himself the face of Wikileaks, he's basically putting a big target on his head. And what does he get in return, fame? Maybe some money from a book deal which will likely be spent on legal fees. Would you trade places with him?

1) I wouldn't trade places with him, because I wouldn't have done what he did.
2) Assange has gotten for himself international fame, a book deal, and an enormous soapbox. Don't forget: WikiLeaks has a political agenda. They're not doing impartial reporting. They publish the documents of people they want to see taken down a peg. He also has the protection of media companies and lots of lawyers donating their time. He's not a guy I'd get all weepy over.

Re:An admirable man (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34958824)

> How are Assange's motives even a little altruistic, based on the evidence?

He helped those people targeted for assassination by a corrupt African government.

But that was their first leak. You obviously weren't paying attention to WikiLeaks way back then. Just so you know, they've been leaking things for *years* before they got that stuff on the USA that put everyone into patriot mode, including all kinds of criminal wrongdoing that people would have liked to keep bottled up.

Re:An admirable man (1)

bhartman34 (886109) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960130)

I never claimed that WikiLeaks never did anything good. I asked about motives.

Re:An admirable man (2)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#34961124)

He has exposed many bad deeds at great risk to his safety and comfort. That sounds like altruism to me. I can't read minds, so I don't know what his motives really are. But I don't see anything that suggests otherwise. I would do the exact same thing in his position, but for fear of my safety.

Also, based on your other posts you seem to think that Assange having political motivations excludes altruism as a motive. I would argue that altruism requires political motivation.

Re:An admirable man (2)

bhartman34 (886109) | more than 3 years ago | (#34961494)

He has exposed many bad deeds at great risk to his safety and comfort. That sounds like altruism to me. I can't read minds, so I don't know what his motives really are. But I don't see anything that suggests otherwise. I would do the exact same thing in his position, but for fear of my safety.

You don't have to read his mind. You can look at what WikiLeaks leaks, and how it leaks it. You can also read his interviews (such as the one he did with TIME).

Also, based on your other posts you seem to think that Assange having political motivations excludes altruism as a motive. I would argue that altruism requires political motivation.

Altruism is a selfless concern for others. Assange isn't doing this out of a selfless concern for others. He's doing it out of a concern for himself (the world he lives in, the way people see him, the ideologies he espouses).

Donating to a charity that you don't benefit from is altruistic. Donating a kidney is altruistic. Running into a burning building to save a stranger is altruistic. Leaking documents of one's political enemies (whether they're good people or bad people, by any definition) is not.

Re:An admirable man (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#34965760)

You don't have to read his mind. You can look at what WikiLeaks leaks, and how it leaks it. You can also read his interviews (such as the one he did with TIME).

I have. I don't see anything inconsistent with an altruistic motive. You are the one making claims about his motives, demonstrate it to me.

Altruism is a selfless concern for others.

Yes, and uncovering evidence of bad deeds that don't affect you, and suffering for it, counts.

Re:An admirable man (1)

bhartman34 (886109) | more than 3 years ago | (#34965970)

Yes, and uncovering evidence of bad deeds that don't affect you, and suffering for it, counts.

You're assuming that the Afghan war diaries don't affect him. You're wrong in that assumption. Assange is unabashedly anti-war (and more specifically, anti-U.S. foreign policy). He gains quite a bit by attacking them without them being able to touch him. He promotes his ideology. He builds up his reputation in the media.

Get back to me when he exposes some scandal that has touched an organization he does support. (Come to think of it, leaking WikiLeaks' internal documents would be a great start.) Then I'll believe he's being selfless and altruistic. If he's deriving any benefit from his actions at all (which he is, obviously) then it's not altruism. He's just playing the hero while furthering his own ideals.

Re:An admirable man (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#34981702)

Assange is unabashedly anti-war

Yes. This speaks strongly to his altruistic motives. Is he anti-war because he has personally lost family or property to the war? Or is he anti war because war is evil and bad, and the world will be a better place without it? I kind of doubt that it's the former, as I haven't heard of any personal motivations to be against these wars. If it's the latter, that's altruism.

If he's deriving any benefit from his actions at all (which he is, obviously) then it's not altruism.

By that definition, no one is altruistic. Even the most selfless get warm fuzzies from their actions.

