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Fidcal

We have become Big Brother

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Something like the ones the UK government tried to set up in 2012 & 2013 ?

 

No, nothing like that. They are humanly accessible.

 

In my visualised thought experiment, the data is processed by machines and almost entirely discarded a microsecond later. Only something very suspicious alerts the authorities. In this visualisation, the software is far more advanced than what we have today and will evaluate the data sensibly, so no false positives.

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Then again, no it still wouldn't be acceptable.

 

It would be a panopticon, you would never be sure if your behaviour would trigger it so you would alter your behaviour to suit and never know if this alteration would in itself be viewed as suspicious, it would chill free speech, stifle expression, kill innovation and be a governments wet dream.

 

As for sealed and inspected for tampering with no external access

 

I personally guarantee the only people who wouldn't be able to access these black boxes would be the people being monitored.

 

Governments and security services would be in them every 5 minutes 'tweaking' the parameters to take account of new or repealed legislation or simply to ensure that the people they think should be targeted are targeted, if governments and security services couldn't do this then they simply wouldn't install them.

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There is still confusion about my question.

 

It . is . a . thought . experiment. (Like suppose 1 plus 1 equals 3.) It . is . not . real. It is infallible. Why? Because it's imaginary. It's intended to reveal to ourselves how we really feel about something before we even attempt to think how it might be done, or to contemplate an impossible or impractical experiment.

 

you would never be sure if your behaviour would trigger it

 

Suppose you could?

 

Governments and security services would be in them every 5 minutes

 

Suppose they couldn't?

 

Given the above, what then? Would it be accepable in principle?

 

Again, let me state my thought experiment in a more abstract way...

 

Suppose an infallible device could be created that could secretly process private internet data without revealing anything to anyone except very suspicious data?

 

Would that be acceptable?

.

...

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Of course, it's absolutely fine. Were you to be able to make an impenetrable, infallible superhero in a box that had to collect everybody's information in order to wipe out crime, terrorism, whatever, it's entirely acceptable. The problem people have is that there's no such thing and that people can, will and have accessed those kinds of databases and used them for their own ends as you know, given the way you phrased the hypothetical.

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Thanks, Airship Ballet. Your first two sentences (almost) answer my question about the thought experiment; the rest is about the real world as it currently might be and not really relevant. Personally, I wouldn't want some superhero going through my stuff though; that's an invasion of my privacy. ;)

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@Airship: yep, and the other part of the problem is that those in charge are generally allowed to do whatever the fuck they want without getting in (serious) trouble. For an example of this, search for "loveint". People who were given powers above you and I _DID_ use the powers to snoop on love interests. Nobody went to jail for this. They were just scolded and told not to do it again. Some of their justifications used were that they were "just testing the features".

 

Now, if I went out and tapped the line of a girl I had a crush on, what do you imagine would happen to me? Can I just tell the authorities that I was testing my technical skills and get off with a harsh scolding the way the elite can?

 

Its like I told my friend: Loveint is funny, but its also not funny. Imagine if they were snooping on you for no justifyable cause, other than the agent had a crush on you. How would that make you feel?

Edited by lost_soul

--- War does not decide who is right, war decides who is left.

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the rest is about the real world as it currently might be and not really relevant.

Not relevant to the question itself but still relevant to the purpose the hypothetical serves, however obvious a statement it is.

I wouldn't want some superhero going through my stuff though; that's an invasion of my privacy. ;)

'Superhero' was more or less shorthand for 'robot with near-omniscient levels of knowledge and the programming to do nothing but good with it'. Ideally it would be capable of knowing which information was essential to stopping a crime or preventing a terrorist attack without reading it, or more realistically (not that it matters) working with patterns in encrypted gibberish and bringing down the hammer accordingly without ever dealing with names or faces. I'd be okay with that, for sure.

For an example of this, search for "loveint".

