In the US, to sell a political idea, it has to be seen as non-ideological. The branding has to paint a message of at least a "reasonable" or "balanced" position. In the very best case the position should appear downright non-political to the people primed to believe them; often referred to as "common sense solutions".
Since the dawn of history the "state" was always the biggest threat to the safety of it's "citizens", not external aggression.
This generally sounds like tin foil hat crazyness to people who have been taught to not have that thought by their political allegiances.
Yes, for the same reason that you replied to. Here, let me distill it for you:
>> (forgottenpass) This generally sounds like tin foil hat crazyness to people who have been taught to not have that thought by their political allegiances.
> (you) It sounds like tin foil hat craziness because it has been wholly discredited by tin foil hatters.
Do you see what you did there?
This group think leads to the easy classification of outsiders as "fin foil hatters", which leads to the lazy ad hominem. Agent provocatueurs don't have to be secret agents of the state - tasked by others in smoke filled back rooms, they are often well meaning group members attempting to marginalize those they consider "others".
If someone tells you your mother or father could potentially steal from you because their name is tied to your bank account, how does that make you feel? Do you feel like this person is right, or you do get defensive and say that could never possibly happen? Most defend their parents and their parents' trustworthiness. The same goes for their view of the State.
The difference between your parents and the State though, is that different individuals of varying trustworthiness move into and out of power. As this happens, eventually some bad actors will gain power, and those who depend on that established trust will be badly hurt.
Most libertarians are not "anarcho-libertarian", whatever that actually means, nor are we anarchists.
I think most of us agree that a state is important. The question, which people have been grappling with as long as there have been states, is how to make sure that the state is benevolent--that it actually works in ordinary people's favor, rather than degenerating into a relationship of oppression and exploitation.
The libertarian question, specifically, is how do you ensure that the state respects people's individual freedoms?
History has shown mass surveillance to be antithetical to individual freedom. So our goal is to abolish mass surveillance.
You said we're "so coddled by the benefits of a first-world government". Do you think MLK was coddled by his gov't when he was hounded by the FBI, sent threats, & imprisoned for his words? We are lucky that the surveillance capabilities of the state back then were much more limited than they are today.
Today, every email in your inbox, every text, every cell phone GPS coordinate, every draft in your drafts folder is plaintext in a big database. That database is searchable by bureaucrats you'll never meet. Even if they never type in "rayiner" specifically, this state of affairs is dangerous to the freedom we all enjoy. Just because we have it better than some unlucky people elsewhere, doesn't mean that we should stop trying to fix our own society here and now.
As for solutions:
> Today, every email in your inbox, every text, every cell phone GPS coordinate, every draft in your drafts folder is plaintext in a big database.
And whose fault is that? The government didn't create SMTP, SMS, webmail, etc. You can't have privacy from the government without creating a culture of privacy. We have a culture where people share extremely intimate information with their thousand "closest friends" via Facebook, Twitter, etc. People are not going to trust the government less than their random acquaintances, and people aren't going to demand privacy from the government unless the culture shifts such that they value privacy in other aspects of their lives.
> People are not going to trust the government less than their random acquaintances,
It sounds like you’ve never met an immigrant, a black person, or a poor person? Because that statement of yours sounds totally absurd to me.
> And whose fault is that?
That fault lies with the people directing the assembly of the information into the database.
But agreed with your comment on Internet anarcho-libertarians. That is not a view grounded in rough and tumble world reality. The state is necessary to the human condition. I just wish we had better ones that took a broader view.
That's why I'm hoping Tim Cook runs with what he is saying here. In principle, I can send iMessages that even Apple can't read. If you condition people to expect privacy, they will demand it from the government too.
Turning this back on the actual topic, though, what do you think the libertarian response to the problems in your last paragraph should really be? I can't think of any reforms which don't still depend on the state following its own rules for both what it's allowed to collect and what it can do with the data it does collect. Granted, merely having those rules--which we largely don't--would be an improvement, but it feels like it's in the "necessary but not sufficient" category.
It has? When?
Edit: for example, North Korea, Soviet bloc countries past and present, Fascist states...
That attitude sends society rapidly back to the concentration camps and starvation.
"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."
A precise example: "the Stasi" in East Germany during the 80s.
