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17 years ago I've taken my first steps in the www by talking programming problems with strangers who became virtual friends. I offered my music on the net and there was so amazingly warm feedback from parts of the world, that I will never be able to visit in my whole life. Thirteen years ago I was chatting with Jaz about possible names for this site. All that felt so good, so exciting, new people from all parts of the world, and yes, the planet felt way smaller all of a sudden, parts of the maps were getting voices, faces and names on it. And it was growing and growing, in numbers as well as importance for myself.
Until.. mmmh, I cant actually pinpoint the moment it changed for me.
May be it was the awareness of commercialization taking over even the loneliest refuge, may be we all were just growing older and our lives changed, may be WE changed to a degree former interests didn't apply anymore. I don't know.
I doesn't matter really. There's is one thing that happened to me today, that makes me shiver, kind of scared of our future, and I want to share it with you. Since I'm not on FB or any of those, this is the one logical platform for me.
Lets talk security and privacy. I guess we're all aware of the fact actual privacy, anonymity on the net is not possible anymore today, probably never has been. Things we were aware of for a long time about the NSA became common knowledge by Snowden, everyday new details about NSA's activities are getting public. And the NSA is just one service, make no mistake, it may be the one with the most power of resources and the best hardware-sources, still its just ONE, there are countless others out there, who have exactly the same interests and the same sick hunger for knowledge, of course always and only in the beat-up name of holy national security.
But lets not get to big here, we're aware of it, but we're helpless here, we are just victims. But lets take a look into our private lives. I will just iterate a few examples coming to my mind without elaborating them in detail, otherwise I'm still writing this tomorrow.
* Everyone has a cell (and/or a PC of some sort). About 80% of our daily communication is handled by that phone meanwhile, may it be talking or texting or writing or just visiting websites. 100% of that communication is not private, but checked and filtered by various groups and institutions, who have a self-defined vital interest in knowing and analyzing what exactly you're doing. That interest ranges from security to commercial motivations. The look at the black side: the lines dont necessarily have to be closed, when you hang up, theoretically your phone is a mic ready to send 24/7.
* As long as your cell is active, which it is probably 24/7 in most cases, each and everyone on this planet will be able (with very little effort) to know where you are in any given moment. Simple example for it being used: Google maps, the traffic visualization depends on cell positions and their movements. Of course absolutely anonymous, so they tell us. Of coooouuurrsseee...
* You got a smart TV installed at home? Congrats, you're cable company collects all your data, what and when you watched, ready to provide the right commercials exactly for you based on your watching habits. The look at the black side: Same as for the cell: the line is there, its always open, why not use it to check, whats the talk in your living room? Your TV even got a webcam? Weeeeeelllll.... do the math.
I guess you can extend that list yourself meanwhile.
* Smart cars... a moving profile.
* Smart meters... living habits.
* Smart dildos... weeeellll..
That list if far from being complete, but thats not the point. Put a "Smart" in front of your electronic device and you got a gadget to be controlled. Of course all that is extremely pessimistic, one might even call it paranoid. But history shows us every technological achievement ever invented IS BEING USED sooner or later. And even if you think you're living in a democracy right now, that helps to protect its citizens, even if you actually believe in that, who ensures you this will still be the case next year or in five years time?
Anyway, these are some of the thoughts going through my mind meanwhile whenever being online, definitely a fun killer, I tell you.
So, it happened this morning that I checked the usual news sites. I read an article about that security company "Hold Security", which recently claimed to have found 1.5 Billion online profiles corrupted, hacked by "Evil Russian Hackers"(TM). I had those thoughts on my mind again and had to give it way, so I wrote a comment on that site (meta.tagesschau.de). It goes (originally in German):
Wann entsteht bei einer Mehrheit der Nutzer endlich ein Bewusstsein für das, was hier vor sich geht?
Wann beginnen die Nutzer sich mehrheitlich dem zu widersetzen?
Wann dämmert es auch dem Normalnutzer, dass das Netz NICHT der versprochene Heilsbringer ist?
Wann entsteht eine nennenswerte Gegenbewegung, die das "Abschalten" propagiert und praktiziert?
Nicht eine einzige politische Richtung bezieht hier eindeutig Stellung PRO Nutzer und versucht wenigstens programmatisch die Individualität als Gut zu verteidigen, und versucht, gegen die Entwicklungen der letzten Monate und Jahre aktiv vorzugehen.
Haben wir den point-of-no-return bereits überschritten und ist es bereits zu spät?
When will there finally rise an awareness in the majority of users about what is going on here?
When will users by a majority start to oppose?
When will it sink in for any normal user the web is NOT the promised savior?
When will there rise a notworthy countermovement which publicizes and practices the "Turning-Off"?
Not a single political party takes a clear position FOR the user here, none is trying - at least programmatically - to see individualism as a value worth protecting, none is trying to move in on the trend of the last months and years.
Did we pass the point-of-no-return and is it too late already?
Yes, alright, call it cheesy, call it pompous, I don't care. But is it worth being censored?
Because thats what happened: "The comment was not approved by moderation". I cant put my finger on it right now, but somehow this makes me scared. How can a few lines like those fail approval? I try to tell myself its probably because they didn't see the connection to the content of the article and, therefor, being a formal issue. But, what if not? What if its because of what I wrote there? Somehow it feels like an answer to the question "Did we pass the point-of-no-return already?" and I dont like that answer, not one bit...
After decades of construction my website is finally up an running: www.kkds.de