Since the Snowden revelations, there’s been a lot of this sort of talk on the Tubz. Summary: You can’t fight the NSA’s surveillance because you can’t even understand the NSA’s capabilities and methods.
Some truth in that, of course. Not only can we not know just what the NSA’s doing and how. But for all we know there could be 15 other secret spy agencies using yet other technologies and methods to poke and prod into our lives. All with the happy cooperation of tech companies like Google, Facebook, Verizon, et al.
We are the first in all of human history to be so totally watched.
I understand and share the complaint that it has become literally a full-time job to know and implement privacy protections. And without Xtreme tech knowhow, it’s a job most of us suck at, besides.
But that’s not a reason to give up.
Yes, we are the most surveilled human beings who ever lived. But we are also the first generation in human history to have such high-tech tools with which to fight back.
And remember, individuals are always ultimately smarter than institutions. More flexible. Better able to use humor to pierce the stiff armor of the Holy State. More adaptable to opportunity. At our weakest, we are the sabots in the machinery. At best, we — some of us — are the designers of the machinery with the clever capacity to royally screw it up.
(Images in this post courtesy of Ragnar’s Freedom Outlaw F*c*b**k page)
The great Borepatch (who is as good with tech as with guns and who found the pessimist read at the top of this blog), wrote a follow-up post aptly titled “Bomb minuteman prepper NSA succession airport gun tea party Anonymous TOR Snowden steganography top secret.”
You get the idea. :-) It’s a return to that good old 1990s method of adding infamous keywords to all our “traffic.”
I b’leive I mentioned that clear back in 101 Things to Do ‘Til the Revolution; it was not an original idea even then. Think I posted this a while back, too: Talk Like a Terrorist on your cellphone.
That’s just one notion.
I’m guessing that the NSA and its all-suspecting ilk have developed slightly more sophisticated content analysis since 1996. So these days, merely appending a bunch of Infamous Words to an email, text message, or phone call might not do the job.
However, if thousands of us routinely wrote or said believably contextual things like, “I used white powder from an envelope on my wig when I dressed up as a Minuteman and the guys kidded me that it looked like anthrax spores” or “See you at the chemical attack mitigation event at the gun show” or “I was so mad I went nuclear at that stupid toxic infection of an assh*le” … we could overload them.
Or how about this? Routinely append terrorist keyword poetry to our communications, like this stunner by Nathan Payne that begins:
their torrid, toxic
in a homegrown botnet
of agro terror,
the airport burst-worm
my spillover jihad is cloud-threat resistant!
Er … maybe just terrorist keyword haiku. Yeah, that would do it. Keep it simple.
OTOH, there’s evidence that maybe the spymasters still aren’t so sophisticated they can tell random from purposeful. Reportedly, the NSA still can’t tell the difference between messages from or to Osama bin Terrorist and messages that merely mention Osama bin Terrorist (as in “Osama bin Terrorist is a terrible person, isn’t he?”), which reportedly get flagged as readily as if the sender were personally plotting chemical-biological-airport-based-infrastructure-gang-related mayhem.
Look, nobody has all the answers. Or even very many of the answers at this point. Untimately, we’re probably going to have to rely on momentum and moles to help bring down the omni-surveillance system and the upending of individual rights that it represents. We are going to have to wait for new, trustworthy privacy-protection services to open offshore — and for great American and British technological minds to “offshore” themselves, as well. We are going to need a lot of bright people on our side. And time. But in the meantime, we can all do our part to be a sabot in the system.
Language is just one way. You genii will think of more. This sub-genius will be on the lookout for more and will look forward to our eventual triumph over our alien overlords.
Narco-traffic that, you dirty bomb of a suspicious package in the guise of a government!