I find it tragically naive to see statists adopting this position as if they're the world weary travellers that don't wish to be bothered by the naivete of others that can't see the necessity of their chains, when the reality is closer to the exact opposite.
Sure, you can flatly insist "the ends don't justify the means" but this is begging the question in that it assumes the means in are unequivocally wrong. Most people aren't about to make that assumption when it comes to violence. In other words, the tack taken by our friendly anarcho-libertarian here is is a bit like hitting a baseball and making a dash straight for second base. Sorry, kid, but nope.
To get to second you've first got to convince us that all violence is absolutely, supremely wrong in each and every case. Only then will the "ends don't justify the means" argument have a leg to stand on.
This is a straw man that, quite frankly, I'm left scratching my head as to where you got it from. People commit violence when they can get something they want by doing so, and won't face repercussions for the violent act. The places around the world that are widely considered the most violent countries are those that have strong (sometimes authoritarian) central governments, and few rights individuals can exercise to protect themselves on a local level. Examples - China, Russia, Brazil, the Middle East.
The reason this is the case is because the vast majority of citizens in these locations are law-abiding citizens, meaning they won't break the law to own a gun to protect themselves, or take other measures necessary to ensure their own protection, other than depending on the government (either local or national). Then, what happens is government law enforcement fails, because we're human and we all make mistakes - national law enforcement may not be present, local law enforcement may be corrupt or incompetent, or hundreds of other reasons failure could take place. When the law enforcement fails though, regardless of the reason, those law abiding citizens who don't have any means of protecting themselves are now vulnerable to pretty much anyone.
I hope you realize, and can think deeply enough, to understand that the problem of violence is not one that has a binary solution to be solved only via monopoly powers of government. There are literally thousands of creative ideas that can be tried to combat violence...before resorting to coercion by the State. If you read the other posts here, you would understand how those ideas could be explored, and also why they have pretty much died out.
No libertarian or anarcho-liberterian lives in a fantasy world where they think they can just 'wish away' violence. They just understand the answer to violence is not as simple as a vote for 'yes' or 'no' on a ballot box. If that's the world you wish to live, then great. If not, I suggest you open your mind a bit, expand your thinking, and at least consider what the other side has to say.
Then there's anarcho-tyranny, where in a riff on the old theme of the upper and lower class uniting against the middle, the ruling class uses withdrawal of police resources against geographically distinct enemies. I've been told this has been done in D.C., which like NYC essentially forbids legal gun ownership (although when I was living Inside the Beltway, I noticed D.C. police and juries were rather sympathetic to genuine self-defense shootings).
I've observed this in the U.K. during Blair's regime, where rural areas were stripped of ... 2/3rds of their police, if I remember, and some suburbs that voted "incorrectly" were also said to have suffered, but it was less clear cut.
So this goes way beyond "When seconds count, the police are minutes away" and societal/governmental breakdown.
That doesn't mean Brazil is perfect, it's certainly not. It's a country with a lot of problems, but to say it is authoritarian is just straight-up false.
This is just a small list, there are many more examples if you bother to look for them.
Also, your use of the term "the State" is ambiguous. The State could mean a system of laws with law enforcement and dispute resolution. People believe in a system of laws - fight for it, even.
You have to remember: the state is a technology. It was developed by our ancestors to solve certain problems. It's not a panacea that solves every problem and I, frankly, only know straw men that think otherwise.
The reason there are very few remaining alternatives is largely because (in most systems of government today) the State has taken tax dollars from the private sector's solutions, thus starving them of resources, to fund it's own competing solution. So, the State is taking resources from it's competitors and then provide an alternative (normally at subsidized prices), which makes it's competitor's market share smaller and also sets pricing at unsustainable levels. There is only one outcome, ever, to this type of arrangement, regardless of whether or not the State actually offered the best solution to its citizens.
I find this very doubtful indeed. The state by and large spends money on things the private sector has no interest in, such as welfare systems; I fail to see how this starves/steals from private sector solutions (no one makes money by supporting old people; no one makes money providing medical help for the poor; no one makes money by polluting less; no one makes money off going to the moon, though lots of people make money off the research that comes from it, etc.)
