cypherpunks.pttAn interesting article to note to read re ‘Cypherpunks’ – suggested by @FuturePersp in tweets after last night’s #SMWLDN event – this paragraph caught my eye:

Child pornography, terrorism, money laundering and the ‘War on Some Drugs’: these are the flagship issues which are bandied around by those making the case for the surveillance and centralisation of our online lives, or the outlawing of privacy-protection software.  Cypherpunks gives them the (somewhat contrived) title, ‘the Four Horsemen of the Info-pocalypse’ (p.43). The damage supposedly done to ‘creative innovation’ (a.k.a. the obscene corporate profits in the entertainment industry) by peer-to-peer file sharing (or ‘pirating’) comes in a close number five.

These are emotive issues, which are being cynically manipulated to push through repressive legislation. In the face of negative media coverage and growing campaigns over free speech, internet freedom and civil rights, it is a common response, to quote one leaked internal document from the European Commission, to ‘talk more about child pornography and then people will be in favour’ (p.125). However, these dangers are a case for tactical surveillance and nothing more. Before the internet, child pornography was reproduced with Polaroid cameras. No one advocated the destruction of photography as a medium, or the surveillance of every camera anyone ever bought – and total strategic surveillance is the online equivalent of that.

– See more at:

Tallies with some of what I’ve been looking at for my book ‘Raising Children in a Digital Age‘.

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