October 21, 2013
Over the past month or two, since the Edward Snowden leaks surfaced, there have been a number of articles and stories written about both privacy and the security services. However, particularly in the UK, there has been something of a collective shrug and not as much outcry as I believe there should have been. Yet I haven't written anything about it so far, which makes me part of the problem as much as anyone else.
I still don't have a good handle on what I think we should be doing in response, but consider this a first stab at helping to correct my silence on the issue.
This is more of a marshalling of an assortment of the articles that I've wanted to write a response to, hopefully grouped into something approaching a sensible number of ways to frame things.
Firstly, there's the should the state be gathering this much data on its citizens? side of things:
- Quinn Norton, Seen By the State: Walking Through the Stasi Museum While Watched by the NSA
- The Snowden files: why the British public should be worried about GCHQ by John Lanchester, probably the most accessible explanation of the issue I've seen
- James Bridle talking about CCTV, law enforcement, and how it tends not to work as well as we'd hope Ring of Steel
- Paul Bernal provides a good discussion of why we should worry about the loss of privacy
Then there's the what can I do as a concerned citizen to make my life more private and secure (from everyone, not just big brother). I've lost some of the links I'd have put in here, as this blog post has been too long in gestation. However, contributing to the Open Rights Group, and particularly their Privacy Not Prism campaign is a good start. And not particularly security-focused, but Redecentralize.org is looking to highlight people working on ways to break the centralisation of the Internet - and thus its increasing single points of failure.
Finally, what us technologists should be doing in how we approach building the services people use:
- Tom Taylor contemplating how activist surveillance countermeasures could be developed to deliberately muddy the datasets
- Vikram Kumar wondering if companies can use high ethical standards as a competitive advantage
This blog post is on the personal blog of Adrian McEwen. If you want to hire my company to help you with the Internet of Things then get in touch. If you want to learn more about the Internet of Things, my book Designing the Internet of Things is available to pre-order (amazon.co.uk amazon.com), or if you just want a beautiful IoT device, I'm CTO of Good Night Lamp.