2% or less admin costs looks pretty good. A universal basic income system would be better, but I'd be interested to see some private charities that do better than this.
> the private sector has no interest in, such as welfare systems
Absolutely false. Children take care of their parents, families take care of each other, friends offer housing and food to their friends. At best you can argue that the private sector has stepped back to the extent the state has stepped in.
> Children may take care of their parents, families may take care of each other, friends might offer housing and food to their friends.
At least one theoretical advantage to the state system that rarely gets talked about is that while its assistance also has the same conditionals, at least in principle, the conditionals are dependent on objective criteria. The state of your relationship to friends and family is immaterial; you don't have to accept terms imposed by religious charities or other organizations that will attach moralistic strings.
For one, by having multiple private sector organizations competing to solve a problem, you spread the wealth around society more evenly than if the government were the only one doing x.
Second, new ideas and better ways to do x can come from anywhere. By having only one organization doing x, you have to convince the person in charge of organization doing x to change how they do x in order to do x in the better way. If you have multiple, competing organizations trying to do x, the one who decides to do x in a better way gets rewarded by serving more customers and making more money.
Third, if you only have one organization doing x, when that organization fails to do x, then everyone who depends on x gets screwed. By having more organizations doing x, if one fails, there are always others to serve customers who depend on x.
More like a compromise between thugs. It solves problems only for those with the leverage to negotiate.
I think of it much along the lines of Kevin Kelly's "What Technology Wants" and his "Technium". Technology is an extension of evolution. A constitution is as much a technology as the alphabet or an iPhone. All have positives and negatives.
We hear about child celebrities getting cheated out of their income by their parents. We know this can happen but I guess we assume they are exception rather than the norm?
So even assuming that the powers that be have our best interests in mind, they are still people and are prone to make false assumptions about what's best for us.
Are you talking about this essay? http://www.paulgraham.com/say.html
And to further your point, I want to see the good in people and believe that those who hold power in positions in the State want to do good, and will do what they think is best, but that doesn't necessarily mean it is. The problem is when the State fails, whether it is because of incompetence, misunderstanding, misguided intentions, or true intent to do harm, those who are dependent upon the state are the ones who suffer.
They mostly believe the state is incompetent, or that at worse politicians can steal money or favor their buddies, etc. Doesn't go as far as to question issues of democracy, abuse, etc.
This is cringeworthy. I knew HN had a Ron Paul bent, but has it been completely overtaken by 15 year olds?
Go ask ANYONE, your cashier, your hairdresser, or the random joe working on your car -- the standard line of thinking isn't that the government is some nice friend and protector. The standard line of thinking is that government is dysfunctional and politicians are corrupt. You people pick up a copy of 1984 and suddenly you're all mini-orwells running around spewing your "insights" to whoever will stand around long enough to pretend they care.
> If someone tells you your mother or father could potentially steal from you because their name is tied to your bank account, how does that make you feel? Do you feel like this person is right, or you do get defensive and say that could never possibly happen? Most defend their parents and their parents' trustworthiness. The same goes for their view of the State.
Oh, wise sage, please enlighten us with more of your wisdom. Tell us the story of the bunny going to the store to buy milk this time!
That may be the standard response you get, but doesn't mean that is what they think. I'm sure that if you asked them how their day was going, you'd get a "fine" - which doesn't mean anything either. It makes more sense to look at actions than words: people still call the police if they get shorted a chicken nugget. Mothers still call the police to scare their rebellious teenagers straight. People still vote. So it is more likely that people are unhappy with the present government, but if they could just get their guy in office - then everything would be great. Give us a kindly king :)
As for voting, I'm to the point where I just vote on ballot measures and leave the actual races for elected positions blank, unless there's a socialist running in which case I vote against them.
Intelligent people can disagree on the ideal way to transition from our present system to a more preferable solution - but your statement isn't absolutely true. Voting does demonstrate a faith in the government. That faith may only be that the present system allows for a transition through the mechanism of majority rule, but it is faith none the less. As far as police interactions, I chose my examples carefully - they demonstrate a belief in the state beyond practical needs such as insurance claims.
Talk about "misuse of power" and you lose the attention of the very people you are trying to convince. It might just be the trivialities (and peoples desire to protect themselves from them) that create more fury and action that talking about the real issues.
