Last night, my computer and Slashdot combined to throw away a 4 hour description on how to maintain anonymity when under omnipresent surveillance. That was frustrating. But, after a night's sleep and some reflection, I think it was for the best. The required skills and commitment are almost superhuman. Today, US citizens can expect little privacy in their purchases, travel, interpersonal communication or internet activity. We need better answers that will help everybody. If we train ourselves to defeat the current generation of surveillance and discovery, we will be faced with even more intrusive measures. We need to change the game in fundamental ways.
The initial problem seems to be that we don't trust each other or government. The cause of that distrust seems to be that we all keep secrets from each other. But, when you look at the cause of the secrets, you find that we have created incentives for secrecy and distrust. In our current laws and culture we benefit from keeping secrets from each other and from the government. Our government benefits from keeping secrets from us. We all have created an economy of discovering and exploiting each other's secrets. Thus, we have created incentives that motivate secrecy, deceit, surveillance, and betrayal. This is not a good way to live.
It seems like we aren't valuing privacy enough. But, I think it is just the opposite. We value privacy enough spend resources to penetrate, subvert, and deny it. The answer isn't to increase the value of anonymity. That will just increase the incentive to destroy privacy. We somehow need to regain privacy and anonymity by devaluing the secrets. We also need to increase the value of trust, while we increase the cost of betrayed trust.
I can see how to accomplish this at the local level. If I am more open, honest and involved with my friends, family and community, then we increase in trust towards each other and know each other's secrets. At that point, our secrets have no value and there is everything to lose and nothing to gain from surveillance, deceit, or betrayal.
I've got no idea how the fix my broken relationship with the highest levels of government.
Local government is small and well behaved. I know them and they know me. We have no meaningful secrets. We have years of mutual support and trust.
I have no problem with telling my next door neighbor, the-city-councilman all the details of my life. We have lived next to each other for almost 4 decades. We have raised each other's children. I know several good policemen and women. I know a good FBI agent. But, somewhere at the top, it all goes sour.
The Feds seem to get great benefit from lying to me, and betraying my trust. I don't know how to make it stop. The CPI (Consumer Price Index) is a bad, blatant lie. I can't imagine why they feel they need to lie about things that are intimate knowledge to every American. It's embarrassing. And the lie damages almost every American. The published employment rates don't pass any kind of simple fact checking. We all nodded along for decades while the Feds inflated the dangers of marijuana. And, now that it is all revealed as an colossal fabrication, they refuse to admit error or correct the damage. All for no obvious reason. The Feds can't admit mistake. The Feds can't correct mistake. And, it appears that they can't tell fact from wild delusion. With that history, I can't stand the idea of giving them more power over me.
And the Feds keep trying to pass their bad habits to my state and local governments.