Friday, October 4, 2013

Fighting Technology with Technology

Challenging an entrenched government policy can take many shapes. In the 1950’s and 60’s civil rights advocates peacefully protested, taking many of the tactics Gandhi used to gain Indian independence. However the majority of policies do not lend themselves to being obviously disregarded. The NSA’s widespread spying program is an example of such a government policy. It is quite difficult to protest not only because of the wide spread support it receives from the government but also because avoiding it means essentially leaving the internet.

This is why we must use technology to fight technology. The great beauty of our times is that the majority of our science is open and free. If you wanted to understand how the NSA can spy on our internet activity, all you need is the metal ability to understand the academia. You may not know their exact algorithms but you can learn to a great extent how their code works. What this allows us to do is combat the activities of our government, not by breaking the law, but by simply legally subverting it.

Devices like the one McAffee invented will grow in popularity and availability as more of our lives becomes deposited online. Americans have an dichotomous take on privacy and security. We adamantly demand privacy while simultaneously giving broad leeway for our government to invade it.  As we get the opportunity to take control over what we share I think that we will eventually be forced to examine head on what exactly we want from our governments. How much privacy are we are willing to sacrifice for safety?

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