I think it is smart of Snowden to take the tact that will resonate with the most people. It might be a sideshow, but it is a useful sideshow that might move the ball forward on the big issues.
Yes, everything you said about the state was correct -- but, because digital information is so free and open, you are no longer making a choice about what the government should know or not, you're making the choice about what the entire universe should know.
So sure, sign me up for the lessons we can draw from history. But we're creating something even more monstrous than that, if such a thing were possible. We're creating (or trying to create) a 4 billion person clan, where everybody knows everything.
That's whacked in a way far beyond just destroying our lives and our children's lives. It's species-threatening. We have evolved to operate in small clans that compete for resources. There are a plethora of drawbacks to such a social structure, but that's who we are as a species. If nothing else, it gives us resilience: 99% of clans can make some evolutionary mistake, and as long as 1% does not, the species survives.
Now we are all throwing in together, betting that some huge clan of billions that's never been tried before will be able to not make any evolutionary mistakes at all. It is unlikely beyond reason to believe this would be the case.
I do agree with you though. I recently had my family watch United Stats of Secrets a PBS Frontline episode on Netflix. It was honestly the best description of the Snowden leaks I have seen, it explains everything better than I had expected.
What was most interesting/disturbing was the NSA director with a big smirk on his face explaining how he manipulated congress.
It definitely changed my families view of Snowden from "traitor" to "wow, I don't know if he is a hero, but he's no traitor." Over time, this is how public sentiment can alter to believing our government is tyrannical, but right now it's not enough.
Every government devolves to this so it's unavoidable/unchangeable without widespread revolution. If the battle can't be won in a widespread fashion it has to be done locally. A person can encrypt and hide their own data, but they can't single-handledly end tyranny.
The inverse is also generally true. The largest existential threat to the USA as a political entity is another civil war. It is currently the best protected country against invasion in history.
The inverse is claiming child porn or terrorism to get the masses to give up privacy rights when they normally would be reluctant.
Gee, you seem to be suggesting that here in the
US we should adopt something like:
"The right of the people to be secure in
their persons, houses, papers, and
effects, against unreasonable searches and
seizures, shall not be violated, and no
Warrants shall issue, but upon probable
cause, supported by Oath or affirmation,
and particularly describing the place to
be searched, and the persons or things to
Ah, heck, how would the US ever adopt such a thing?
And, even if we did, could we follow it?
More along the same lines might be:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an
establishment of religion, or prohibiting
the free exercise thereof; or abridging
the freedom of speech, or of the press; or
the right of the people peaceably to
assemble, and to petition the Government
for a redress of grievances."
Such a policy would seem to guarantee
the ability to gather on the Mall in
DC to say things about the US involvement
in Viet Nam, the Balkans, Iraq,
For more, how about a policy such as:
"The Congress shall have Power To
declare War, grant Letters of Marque
and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning
Captures on Land and Water;"
So, from this, the President could not
declare war? Do we have freedom of speech
to ask this question"?
Ah, there's the old thought, to be
strong, both muscles and
constitutional rights need exercise!
> naked pictures on your phone
"Ah we got trouble, right here in River
City. Trouble starts with a T, and that
rhymes with a P, and that stands for"
pictures and phone and naked pictures
on a phone! "Oh we got trouble!".
Looking around, it seems to be that most people are and have been indifferent to issues of peace and social justice most of the time. They do care about naked picture on their phone. Given that activists have been able to work despite extensive surveillance, why would people whose issue is privacy focus on something that doesn't matter to most people when they can talk about things that many people do care about?
Yeah, but Americans, after the sixties, do not understand politics at that level, and even believe that the US is the be all end all of states, and the "moral power" of the world, and such BS.
As for Apple doing the right thing, even if they manage to keep the government out of people's business today, they still hold the key to the universal back door and might give it away tomorrow. Apple certainly has the resources to develop a completely liberated phone, but NeXT and post-merger Apple has always been incredibly hostile to software freedom, and this speech doesn't change any of that.
I don't think they are afraid that they won't be able to spy on people, but they are worried about maintaining the public opinion that privacy is for creeps and terrorists. But another interesting effect of closing every back door but the baseband is that there will likely be a power struggle within the intelligence and law enforcement agencies. Only the highest ranking officers will be able to push malicious firmware updates, regular police will have no choice but to stick with traditional police work.