Re:An admirable man (1)

bhartman34 (886109) | more than 3 years ago | (#34982850)

Yes. This speaks strongly to his altruistic motives. Is he anti-war because he has personally lost family or property to the war? Or is he anti war because war is evil and bad, and the world will be a better place without it? I kind of doubt that it's the former, as I haven't heard of any personal motivations to be against these wars. If it's the latter, that's altruism.

He's against the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He's not against all wars [cnn.com] . He's against these wars for political reasons, because he doesn't believe they are just. He's perfectly within his rights to be against them. He may even be right. But he's not altruistic in this situation.

By that definition, no one is altruistic. Even the most selfless get warm fuzzies from their actions.

That's patently false. There are plenty of examples of people who perform great acts of heroism who derive no reward whatsoever from having done the action. There are people who willingly sacrifice their lives for what they believe to be right. As I said, Assange benefits a great deal more than just having the "warm fuzzies". To give you a more concrete scenario: I'd be much more inclined to think Assange was being altruistic if he supported the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and still reported against them. He picks and chooses what he'll support, and basks in the media attention (unlike a lot of people at WikiLeaks, who resent his attention-grabbing). As long as he's not breaking any laws (and we'll have to wait and see what the courts say on that), he has every right to do what he's doing. But it's obscene to hold him up as some kind of exemplar of selfless self-sacrifice, when it's so obvious that his motives in this case are so at odds with that interpretation.

Re:An admirable man (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#34984726)

So far, all you have said has amounted to claiming that because Assange is not a perfect man, he cannot be a good man. People are complex, and so is the world. It's entirely possible to be flawed and still be motivated by kindness.

For what it's worth, I've never called Assange a hero, or held him up as any sort of exemplar. All I've said is that his actions are not inconsistent with someone primarily concerned with injustice. That's a very small claim, and one which you haven't seriously challenged with any facts. What exactly has Assange done that can not be construed as primarily intended to help others?

You have some pretty bizarre ideas about altruism too. The way I read you, I can be altruistic all I want by myself. But once I enter politics and try to get those altruistic ideas implemented as policy, all of a sudden I'm acting out of self interest. Bizarre.

And even if I agreed for the sake of argument that what Assange did was completely, 100% out of self-interest, that doesn't make him a bad person. Many people who truly deserve the title "hero" have been motivated by self interest, e.g. Captain Sullenberger.

Re:An admirable man (1)

bhartman34 (886109) | more than 3 years ago | (#34985442)

So far, all you have said has amounted to claiming that because Assange is not a perfect man, he cannot be a good man.

I never said any such thing. No one is perfect. I would never claim otherwise. What I've been claiming is that Assange's motives in the leaks (particularly in the Afghanistan War diary leaks) weren't altruistic. He has an agenda, and part of that agenda is self-promotion. He could be a good and decent man in his personal life. I have no idea about that. I'm talking about a very specific situation, and about his motives in this context only. He could donate to 1,000 charities and adopt stray puppies, for all I know. That wouldn't change my assessment of his involvement in regards to WikiLeaks.

People are complex, and so is the world. It's entirely possible to be flawed and still be motivated by kindness.

That's entirely true. However, the milk of human kindness does not appear to be Assange's motive here. I base my conclusion on what he's said publicly, not on what might be floating around in his head, inaccessible to me.

For what it's worth, I've never called Assange a hero, or held him up as any sort of exemplar. All I've said is that his actions are not inconsistent with someone primarily concerned with injustice. That's a very small claim, and one which you haven't seriously challenged with any facts. What exactly has Assange done that can not be construed as primarily intended to help others?

How much of a help has he been to the U.S. military? How much of a help has he been to the banking industry? How helpful has his ethos, that government should not have secrets, been to discussions of government in general? My point is not that he doesn't have a right to hold his opinions or ideologies. My point has been that Assange's motives are as self-serving, just like those he opposes.

You have some pretty bizarre ideas about altruism too. The way I read you, I can be altruistic all I want by myself. But once I enter politics and try to get those altruistic ideas implemented as policy, all of a sudden I'm acting out of self interest. Bizarre.

Politics isn't about love of humanity. Politics is factional. A policy -- any policy -- that benefits one group detracts from another group. Your politics just defines whose side you're on.

To give you a concrete example: If I donate 20% of my income to charity, that's altruistic. I'm not getting anything from it, and someone else is benefiting. If I fight to have a law passed that everyone should give 20% to charity, that's not altruism anymore. Why? Because I'm not just taking my money. I'm taking other people's money, and giving it to the poor. It might be a good idea, or not, but it's not altruism.

