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Personal Log: The Post-Snowden Age

In 2013, some tech guy with a conscience got fed up covering up. He had access to many secret documents proving at which scale people are being unlawfully monitored and all of their information/communication behavior is logged and stored. He became a hero when he released documents showing the audacity, capacity and greediness of these “agencies” in full detail: People all over the world are constantly being spied upon by the NSA, GCHQ the BND and all the other players around the world. We have been saying this for years but were just labeled as paranoid conspiracy theorists who need to be put into a mental institution for even thinking like that. But Edward Snowden finally proved that point. Thank you for taking this upon you. Even though some consider you a traitor and publicly fantasize how they would like to kill you, you have done the right thing.

The governing rule sets of our societies and the employed systems which act and execute on their behalf have become totally unhinged. And that is also not a conspiracy theory, it's just inevitable when you look at the world of today and the world 200 years ago. Many of our rules and definitions of normality were formed in a world where people could expect that the world wouldn't change drastically for the next century. In today's world, the speed of technological development has increased by so much, that already most people have a problem even comprehending what's going on at all. The rest is kept busy by either putting them in a state where their only concern is to make it to the next month (survive) or they're spoon fed the tiresome old lie of so called national security concerns (fear). Whatever is left can be easily sedated with mass media and sport events. And this is just the beginning. We are in a race, where more people free their mind, connect, share and progress together. From everywhere. Anywhere. We have understood that the internet is a means to connect our brains, to solve problems together, to share our results and how we got there. Not to compete and battle against each other. For centuries the ruling class could always rely on the fact that people are disconnected and divided. It took a long time for new ideas and concepts to establish themselves and reach farther than 20km. With internet access and 3d-printers, this particular barrier doesn't exist anymore and we have enough open-source tools to create what ever we want to create. No one needs to see a paper with some obscure grades, the only thing necessary today is that you are willing to learn and do something.

This increase in free knowledge access and transfer has let us become like gods compared to a person even just 100 years ago. We educate ourselves, we lose common perceptions of so called normality with incredible speed and impact. We don't have a political agenda nor do we strive for profit, war or conflict. In the past religion was a good tool to control the masses but it fails more and more (except for the USA and some other religious extremist enclaves) since no educated person is really believing in the devil anymore. So another big fear monger was needed:

For a couple of decades we were told the new devil is communism, an evil monster living behind an iron curtain and that worked quite well. But after the collapse of the soviet union that was lost too so the USA began their global war on drugs which was followed and replaced by the global war on terror. I mean, common, we all know there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, yet we all stood by and watched how entire countries were occupied and destroyed.

Every year way more people die in their bathtub or get killed by cops/soldiers/companies than by acts of “terrorism”. If fighting a problem restricts, hurts and kills more innocent people than by actual acts of “terrorism” it is completely irrational to continue supporting it. However, the common argument is, that it is just because they spy on everyone that we are protected from terrorism. But that's the biggest laugh of them all:

There is no prove provided what so ever that could even support this claim and thinking rationally, if I wanted to created havoc and terror, it would be so easy. Our intertwined society is so susceptible and fragile that a few strategic hits at neuralgic infrastructure points would topple it all down, bringing chaos to millions of people at a time. There simply is no protection against that and there never will be regardless of the theater show, that is performed by the “security forces”. You wouldn't even have to hurt anyone. The people would do that to themselves in the resulting chaos. But then again, it's a great tool for some to keep fear in the heads of the masses of this invisible terrorist threat so that they happily give up all their rights and their freedom. And of course, some people and companies can make billions of profit by providing better toys.

That in itself is a total perversion but it is kept alive by politicians everywhere which are essentially controlled by companies (through lobbyists or former/later jobs in these companies) which in turn have no choice but to provide growth and more profit each year to keep investors happy. No conspiracy here either. Don't get duped by the good old “companies are good because they create jobs” myth. Companies, in a capitalistic system, are only there to create profit. If they can manage to create profit without a single human being working there, it will be most profitable and therefore most desirable.

Of course, in the past, they also used to create jobs as a byproduct but it quickly became clear, that some people somewhere else are willing to work for way less and now we have reduced the amount of people we need to do a certain job by computerization, robotics and automation. The number of available jobs will continue to decline, no matter what the media is trying to sell. It is inevitable when you think about the rules of our economy. And it's actually a good thing. The future will bring smarter and more flexible robots that can do even more and the technology will get even cheaper and more accessible. We need to rethink our society because how are we supposed to survive if we need a (or even more than one) job in order to have a shelter and food and we are competing against machines that never tire or get sick and don't want a raise? The military already puts it like that: “If it's dull, dirty or dangerous, give it to a drone”. The same principle will apply in companies too. The last working people will be those who build and manage those robots and even those jobs will die out eventually. Some people might ask, how can we slow it down or how can we try to keep that from happening? Well, we can't and I don't think that I would want to. Apart from the fact that it will be inevitable, the right question to ask is: How do we as people survive and put food onto our tables if there are no more jobs left for more than 50% of society in a world where the concept of doing a full-time job to survive has become obsoleted? Just imagine what people could do if they weren't forced into self inflicted slavery, wasting 2/3 of their live for a stupid job? That is something we need solutions for and not wasting resources on spying and harassing innocent people with “random” security checks by inhumane, braindead and heartless drones with automated weapons who are ready to kill just for fun.