Care to elaborate? Do you mean assumption that they can have it if they want to, or is there some information about it?
As is Windows, Linux, all open source projects, and all proprietary projects.
All software is one update away from completely changing it's purpose, so I think your point is far more general than just Apple's messaging app.
I don't know of any free operating system that forces updates, and even if Apple doesn't they still have excellent means to coerce users to accept those updates by withholding all their centralized services. Which is precisely what Sony already did with the PlayStation 3 update in 2010.
This is where the Affero GPL comes in. If the users of one service find the terms and conditions to be onerous, they can simply launch a replacement service using the same software on the same day, preferably without breaking a sweat.
Some publishers understand that a reason to try to do this is to be less vulnerable to coercion, and also to be seen to be less vulnerable to coercion -- like when distributing software to foreigners who think that your local government might try to force you to backdoor it. A recent example I heard along these lines was a Chinese vendor who was interested in pursuing a means to help customers confirm that the software updates they got hadn't been backdoored at the behest of the Chinese government. Technology distributors who are based in other countries might face similar concerns.
In one lesson, I asked them to write down what they thought of companies being forced to weaken encryption.
This was a very typical response from the group.
"I think that encryption should still be allowed because I should have some privacy in my life and everyone else can. No one wants to be watched, stalked, etc. just because a couple of criminals may be able to start a (rare) terrorist attack, there should be other ways to stop them apart from making everyone elses life uncomfortable. You might aswell have no passwords for any website, it's basically the same thing."
If kids get it, I fail to see why politicians don't.
You ask kids, what do we do about global warming --stop polluting the atmosphere!
Yes obvious, it's just that things aren't as simple as that.
You want to secure people's right to privacy? Defund the NSA and use the money for something that's actually useful (like leaving it to the tax payers to spend as they please).
You want to uphold human rights? Stop condoning human rights violations. Close down Guantanamo today, explicitly condemn torture and prosecute those who were responsible for acts of torture in the past.
You want to counter terrorism? Stop getting politcally or militarily involved in other countries' affairs. Instead, trade with people. Foster economic and cultural exchange. Educate people. Now, this is a long-term one because it obviously won't do away with terrorism instantly but it'd be a first step in the right direction.
You want to solve the perpetual financial crises? Simply allow bankrupt banks to ... well ... file for bankruptcy instead of donating them tax payer's money.
You want to do something against global warming? Stop subsidizing fossil fuel companies. Make more use of the abundant solar energy available in the desert regions of the planet. Admittedly, this will be expensive but given the huge amount of money that's wasted annually in first world countries it's not impossible either.
In an alternate universe where you BjoernKW was emperor of the United States and you pursued domestic policies that aimed to act purely in the interests of the people, without considering of the ambitions of less noble, less than two hundred years later you might be labeled by historians as a "well meaning but ineffective man".
You want the people to be free from the hold of Opium? Ban it, burn it and banish the smugglers from your shores.
"He issued many edicts against opium in the 1820s and 1830s, which were carried out by Commissioner Lin Zexu. Lin Zexu's effort to halt the spread of opium in China led directly to the First Opium War. With the development of the Opium War, Lin was made a scapegoat and the Daoguang emperor removed Lin's authority and banished him to Yili. Meanwhile in the Himalayas, the Sikh Empire attempted an occupation of Tibet but was defeated in the Sino-Sikh war (1841–1842). On the coasts, technologically and militarily inferior to the European powers, China lost the war and surrendered Hong Kong by way of the Treaty of Nanking in August 1842."
While you may do good and provide a better way, by doing all things good and proper, you will get trounced and relegated to irrelevance.
We can only move forward if we get the majority to go along. One can't unilaterally pull away, you'll be at a severe competitive disadvantage, your leverage gets reduced, your idealism forgotten and overwhelmed by those who take the opportunity offered by your benevolence.
That's why, i believe, the only, but frustratingly slow way to go, is to slowly and gradually gather consensus and momentum and get things done, in the end.
Falling on the sword serves the self but does not serve society at large someone with less morals will come in and swoop up the opportunity, sadly.