Altruism is self-sacrifice. It doesn't cost other people anything.

And even if I agreed for the sake of argument that what Assange did was completely, 100% out of self-interest, that doesn't make him a bad person. Many people who truly deserve the title "hero" have been motivated by self interest, e.g. Captain Sullenberger.

That's absolutely true. It doesn't make him a bad person. But if he's acting out of self-interest, it's important to assess what those interests are, and not to assume that he releases the documents he does because he's such a nice guy who loves humanity so much. I would say, in the case of the Afghan War diary, that the motivation seems clear to me. If the information isn't new (which it doesn't appear to be), then the reason to release it seems to be to embarrass the U.S. There have been other leaks (such as the leak from Africa you discussed) which obviously weren't intended to embarrass the U.S. But in the case of documents that don't provide any revelatory news (which seems to be the case with a great many of the diplomatic cables leaked) the motivation seems to be to embarrass the people involved -- possibly with the subtext of, "Don't mess with us, or we'll embarrass you, too".

Re:An admirable man (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 3 years ago | (#34955304)

I think you dropped an "in" there.

Re:An admirable man (2)

Trailwalker (648636) | more than 3 years ago | (#34955886)

Assange was simply trying to embarrass the U.S.

If this is true, Julian was wasting his time. The U.S. government does this regularly, all by itself.

Re:An admirable man (0)

bhartman34 (886109) | more than 3 years ago | (#34955982)

Assange was simply trying to embarrass the U.S.

If this is true, Julian was wasting his time. The U.S. government does this regularly, all by itself.

Well, yeah, but at least they embarrass themselves with things they do in public. Assange could (knowingly or unknowingly) get someone killed by leaking classified material. And he doesn't have a journalistic ethic. If the NY Times or Washington Post gets a hold of a piece of information, they do the best they can to check it with sources in the government, and hold it back if it's got national security importance. They don't just say, "Well, no one's helping us redact this to make sure it's safe, and we're short-staffed, so fuck it, roll the presses!"

Re:An admirable man (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34956862)

1. Where is this "short staffed" bullshit coming from? I'm seeing this term a couple times now. 2. It's the media's job to report things the government may want to cover up. That is how society makes informed decisions. 3. The pentagon has stated that there have been no known deaths as a result of the leaks. They would scream from the hill tops and fox "news" if they did.

Re:An admirable man (3, Informative)

bhartman34 (886109) | more than 3 years ago | (#34957916)

Well, let's start here [thedailybeast.com] :

Asked why WikiLeaks did not review all of the Afghan war logs before releasing them last month to make sure that no Afghan informants or other innocent people were identified, Schmitt said that the volume of the material made it impossible.

Re:An admirable man (1)

bhartman34 (886109) | more than 3 years ago | (#34958112)

Sorry. The last post only answered where the "bullshit" came from. As for the rest of your post:

1) It's not the job of the press to uncover anything the government's covering up. Do you think that if the NY Times got a hold of the codes to the nuclear football, that they'd publish the codes? The job of the press is to report the news. Sometimes this includes information that might be embarrassing to the government, but a responsible press takes into account the impact of what they publish, and won't publish something that will endanger American citizens, even if the government rebuffs their request for help.

2) The way it works in a representative republic is that we elect people to make decisions for us. These people either have access to the information, or appoint people who have access to the information. It's simply ludicrous to expect every single piece of government information to be subject to the scrutiny of citizens. It's a psychotic notion, at best.

2) The enemy has stated that they intend to kill the people named in the documents. The fact that they haven't been killed (yet) doesn't mean that WikiLeaks didn't put them (or their families) in danger.

Re:An admirable man (3, Insightful)

bberens (965711) | more than 3 years ago | (#34953820)

I don't think Assange is as radical as you might believe. Something tells me if someone leaked complete/accurate documents on how to make nuclear weapons he would be unlikely to publish them. He's already exhibited the behavior of filtering some (all?) leaks through major international news organizations to minimize the danger to others. It would be really interesting to see what he's redacted.