And so the race goes on. Who will make it in the end? Will we allow ourselves to become cattle without rights or freedom, virtually imprisoned from birth, so that less than 1% of the population of this planet can live and do like they please? I say no, because for the first time in the history of our planet the cards have changed. The common people have always been lied to by the ruling class and that is still going on today, even though we pretend it's not so because denial is just a typical reaction when confronted with something we believe we cannot change. But we can. Because we can share the truth, alternatives and the warm feeling that we are not alone. It becomes harder and harder to lie, simply because we all can take pictures, share videos and search within billions of records of people's thoughts and experiences online. Just in seconds. That's part of the reason why some are fighting to make the internet unusable (censorship/restricted access) so that we don't get too used to having this kind of freedom. Personally, for me it's too late anyways, in 2013 I've been online for 20 years and I have lost the ability to swallow the blue pill and go back.

What can I do?

Well, a lot actually. Consume less, don't buy shit you don't need. Try to avoid products produced/designed in countries like the UK/USA, at least those which are known to be compromsied. Of course there are more players, it would be naive to assume that for example Russia or China will not also run similar programs and will not also force producers like Huawei to put backdoors into their routing/firewall/gsm appliances. But they at least have a little decency left and don't put it into our face like: “Yeah, we're watching everything you do because we can and we don't care if you don't like it because we need to protect our nations security.”.

“A matter of internal security” – the age-old cry of the oppressor.

Jean-Luc Picard (TNG|S3|E11|The Hunted)

Just 70 years ago the same shit was going on in Germany, so we still kinda know how Nazis behave and how they like to operate. But the USA learned their lesson well: Industrialized mass killing in concentration camps is a logistics hassle, still very inefficient and a PR nightmare, but hey, now they just get a couple of thousand drones to do the job on a global scale, that will be much more fun and you can do that remotely.

Don't buy products or use services from companies which are known to supply data to the NSA/GCHQ. The agencies will never stop out of their own accord. Why should they? Only if the money supply chain is dried up from above there might be a change. Encrypt everything. Even if it's just your shopping list. The more encrypted data the agencies have to process, the more expensive their operation will become which will drain their national budgets even more, making the people of these countries suffer more (because of a starved social/healthcare system) so they hopefully wake-up one day and start to clean out their own mess at home. Participate or organize a Cryptoparty.

Try to use open-source operating systems and software, of course there is a chance that there might be something slipped into the code but it is a fact that the NSA can simply attack and take over any Microsoft based operating system. Cisco/Juniper routers/firewalls (PIX/ASA) are also compromised. Basically, the NSA can force any US company to “help out” with tailored access and then force the company to never to reveal that fact. Since the company has an “instinct” to survive, its managers will have to lie to the public, if they want to or not, in order to protect the company.

Join a hackerspace in your area, inform yourself, educate yourself.

Try to support the development of open-source, decentralized, communication and collaboration services and infrastructures so that we don't even need to bother thinking about security, since our systems already provide ample security/anonymity to begin with.

Use VPN services like AirVPN, it won't help you against NSA/GCHQ collection/analysis, since they still will be able to identify you based on your online profile, which services you often use etc. But at least you can protect the contents of your communication. It will also protect you against the other evil that has increased over the last couple of years: Greedy bastard lawyers who try to conspire to defraud people they accuse of copyright infringements. The last incarnation was priceless: Over 10.000 people in Germany were alleged to have streamed some internet porn (two videos on redtube in particular) and were supposed to pay a fine for the “infringement”. From current legal perspective, the reception of a video stream is actually not considered to be illegal. Although on the surface sex is supposed to be a bit less of a taboo these days, it seems to me that we still have a lot of ground to cover to be able to be really free in that regard. So it comes to no surprise that these lawyers deliberately chose the time shortly before Christmas to send these letters with the hope that many people just pay quickly and silently in order to avoid lengthy discussions with their partners at home as to why they were looking at internet porn. In the end evidence was overwhelming, that traffic was actually bought and redirected to redtube.net which in turn forwarded the unaware visitors to one of the videos. This would also explain how they got the IP addresses in the first place.

Mission-Log entry created by chrono on 2014/02/03 15:32 UTC

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