Look at how the WWII generation responded to the need for behavior change in order to supply raw materials and labor for the war effort. If our generation cared about the environment as much as they cared about winning WWII then we could make similar sacrifices, pay a little extra for fuel, pay a little extra for solar infrastructure, change our diets to be more sustainable, and be well on the way to reversing damage to our environment.
The idealism of children is great and all, but there's a reason that we don't let 10 year olds make major policy decisions. The naivete of youth is a very powerful thing that is responsible for some of our greatest innovations and new ideas. But it just doesn't play well with political decisions. Children don't understand the issues around encryption any more than they understand how to fix the environment. All we can do is invest in education and culture in the hope that they'll be prepared to tackle these issues when they grow up.
Fixing climate change really is easy; it's just that almost every single person in the world cares more about their personal comfort right now than about their future.
People say things like "Climate change is terrible", but then they choose not to do anything about it. Most people could probably halve their energy costs with little effort (and enjoy immediate cost savings), but they choose not to.
It's not the children who are stupid, it's the grown ups who are.
Its a similar issue with fitness/personal health. I really want to drink this beer now, but I don't see how my drinking will cause diabetes 30 years down the road.
We justify actions by their individually negligible marginal cost, but we fail to see the compound cost in a lifetime.
To switch from fossil fuels to current solar energy would require a massive amount of land use. A huge portion of the world would have to be covered with solar cells to match the output from fossil fuelds. Do you know what that would do to real estate prices? Buildings that are horizontal would have to become vertical, and that money has to come from somewhere. Rents would double. Companies would have to offset the costs and some people would get fired, and most would have their wages or benefits frozen.
The trucks, ships and planes that pollute by shipping goods would have to be converted to today's electric engines. That would increase the cost of everything that everyone buys by 15-20%. From a book on amazon to a pair of jeans from the now 10 story shopping mall. Everyone would have to get their personal vehicles refitted or buy new ones, incurring even more costs. Every business would see its margins shrink further, driving wages down even more.
Producing and transporting meat is one of the largest contributors to climate change. The price of a hamburger at McDonalds would have to go from $2 to $20. Children need protein while in their developmental years, but it would become almost impossible for most families to afford. An entire generation raised on soy paste.
Globally, everyone would feel extreme financial pressure as the businesses they worked for AND their customers all make less money while paying more for everything they consume. There would be riots and revolutions as people took to the streets to feed their starving families. Endless foreign and civil wars, immeasurable suffering and loss of life. And for what? For what? Something that might or might not happen 100 years from now?
As adults, it's our job to keep this horrible future from unfolding. The responsible thing to do is invest in education and infrastructure, slowly and carefully, to keep those kids writing essays from growing up in a terrible world. That's why we're the adults, because we understand the difference between fantasy and reality, what's possible and what's practical.
If history has taught one lesson, it's "Never underestimate the pace of technological change." There have been Malthusian predictions before and there will be again. They never come true because technology solves problems in ways that we can't anticipate. It's our job to keep the world running while we wait patiently for a technological solution to climate change to present itself. We can't imagine what it will be today, but it will happen sooner than we think. Progress will take us to other star systems, too. Eventually.
What I can agree with: If we take your assumptions as given that using our current technology for the task leads to all the things you've described (massive use of land we could use for other things, sharp rent increases, sharp price increases on food, wage depression and so on) then your conclusions are certainly correct and we shouldn't think about doing any of that, because the immediate concerns are far more pressing than any of the "the future could be shitty. Or not."-problems. I just don't share them, so I think we have a fundamentally different set of "basic believes" which will always bring us to different conclusions in the end.
On the other hand I would certainly love to read a few of the sources which brought you to your conclusions on our current technology level and the consequences of using it to stop our part in climate change. I'm always open to changing my opinion if new facts warrant it.
The fact that so many startups are now "full stack" reflects the difficulty of solving even extremely simple social coordination problems.
I haven't done the study, but I'd wager that those small price hikes would push the five most marginal percent currently able to afford rent into homelessness.
Things are never that simple. A person who presents anything as black and white either hasn't thought about it or is lying to you.
That isn't because we can't, it's because our ideology ensures we won't.
