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Privacy through the centuries: Oxford

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Presentation to Oxford evolutionary neuroscience group 21 May 2014

Published in: Law, Technology, News & Politics
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Privacy through the centuries: Oxford

  1. 1. PRIVACY THROUGH THE CENTURIES Chris Marsden, Oxford 21 May 2014
  2. 2. QUINN NORTON: EVERYTHING IS BROKEN  “Facebook and Google seem very powerful, but they live about a week from total ruin all the time. They know the cost of leaving social networks individually is high, but en masse, becomes next to nothing. Windows could be replaced with something better written. The US government would fall to a general revolt in a matter of days.  It wouldn’t take a total defection or a general revolt to change everything, because corporations and governments would rather bend to demands than die. These entities do everything they can get away with—but we’ve forgotten that we’re the ones that are letting them get away with things.” • https://medium.com/message/81e5f33a24e1
  3. 3. REGULATING PRIVACY  Much of what I am going to say is taken from my book with Oxford’s Ian Brown: (2013) Regulating Code, MIT Press  See Ian Brown (2012) Privacy attitudes, incentives and behaviours • https://www.slideshare.net/blogzilla/privacy-attitudes- incentives-and-behaviours"
  4. 4. IS PRIVACY A RICH MAN’S FOLLY? Did privacy not exist in primitive villages? Is privacy a feature of shame? Is the walled garden the physical manifestation of privacy? Is privacy an Oriental construct based on patriarchy?
  5. 5. PRIVACY IN PRE-DIGITAL TIMES
  6. 6. BUT PRIVACY HAS WESTERN ENLIGHTENMENT HISTORY  Not least through its inverse: the Panopticon  Bentham claimed privacy was surrendered by illegality
  7. 7. ENTICK V. CARRINGTON KBD 1765  Every American law student learns this in the first week:  Lord Camden: ‘We can safely say there is no law in this country to justify the [police] in what they have done;  if there was, it would destroy all the comforts of society,  for papers are often the dearest property any man can have.’  Still referred to in US privacy cases
  8. 8. PRIVACY V. FREEDOM 1773 “Benjamin Franklin colonial Postmaster General Leaked letters by Massachusetts Lt. Governor Thomas Hutchinson to Thomas Whatley, Prime Minister’s assistant For colonists to enjoy the same rights as English subjects “an abridgement of what are called English liberties” might be temporarily necessary. Franklin dismissed & censured by Solicitor General
  9. 9. WE HAVE MODERN EQUIVALENTS
  10. 10. W E ARE AL L NOW FOOTBAL L HOOL IGANS, ME MBE RS OF DE VIANT TRIBE S
  11. 11. VICTORIAN INTERNET AND EDWARDIAN SNOWDEN?
  12. 12. TELEGRAPH AS VICTORIAN INTERNET “The shift from sailing ships to telegraph was far more radical than that from telephone to email!” - Noam Chomsky “The American father is never seen in London. He passes his life entirely in Wall Street and communicates with his family once a month by means of a telegram in cipher” – Oscar Wilde
  13. 13. THERE BE PIRATES! ‘Golden (sic) Age[s] of Piracy’ • Francis Drake to Daniel Defoe – 1580s/1720s Nastiest age was post-Napoleonic Wars • Industrial piracy in Atlantic/Mediterranean Supressed by British Naval power • Serving Abolition of Slavery Act 1807 Secured trade routes • India, West Indies, Cape Colony, Australia, Hong Kong
  14. 14. SOCIAL NETWORKING & PIRATES We used to call our undergrads the ‘Napster generation’ 36,000,000 broadband in 2000 Precursor to YouTube/Facebook/ MySpace/Torrent label
  15. 15. ZEMBLANITY AND EMPIRE  Global digital communications: the telegraph
  16. 16. ZEMBLANITY? • Opposite of paradisiacal Serendib - a barren, icebound, northern land: Nova Zembla, nuclear testing archipelago • Latinisation of the Russian novaya zemlya, which means ‘new land’.