One example among thousands, although one that hits closer to home. The internet is endlessly helpful when it comes to creeps scouting people, regardless of how much information they themselves make available. Edited by Airship Ballet

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Not relevant to the question itself but still relevant to the purpose the hypothetical serves, however obvious a statement it is.

 

Absolutely. Yes, I didn't mean to imply one shouldn't state other ideas arising out of the post but I just wanted to isolate the question because it was not intended to be a solution for a specific problem in the physical world. It's only purpose is to find out if anyone would object to their private information being collected and evaluated on principle or if they only objected to it being misused or even being seen by anyone.

 

The word 'Superhero' worried me a little because it kind of implies a free conscious entity rather than a fixed electronic or mechanical process - the simple flow of data in a dead machine. I don't want anything that is consciously aware spying on me whether it's human, alien, android, sentient computer, or whatever, not even if it's locked in a box.

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I understand it's a thought experiment, perhaps I expressed myself badly

 

There is a perfect machine in a box capable of making judgements about what is suspicious behaviour and what isn't, it never makes a mistake, it's infallible.

 

How it does this isn't important, it could apply a set of rules, use heuristics and statistical analysis and if the result is over some threshold it triggers a warning, or some mechanical mechanism tosses a coin and triggers a warning on heads, the important thing is it is never wrong.

 

Would I be in favour of such a thing ?

 

No.

 

Why not ?

 

1 - The machine is perfect it never makes a mistake, at this moment in time, six months from now behaviour which is currently deemed suspicious may be deemed to be ok and vice versa, the box is sealed, tamper proof, perfect and cannot be updated to monitor these changed conditions.

If it could be updated that would violate your tamper proof requirement.

What is suspicious or acceptable changes all the time, in the UK couple of years ago gay people couldn't have any kind of officially sanctioned relationship now they can get married, two unrelated people of the same gender communicating with each other several times a day for non work related reasons would at one time have been regarded as extremely suspicious, now no. A couple of years ago the idea of an organisation hoovering up every bit of data on the internet and every electronic communication without a warrant 'just in case they need to look at it one day' would be a huge civil rights violation, then the UK government passed DRIPA and it's all hunky dory.

Things change, the perfect box can't or it couldn't be perfect, if it responds to changes in legislation then that is effectively tampering by the state.

 

2 - The machine is perfect and never makes a mistake, however it's monitoring a human population, humans make mistakes all the time, I sure as hell do, some of those mistakes will look suspicious and trigger the machine, anyone the machine points a finger at will have one hell of a job proving their innocence.

The machine effectively reverses the presumption of innocence as it never makes a mistake and it's identified someone who has done something suspicious then passed this result on to fallible flawed humans to investigate further who, after seeing a couple of hundred correct identifications, won't look so hard for evidence to the contrary, unless somehow they too are made perfect.

A single such incorrect identification would invalidate the whole premise of the perfect machine looking for suspicious behaviour, given what it's monitoring, such a misidentification is guaranteed.

A perfect monitor demands perfection from the population being monitored, if you have such perfection you don't need the machine and if you don't have such perfection then the machine won't do what you want it to and it's results cannot be regarded as infallible, so it's not worth having the machine.

 

Then of course there are the griefers who would look at what such a machine does and alter their behaviour to ensure it triggered on them, just to say 'up yours' in as loud a voice as possible.

Edited by esme

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Well, no, these problems don't exist in this scenario. It's a hypothetical made to question our response to an almost impossible ideal situation that cannot go wrong in and of itself. The machine will stay up to date, the people who make a mistake and no crime will get caught out because it has these fictitious and perfect algorithms making sure it doesn't. It's the perfect machine, and the only thing at question is whether or not people mind having their lives sorted through on principle. The last point is valid and people do that all the time with real-world police, shining high-powered lasers at patrolling police choppers, shouting bomb threats on a packed plane and the like. They get arrested for the judicial equivalent of being a nuisance, same story here.