Re:An admirable man (1)

bhartman34 (886109) | more than 3 years ago | (#34955664)

Okay, fair point that he's redacted some of what has come his way. But he's also threatened to let loose the proverbial dogs of war if anyone spoiled his good time, and filtering things through major international news organizations isn't exactly the way to keep things under wraps, if you're serious about that. (He complained that the U.S. government wouldn't help him redact the classified material properly, but if you're really taking your responsibility seriously, then you don't release documents that you're uncertain could get people hurt.) And Assange leaked the Afghan documents without redacting the names of the Afghanis helping the U.S. His excuse, as I recall, was that no one would pay WikiLeaks for the man-hours it would cost. (Boo-hoo.)

Re:An admirable man (1)

gambino21 (809810) | more than 3 years ago | (#34954106)

Assange leaked documents for the sole purpose not of informing people (because most of the information had come out), but to embarrass the U.S.

First, there's no way for you to know this, and it is counter to what he has said publicly. Second, even if his reason for leaking the documents was to "embarrass the U.S.", does it really matter? We should be looking at the content of the releases, not attacking the messenger for various grudges he may or may not hold.

Ellsberg, having an IQ above room temperature (Celsius) does not refute the idea that governments and institutions can and should have secrets, Assange, on the other hand, is apparently the oldest living patient to have been born entirely without a brain.

Can you please site somewhere that Assange has said that governments and institutions should have no secrets? The fact that the wikileaks releases were limited and redacted seems to demonstrate that Assange and the other members of Wikileaks do have an understanding that some information should be secret.

Re:An admirable man (0)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#34954936)

Okay let's look at the content of the releases. if there some damnable offenses in there then the opposite party will be jumping up and down and using that information againist the other party. So how many republicans, right wing speakers(glen beck, rush limbaugh, anyone on Fox news), or even right wing bloggers have said that the information is worth trying to get someone kicked out of office? None? not one? That proves that not only is the data not showing any kind of corruption but the fact that people who hate each other all agree it doesn't.

Where are the responses from other governments? China and Iran both say that wikileaks is a CIA operation and the whole diplomatic cable release is to keep the cover since there is no really harmful information in them.

It is just as valid as a theory as anything else. It has just as much evidence as everything you believe.

Re:An admirable man (1)

gambino21 (809810) | more than 3 years ago | (#34958850)

Okay let's look at the content of the releases. if there some damnable offenses in there then the opposite party will be jumping up and down and using that information againist the other party.

It sounds like you are not looking at the leaks. Instead you are looking at your political leaders to tell you whether the leaks are important. And I agree with you that the US political leaders are all (with a few exceptions like Ron Paul) saying there is nothing important in the leaks. That's probably what I would be saying as well if I were trying to protect myself.

Re:An admirable man (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#34959450)

It's not just ron paul though.

NO ONE is saying anything but slashdot users who are blindly defending wikileaks. No foreign governments, No UN speeches(other than you shouldn't prosecute over it), no news organizations, no random journalists, no bloggers?

Every time I mention this everyone on slashdot points to the cables, however millions have read them and said there really isn't anything shocking there. I don't find anything shocking there. it all seems like standard governments working against/for/around each other as normal.

To quote an old TV commercial Where's the Beef? Where's the juicy bits? Where's the stampede of lawyers/journalists/bloggers/or general people trying to get someone fired?

Re:An admirable man (1)

bhartman34 (886109) | more than 3 years ago | (#34955898)

First, there's no way for you to know this, and it is counter to what he has said publicly.

It's not really helpful to listen to Assange's statements if you want to know his motives. You have to look, rather, at the information leaked, and its potential value to achieve certain aims. Did the Afghan war diaries have any relevant information that wasn't already in the American press? Not for anyone paying attention. All it did, from what I can tell, is give an insider's look at things people already knew. ("You mean Pakistan is secretly not fighting as hard against the insurgency as it could?! Shocking!!")

The reason that the grudge Assange holds matters is that he's holding WikiLeaks up as if it's just a beam of light piercing through the darkness, exposing all corruption. It's not. Assange has a political agenda, and he's cloaking himself in journalism and free speech so that he can do as much damage as possible to his enemies (one of which is the United States, which I'm sort of partial to, I admit).

Re:An admirable man (1)

gambino21 (809810) | more than 3 years ago | (#34958730)

You have to look, rather, at the information leaked, and its potential value to achieve certain aims. Did the Afghan war diaries have any relevant information that wasn't already in the American press? Not for anyone paying attention.

Ok, let's look at the Afghan war diaries [wikipedia.org] . I find it "relevant" that there hundreds of civilians wounded or killed that were previously unreported in the media. The New York Times, Guardian, and Der Spiegel also believed that the documents had significant value.