If they aren't having fun because they just sit around and talk about boring things, maybe they don't care about the world as much.
Kids are kinda nuts anyway, I definitely wouldn't let one run my life. :-)
I suspect that Cook is anticipating legislation that would require that Apple re-engineer its services to support "lawful" interception of the content of messages/conversations, but is hoping that adopting a aggressive stance now will result in a compromise end state whereby interception must happen proactively and by exception (and within a clear legal framework - e.g. authorised by a warrant or court order) as opposed to a mass surveillance regime where everything is hoovered up (i.e. intercepted and stored).
A few weeks ago Obama came in on the side of David Cameron and the FBI in support of outlawing strong encryption: http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2015/01/16/obama-sides-with-came...
After yesterday's event he appeared to back off of that position: http://recode.net/2015/02/13/obama-theres-no-scenario-in-whi...
Should be interesting to see how it all plays out - its an odd situation when we're turning to Apple, Google and Facebook to defend our information privacy.
As for Facetime, I think only the voice calls are end-to-end, not the video chats as well.
Apple says FaceTime messages are end-to-end encrypted https://www.apple.com/privacy/privacy-built-in/
I'm politically liberal and voted for Obama twice but the man is fucking lying to us about cyber security. The real solutions to security involve encryption and what Obama is suggesting is that they can protect us by monitoring more.
Tim Cook is calling him out as a liar without expressly saying it. I wish he would. We need more prominent people to call attention to how much we are being lied to, because too many people buy the BS as truth.
Keep in mind Bill Clinton and his admin did plenty of horrible stuff as well (communications decency act, DMCA, the clipper and v-chip shenanigans, high strength crypto as a munition, the hounding of Phil Zimmerman and PGP, operation sundevil, etc.
My point is that digital privacy is not a "liberal" or "conservative" issue, it's a new concern that seems to have adherents across the political spectrum.
Both democrats and republicans have been strong supporters of government surveillance and stomping on digital privacy rights. There is no mainstream political party taking up the privacy mantra yet en large because the people of the USA apparently don't want it.
It's our job to change that, but that requires changing people's minds that their privacy is worth risking a successful terrorist attack (which is how everyone in the mainstream US perceives the trade off).
I am hard on Obama on cybersecurity because, after watching Citizen Four and countless CCC talks with Jacob Appelbaum et al, I just don't believe he is unaware of the damage to security his proposals will make. I suppose he could genuinely believe that more state intervention in our digital lives is ultimately the right call for our security, but I feel like the president would be informed enough to know better. But perhaps he is just in a bubble that makes it hard to see how harmful their security measures are.
Either way I agree that the issue is a citizen's issue and not a liberal or conservative one. Both parties have been failing to look our for their constituents and I feel like a true people's progressive party would be an important force to disrupt that pattern.
I guess I should be careful about accusing people of lying however, as it could derail my message when the specifics of lie vs bad idea are really not at issue. Thanks for the comment.
I'm pretty sure its just another indirect jab at Google.
Its very unlikely that Tim Cook would make a statement like this unless it is in line with their marketing message.
I am sure apple cares about privacy from government, but they don't seem to care about privacy of their users from them.
There might be a backdoor in the cpu you buy, or in the baseband, or in a driver, or in an open source component that you didn't audit, or in your compiler, or even in your USB stick. You always need to trust somebody.
Why would this detail possibly be relevant to the point Tim Cook was making?
When the Nazis came to power, they used those previously obtained lists to round up the homosexuals and send them to death camps. A lesson that privacy matters even if you think your current government and/or its use of data is benign.
Beyond that, by saying it's ok for governments to snoop on private communications, it's normalising that same behaviour by China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, etc, etc. It's not good enough to say that it's alright for the West to do it because they are good guys and not ok for despotic regimes to do it because they are bad guys. It's a matter of principle that it's wrong for everyone to do it.
That is the only way to set a standard and hold every government to it. We should figure out what line in terms of privacy and respect for personal rights we would like China, Russia, etc to abide by. It's only ok for our governments to do things that we would accept as being legitimate for those governments to do. That is the only way to normalise respect for the individual and protect our personal freedoms in the long term.