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You are still applying my abstract question to the real world which is why I struck through my original question and reworded it. Now I'll reword it even more tightly:

 

Suppose an eternally-infallible unconscious device could be created that could secretly process private internet data without storing any of it or revealing anything to anyone except very suspicious data which is passed to the police or security services... would that device processing itself be acceptable in principle?

 

What the authorities do with any suspicious data from anywhere is another question; one might as well say they should not have access to any information at all because they can't be trusted!

 

What I am saying is that the 99.999999% of info about the rest of us innocents is scanned in a microsecond and discarded not stored, but at least it is checked for criminal activity.

 

My question only asks is the humaly-inaccessible mechanical/electronic processing of our private data evil or not in itself?

 

One can even consider the unbreakable, uncrackable, sealed device never gives out anything - even suspicious data. It merely scans our private data, evaluates it for anything suspicious, then discards everything. Would people object in principle to our private data being examined by an unliving, unconscious machine?

 

Apply the same question to a living human sealed in the box. He reads all our stuff but he cannot export any of that knowledge to anyone outside. Would that be objectionable? (forgetting for the moment how he might live or if it's inhumane or irrelevant stuff!)

 

....

.....

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Ok it adapts, I'll skip nimbly over the idea that the machine is adapting to laws made by humans who are not perfect by any means and can actually make laws which contradict themselves, for example privileged private communications between lawyers and client are, possibly 'were' now, protected by law but RIPA allows the police to intercept any that are made electronically without needing a warrant, that no judge would ever grant in a million years, we'll just ignore all that and assume the machine is always right.

 

So now we've moved the goalposts, do I now want my life sorted through by a machine ?

 

Absolutely not

 

Why ?

 

Principle, if we can have a perfect machine then I can object because I simply don't like the idea and that is enough of a reason.

 

I'm being painted into a corner where there is only one answer and in any such situations my response will always be the same and always has been the same, I will dig my heels in and you will never get the answer that you want.

 

The goalposts can be moved as far as you like, the machine can be as perfect as you want it, I will never agree to it.

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Thanks. I'm still not sure you understand the purpose of the question but being forced into an answer, you answered it correctly. That IS the answer that I want!

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I think I understand, however the premise of a perfect machine still has to be rooted in the world it exists in. which is inherently imperfect as if it were not there would be no need for the machine and the question would be moot.

 

By choice I am a law abiding person, the choice may be illusory, there are times I wonder, but it's all I've got.

 

Take that choice away, even with a "perfect machine" and I cease to be a law abiding person, I'm reduced to being a puppet or a slave, a condition I would rebel against.

 

I don't care if this is the answer you wanted, I would have given this answer regardless.

 

As for being forced into an answer, I gave the same answer every time quite willingly, the premise was changed to invalidate the reasoning and I still gave the same answer willingly and never once changed my position.

 

But as I answered correctly do I get a shiny thing ?

 

-- EDIT --

 

Reminds me of one of my favourite TV shows from my childhood "The Prisoner"

 

I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered. My life is my own.

Edited by esme

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I didn't force you into giving the answer I wanted, I only persisted until you gave your own free answer to the question posed. Before that, you, and everyone, did not answer the question because they didn't understand it and instead answered what they assumed the question meant. Perhaps I worded it badly.

 

The question is not to do with formulating some method which could scan private information usefully without offence, the purpose of the question of was only to find out whether people objected to their private information being processed and analysed on principle or whether they only objected because of the possibility of it being abused or even simply being viewed by other humans (which itself might be regarded as abuse.).

 

My own view is that I'm not 100% certain but I would say I'm 90% agreeable to such a method. It feels similar in a way to my emails being automatically converted (by a net-centred sealed system) into other languages to provide an instantaneous service in case I needed it, then discarding those versions immediately because I didn't check the box. I don't think I'd be bothered if that was taking place if I knew it must be perfectly leakproof.

 

....

 

........