The reason that the grudge Assange holds matters is that he's holding WikiLeaks up as if it's just a beam of light piercing through the darkness, exposing all corruption. It's not. Assange has a political agenda, and he's cloaking himself in journalism and free speech so that he can do as much damage as possible to his enemies (one of which is the United States, which I'm sort of partial to, I admit).

Ok, so let's agree that Wikileaks is not a beacon of light, and that Julian Assange is not a perfect human being. I honestly don't care that much about Julian Assange's personal life or what motives he has. I do care when my government actively tries to deceive me. And I think it's in the public's best interest to know about that when it occurs. In that respect, I think wikileaks has fulfilled an important role. And even though there were mistakes made in some of the releases, we are better off with the leaks, than without them.

Re:An admirable man (1)

bhartman34 (886109) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960318)

I find it "relevant" that there hundreds of civilians wounded or killed that were previously unreported in the media.

That I know of, they weren't unreported. What would happen is, the media would find out about an action, and the Afghanis would report one thing, and the U.S. would report something else. The fact that casualties occurred wasn't in dispute. It was the numbers.

The New York Times, Guardian, and Der Spiegel also believed that the documents had significant value.

Well, duh. You don't expect them to say something else, do you, when WikiLeaks is acting as a good source for them?

Ok, so let's agree that Wikileaks is not a beacon of light, and that Julian Assange is not a perfect human being. I honestly don't care that much about Julian Assange's personal life or what motives he has. I do care when my government actively tries to deceive me.

Frankly, I don't care about Assange's personal life, either. I care a great deal about his motives, though, because his motives determine a) what gets leaked, and b) what gets redacted. He's a guy leaking classified documents pursuant to his own motives. What those motives are is highly relevant, and the fact that leaking documents he considers to be important is more important to him than making sure no innocents are harmed by the leaks (as he demonstrated with the Afghan documents, regardless of if anyone's been hurt yet) is troubling.

Re:An admirable man (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34958726)

> Assange leaked documents for the sole purpose not of informing people (because most of the information had come out), but to embarrass the U.S.

Really? You don't think he found it unconscionable that our military contractors had hired "dancing boys" (underage male prostitutes) or you do think that had come out before? And what about when he leaked the information on assassination plans by a corrupt African government (his first leak). How did that come about to embarrass the USA?

This is the thing... you've created a motive to make him the kind of person you want him to be. It has nothing to do with all the other things he leaked, just this one big leak where there are more people screaming about how it hurts the USA than who are willing to examine the fact that maybe, just maybe, elements of our government have really screwed things up.

Re:An admirable man (2)

bhartman34 (886109) | more than 3 years ago | (#34960620)

> Assange leaked documents for the sole purpose not of informing people (because most of the information had come out), but to embarrass the U.S.

Really? You don't think he found it unconscionable that our military contractors had hired "dancing boys" (underage male prostitutes) or you do think that had come out before?

That wasn't part of the Afghan war diaries. That was a diplomatic cable. And no, I don't think he found it unconscionable. I think he decided it would be embarrassing for the U.S. And in fact, the incident was reported [washingtonpost.com] before WikiLeaks leaked the cable. The new information is that the Afghan government tried to squash the reporting.

And what about when he leaked the information on assassination plans by a corrupt African government (his first leak). How did that come about to embarrass the USA?

I have no reason to believe it did. We were discussing the Afghan situation, not Africa. Anyway, pointing to one or two incidents in the flood of documents released by WikiLeaks doesn't absolve Assange. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

Google (3, Informative)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 3 years ago | (#34952322)

Google already famously fought Bush's request to hand over search data on all users and then changed their policies to anonymize logs sooner.

They also fought the government in Brazil in handing over data on a group sharing photos over Orkut. To my knowledge, this is the only know case where Google did eventually hand over government data, after a judge forced them to. And the data was a group of child pornographers sharing pics.

And then there is this:

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/btl/google-wins-floating-data-center-patent/17266 [zdnet.com]

Re:Google (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34952658)

Google regularly shares your search data with websites you click on after a search, which is almost as bad (or maybe even worse) as sharing it with the government. This is done by default, and you're at the mercy of the website with your data. If they want to sell it to a datamining company who uses it to spam the crap out of you, there's nothing you can do about it.

