Bruce Schneier speaks out against surveillance
Even if you can’t get off the pot, at least you can decide which side of the fence you wish to pee. Bruce Schneier, precariously positioned as the CTO of one of the ISPs known to have helped GCHQ tap the world’s fibre cables, and simultaneously a director of the EFF, has decided on the direction of his stream of anger.
I have resisted saying this up to now, and I am saddened to say it, but the US has proved to be an unethical steward of the internet. The UK is no better.
(Actually, the UK would be far worse if GCHQ had half the money that the NSA commands.)
But what to do? Schneier offers three suggestions: expose, design and influence governance.
Expose means to subject bad things to the disinfectant of sunlight. We need whistleblowers, says Schneier.
I already have five stories from people like you, and I’ve just started collecting. I want 50. There’s safety in numbers, and this form of civil disobedience is the moral thing to do.
Design is to redesign the internet and its software and hardware components in a manner that is resistant to government subversion.
In particular, we need open protocols, open implementations, open systems – these will be harder for the NSA to subvert.
And governance requires influencing the future governance of the internet.
We need to figure out new means of internet governance, ones that makes it harder for powerful tech countries to monitor everything. For example, we need to demand transparency, oversight, and accountability from our governments and corporations.
But he accepts that it won’t be easy or overnight.
Has any country that engaged in mass surveillance of its own citizens voluntarily given up that capability? Has any mass surveillance country avoided becoming totalitarian?
What we need now is for all the internet and security luminaries of the world to come out and stand with Schneier, and to say to government in a voice that cannot be ignored: Enough. You don’t get security by spying on everyone. And you don’t have secret projects hidden from your own people. You are our servants. You are not our masters.