  17. 17. SERENDIPITY’S ANTONYM: ZEMBLANITY BOYD (1998) ARMADILLO Making unhappy, unlucky and expected discoveries by design Incompatible but essential indispensable part of serendipity? • “So what is the opposite of Serendip, a southern land of spice and warmth, lush greenery and hummingbirds, seawashed, sunbasted? Think of another world in the far north, barren, icebound, cold, a world of flint and stone. Call it Zembla.” • discussed in Hertnon From Afterwit to Zemblanity: 100 Endangered Words
  18. 18. PRISM? NOTHING TO SEE HERE?
  19. 19. NSA/GCHQ WAR ON ENCRYPTION #EdgeHill #Bullrun (Generals with memories of US Civil War) & #Cheesy Name (no memory at all) NSA $250 million per year buys: 1. Tampering with national standards (NIST) 1. to promote weak, or otherwise vulnerable cryptography. 2. Influencing standards committees to weaken protocols. 3. Working with hardware and software vendors 1. weaken encryption and random number generators.
  20. 20. 5 MORE TECHNIQUES 1. Attacking encryption used by 4G phones' 2. Obtaining cleartext access to 'a major internet peer-to-peer voice and text communications system' (Skype) 3. Identifying and cracking vulnerable keys (CheesyName). 4. Human Intelligence division to infiltrate the global telecommunications industry – essentially bribing employees 5. Decrypting HTTPS/SSL connections 1. Yahoo, Google, Hotmail/Outlook
  21. 21. OR….
  22. 22. SURVEILLANCE EXISTENTIAL THREAT TO SOCIAL NETWORKS?  Not so much…ironically required by https encryption default  Who do they target? Those using encryption esp. TOR  ‘If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear’  ‘Metadata isn’t real data’  Be quiet, peasants!
  23. 23. BOUNDLESS SURVEILLANCE
  24. 24. SO WE ARE SILK WORMS
  25. 25. COCOONS BOILED & EMPTIED Personal data is NOT metaphorical oil in digital economy • unless bodies have seeped into the sediment. Personal data accumulate with our treks into cyberspace Better metaphor is silk, • woven into tapestry of online personality. Potential to move beyond a caterpillar-like role as a producer of raw silk Ability to regenerate into a butterfly or moth?
  26. 26. SILKWORMS THAT TURNED Weaving of a web by billions of prosumer-created sites. Silk created tapestries Wikipedia, Facebook and MySpace Arguably loss of ownership led MySpace decline. Prosumer boycott led by those preferring control of own data • cocooned in their own personal form: chrysalis or pupae Such boycotts rapidly create a landscape of zombie users: • ancient Hotmail and MySpace accounts that are undead, unchecked, unmourned, useless to advertisers, and • antithetical to positive network effects that feed a successful business.
  27. 27. CONCLUSION: MORE PRIVACY REGULATION Widespread move towards regulation of social networking • Including in US – Federal Trade Commission European Court cases – both data retention and deletion European Parliament pressure on PRISM post-Snowden National regulator decisions on cloud, Streetview and others European Data Protection Supervisor pressure on merger cases – competition law – conference 2 June New European Data Protection Regulation – first since 1995 • See http://internetsussex.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/towards-web-30- impact-of-google-spain.html
  28. 28. THE $100BILLION RESEARCH QUESTION  Why do social networks decline? MySpace/Bebo/Orkut/Friends Reunited  Is the visceral nature of offline social networking responsible for success online • dating sites approximate strong human contact better: Grindr, Tindr – Twitter?  or bad coding, European data protection and a more aspirational demographic • Facebook v. MySpace/Bebo  But ASmallWorld was Eurotrash Facebook and failed? • Weinstein’s brush with social networking and its failure: http://gawker.com/5381040/harvey-weinstein-finally-sells-myspace-for-millionaires
  29. 29. MORE INFORMATION  @ChrisTMarsden  www.regulatingcode.blogspot.com  http://internetsussex.blogspot.co.uk/  http://www.internet-science.eu/

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