Even in the United States, there is a social cost to being known to be gay. Arguably [in most communities] it's low enough that it's better than the alternative of trying to keep it a secret, but the cost still exists. Certain people will not want to be your friend or do business with you if they know you're gay. You may not care about those lost opportunities... you may have plenty of friends and business opportunities... but it still limits your options. In some small dogmatic communities even in socially liberal countries, you might be ostracized, and your only options are to keep it a secret or to start a new life somewhere else.
Privacy in the "cloud" means keeping information secret from people who you'd rather not have judging you based on that information. It could be a close-minded community, or health insurance companies, or even something relatively innocuous and minor like some interest of yours that would raise eyebrows even among your friends.
Among those social consequences could be regular physical abuse, or even being beaten to death.
In the U.S., the cultural shift on this issue was so fast that it's easy to forget that we're not that far removed from Laramie, Wyoming and the brutal murder of Matthew Shepard in 1998 for being gay, or that LGBT individuals couldn't serve openly in the Armed Forces until 2011. 
Today that same state issues and recognizes gay marriages, and DADT is a fading memory. That's head-spinningly fast for a cultural and legal change of that magnitude.
Personally I think that this is one area where Tim Cook's sexual orientation probably influences his thinking, and in a very good way. He's smart enough to know that government access to Apple's data is more than enough for the government to build its own "pink lists" today.
Like Tim Cook, I believe we are not so close to the precipice that we can't use the normal political process to put a framework around our intelligence services that both safeguards privacy and protects our nation's interests.
I (contrary to prevailing opinion here), have great respect for our security agencies, and believe the men and women that staff them are mostly well-meaning public servants performing a valuable service.
But as we all know, this is not about today's government. It's about the unknown governments that will come to power in 10, 20, or 100 years, and in countless generations to come.
It's easy to design a government that you know will be staffed by decent men and women. But historically that is not an assumption upon which we can rely.
As James Madison said, our institutions should be designed to survive being "run by devils."
If I confront the issue directly: Do I feel our nation could survive as a free society if today's security apparatus was run by devils?
No. No, I do not.
Personally, I have a lot of trouble talking about privacy to my mother. She's firmly seated in the "I've got nothing to hide" camp.
I'm forwarding her this thread so she can see some differing opinions (that weren't written by me).
It's a fact that people who are being watched, or even who think they might be watched, behave different then those that think they are totally private . So in order to discover who you are or how to deal with certain problems you encounter in life, you have to have an environment with the least amount of external influences possible. Having no prying eyes avoids self-censoring and conforming your thoughts or behavior to what you think that is expected by others. This way privacy is the matrix of diversity, new idea's and insights and a way to free ourselves from doctrines and repression.
>> "“We still live in a world where all people are not treated equally. Too many people do not feel free to practice their religion or express their opinion or love who they choose,”
For one thing, his speech included direct references to the importance of privacy for marginalized groups (including homosexuals), especially in places where it is been illegal.
Moreover, I personally think it's one of the reasons that I believe Cook (far more so than other technology people) has a credible commitment to privacy. He's a very private person himself (in fact, he only came out last year), and I think that personal preference for privacy shines through in how he's running Apple.
Because they are shit at building online services and excellent at selling people overpriced devices.
Oh and FWIW. Apple also operates iAd, a locked down ad program targeted at their customers specifically.
Apple also could allow users to secure their cloud backups against anybody. But they decided they include mandatory key escrow by Apple itself. The mud puddle test proves that Apple and the NSA can access all your backup data.
How is that a business model "completely compatible with privacy"?
And by the way, I find that downmodding that hit me appaling and a sign of unhealthy group-think.
And the reason they do key escrow otherwise is simple: most people forget passwords.
I respect Tim Cook quite a bit for making this effort to argue for privacy and the rule of law, but that doesn't excuse the incredible damage his company has done over the last decade.
You can always opt out of Suggestions and continue to use Spotlight solely for local search on your device. You are also free to opt out of having Spotlight use Location Services any time you want. If you opt out, Spotlight will still use your IP address to determine a general location to make your searches more relevant. Unlike our competitors, we don’t use a persistent personal identifier to tie your searches to you in order to build a profile based on your search history. We also place restrictions on our partners so they don’t create a long-term trail of identifiable searches by you or from your device.