I'm not saying Google is "evil" or anything like that, but check this out: http://donttrack.us/ [donttrack.us]

It might be enlightening.

Government is ALWAYS the problem. (1)

AlexLibman (785653) | more than 3 years ago | (#34952332)

Don't like companies like Facebook and Twitter - don't use them! I certainly don't. It's that simple!

The real danger to the Internet all of human civilization comes from coercive monopolies that some commie idiots are trying to empower with ever-more control over your and everyone else's lives with Orwellian propaganda slogans like "Net Neutrality". Then unaccountable mafia thugs who call themselves "government" will have 100% control of everything you do on any digital device anywhere!

Resist! Study Anarcho-Capitalist philosophy and economics. Don't vote - it only legitimizes their irrational religion. Don't pay taxes. Don't obey irrational laws.

Re:Government is ALWAYS the problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34952484)

Anarcho-Capitalism leaves no room for the welfare state, which means that quality of life in your utopia wuold be lower than some countries currently existing. Give up your juvenile dreams of fighting the system or whatever, and try instead to bring aspects of the Nordic countries to wherever you live.

Re:Government is ALWAYS the problem. (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#34952938)

Why is not possible to to have a higher quality of life without a welfare state than with one? Everything else is not the same of course.

Take a state in which certain members are rounded up and sent to gas chambers - say the Jews, the homosexuals, and the liberals. And in which anyone can be taken by the government and sent to the salt mines on a whim. And in which nobody is allowed to leave the state. But which has a welfare system in which the government pays the unemployed, the elderly, the sick, etc a good income (though of course most of them are just sent to the salt mines).

And another state which enshrines civil liberties and the government isn't allowed to kill on a whim, sending someone to prison requires convincing a jury that they should be. Travel is completely unrestricted. But there's no welfare system. The sick, the elderly, and the unemployed are forced to rely on the charity of others.

Are you really absolutely certain that the first state has a better quality of life than the second? You realy can't think of a case in which the non-welfare state would have a better quality of life than some other welfare state?

Re:Government is ALWAYS the problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34954262)

The maintenance of a welfare state requires people to care about their fellow citizens enough to accept high taxation for their sake. Barbaric murderousness is thus considerably less likely.

Re:Government is ALWAYS the problem. (1)

bberens (965711) | more than 3 years ago | (#34954336)

I can't think of a state that has existed in real life which has a high quality of life without having a health welfare system. There's plenty of states that have little to no government intervention and equally little government welfare. Places like the Bahamas. All that happens there is that wealthy people create shell companies there, but actually "live" in nice places with very healthy welfare systems.

Re:Government is ALWAYS the problem. (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 3 years ago | (#34961820)

"sending someone to prison requires convincing a jury that they should be"

I'm a tad suspicious of the US legal system due to the fact that the US has ~4% of the gobal population and ~25% of the global prison population.

Re:Government is ALWAYS the problem. (2)

AlexLibman (785653) | more than 3 years ago | (#34956370)

No one said anything about any "utopia"! I'm talking about the pure hard science of economics. (Not to be confused with the socialist corruption of economics that is based on political cronyism and not empirical reality.)

This is the creationism vs evolution debate applied to economics. Human ignorance and failure to understand complex emergence-based systems leads to perceived need for top-down order, whether from the church or from the state. Blind faith in coercive monopolies (governments) cannot reliably produce objectively valid results compared to a scientific process of open inquiry, open experimentation, and individual responsibility for the results (free market capitalism).

The Nordic Potemkin Villages are moderately wealthy (though still much poorer than comparable U.S. states) [freetalklive.com] , because they have been the most capitalist countries in the world for centuries, and it takes more than a few decades of welfare statism to destroy it, but their days are numbered. Every time those countries move to the left their economy nears collapse, so they move back to the right, and in spite of high government spending they have some of the highest levels of economic freedom anywhere in the world, which, along with cultural momentum, is what's keeping them afloat.

Private charity is an order of magnitude more efficient at providing for poor people than a government monopoly, because private institutions exist in a competitive environment and are directly accountable to their donors for providing cost-effective results. Government bureaucrats only care about their job security - the more they screw up, the better off they are.

Yes But (1)

takad (1946206) | more than 3 years ago | (#34952618)

yes, they hold part of responsibility , but the biggest part is on users who publish their personal infos then proclaim not to be published.

good timing relative to another article: (1)

bitingduck (810730) | more than 3 years ago | (#34952774)

His comments are especially appropriate in the context of another recent article: http://science.slashdot.org/story/11/01/19/2018206/US-Supreme-Court-Says-NASA-Background-Checks-OK [slashdot.org]

The waiver that the gov't is demanding that "low risk" contract employees, who don't deal with classified or even particularly sensitive information, sign lets them get access to anything they want from the googles and facebooks and twitters of the US.

It's one thing when it's your government (4, Interesting)

TomDLux (28486) | more than 3 years ago | (#34953430)

As a Canadian, I'm concerned about so many US companies having information about me, which they (may) make available to a foreign ( i.e., US ) government.

Even worse are companies doing work for the Canadian government, such as Loughheed and the Canadian census. Will our census information be stored somewhere in Tennessee or Idaho? Will US government employees be searching through Canadian data, searching for marijuana users or criminal Darwinists?

If it's in their interests, they'll protect it (2)

Julie188 (991243) | more than 3 years ago | (#34953908)

Looking to the application/cloud service providers to protect your personal data is like looking to a car dealership to tell you when you *really* need that repair. If they think it's in their best interests to protect their customer's data, they will -- but it's costly for them to do so (even to use encryption for all stored personal data), so what's their motivation? AND do we want other people protecting our data? It's our job to protect our data ... what we need are privacy laws/protections/policies that make it easier for us to control what's stored on us, when, where, for how long and how to get rid of it. I smell a booming area for Silicon Valley startups offering tools that hunt out info on you and walk you through the steps to get rid of it.

Julie
www.opensourcesubnet.com

LMFAO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34954056)

In other news, Ellsberg tells sharks they have a growing responsibility to protect us from marine predators...

I'm a navy vet, I wish he would die... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34954416)

Sooner than later.

Re:I'm a navy vet, I wish he would die... (1)

tobiah (308208) | more than 3 years ago | (#34955600)

who? why? what's this have to do with the Navy? Are you sure you posted in the right section?

Re:I'm a navy vet, I wish he would die... (1)

FrankHS (835148) | more than 3 years ago | (#34957688)

I'm an army vet and I think he is a hero!

Time to encrypt information stored in the cloud (4, Interesting)

jonniesmokes (323978) | more than 3 years ago | (#34954694)

The technology is there. I think it is time we finally start to encrypt information stored on web servers. Keeping the contents of email on servers encrypted is fairly do-able. But keeping facebook information private is a bit of an oxymoron. Someone could also produce a USB key which decrypts data (assuming a public/private key system) so that the private keys of individuals could be somewhat limited in how many copies need to be made. Still the headers of email, would be public, but if the account is anonymous and at least one reliable anonymizing mail relay is used, the system could work. I myself don't see my privacy as a big deal. Its the fact that the total privacy of all individuals is being compromised. That means any goverment or corporation able to access and search the data of Google or Facebook could quite easily suppress dissent or stop negative publicity. The email accounts of journalists are especially a concern.

For social networks, I think the solution, is to decentralize the system, encrypt it, and open source it, so it cannot so easily be searched and stored. Diaspora, while still in alpha, seems like a good direction to go. If the user's data is stored encrypted, then the user could issue and revoke public keys associated with the data. In this way "friends" could be managed instead of a simple binary flag in a centralized type system. The issuance and revocation of public keys would also allow for white lists to finally be made to combat spam. If one large internet mover (hear me Google?) started this initiative, then it would start to gain some real traction.

No system is perfect, but the the current system can be very much improved upon.

I don't get it (1)

thisisauniqueid (825395) | more than 3 years ago | (#34958540)

So it's OK to protect the information of individuals from the government but it's not OK to protect the information of the government from individuals?

I mean, I agree with all that, but I don't really get the logic when I really think about it.

Re:I don't get it (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34959620)

It's simple. The boss has the right to know what his employees are doing on his time as he's paying for it. In democracy the government is supposed to be working for us as we are the ones financing it, ergo we are it's boss and it's our employee.

Re:I don't get it (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34961714)

So it's OK to protect the information of individuals from the government but it's not OK to protect the information of the government from individuals?

Pretty much. Privacy is something that only a person can have, and government is not a person.

Personal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34959750)

I guess it should be called public data or just data.

There is nothing personal there anymore. Word "personal" lost on meaning. Every sentence with personal in it, is just a phrase.

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