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24/7 monitoring is something you do to animals, convicted criminals, small children and things that might explode if they aren't watched.

 

It says one thing, it says I don't trust whatever or whoever it is I'm watching.

 

If someone doesn't trust me then they are free to fuck off elsewhere where they don't have to see me, they're not free to watch every move I make.

 

If the government doesn't trust me then they can put me in prison, not turn the entire UK into one around me.

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Simple solution, accidentally drop it in the microwave if your employer tries to make you wear one, preferably the one at work

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And the latest piece of idiocy is that the government want to ban encryption that the security services can't read, despite the minor detail that this will destroy eCommerce, eBanking, business vpn's, personal vpn's, access to many social media sites, any site that requires a log in - like this one, wikipedia ... the list goes on

 

This madness has to stop I will not be governed by knee jerk politics of fear, anyone in the UK there's an election coming up, please don't vote for this clown

 

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jan/13/cameron-ban-encryption-digital-britain-online-shopping-banking-messaging-terror

 

oo just spotted this, I may have spoken too soon

 

http://techcrunch.com/2015/01/13/politics-meet-technology/?ncid=rss

 

But seriously please don't vote for the Conservatives

 

And labour are just as bad, remember ID cards ?

 

And the Lib Dems seem to have lost their way nodding through DRIP, a number of other human rights removals & recently the bill to gut Judicial Revue, lets hope the Lords boot it out for a third time.

 

You can't really slide a piece of paper between them to tell them apart nowadays

 

And UKIP will return us to a pastoral idyll ... a racist, homophobic, sexist, extreme right, 1940 style, child beating, rape isn't so bad, BNP with better publicity, closed border, pastoral idyll where everyone will have full employment because nothing will work and everything will have to be done by hand.

 

Hello rickets & scurvy, we missed you.

 

Abstention is going to put either one or a coalition of these idiots in charge so please vote, just for anyone else but these.

 

--EDIT--

 

I do suggest grabbing a copy of PGP if you haven't already as that's definitely going to be a Government target

Edited by esme

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I have an Android handset here that is showing ads in the notification area. Thus far, I have been unable to figure out where they're coming from. Its kinda annoying and I wonder if they're targeted based on my usage. (songs I listen to)

 

This device is a music player mostly, but I do use it to call sometimes.

Edited by lost_soul

--- War does not decide who is right, war decides who is left.

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And the Lib Dems seem to have lost their way nodding through DRIP, a number of other human rights removals & recently the bill to gut Judicial Revue, lets hope the Lords boot it out for a third time.

The Lib Dems aren't perfect, but in general they have been opposing a lot of the increases in government power as far as they can (bearing in mind that they are a minor party in a coalition government, so they can't just do anything they want). Things might be a lot worse if the Conservatives were able to ram through their endless snooping bills as quickly as they would like.

 

a racist, homophobic, sexist, extreme right, 1940 style, child beating, rape isn't so bad

This is the sort of froth-mouthed hysteria one would expect on Twitter. I'm no great fan of UKIP's stance on immigration and their science policy is junk, but resorting to spurious accusations of rape and child abuse is a pretty desperate debating technique.

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So let's just leave the raping and beating and just keep the "racist, homophobic, sexist, extreme right, 1940 style".


"My milkshake bringeth all ye gentlefolk to the yard. Verily 'tis better than thine, I would teach thee, but I must levy a fee."

"When Kleiner showed me the sky-line of New York I told him that man is like the coral insect—designed to build vast, beautiful, mineral things for the moon to delight in after he is dead."

https://soundcloud.com/paralytik

 

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Sure, if your political viewpoint is so narrow that anyone to the right of center is obviously a reincarnation of Adolf Hitler himself.

 

Back in the real world, UKIP aren't anywhere near the "far right". They're more or less comparable to Thatcher's Conservatives or the US Republican party minus the religious nutjobs. Small government, free market, faintly nationalistic, law'n'order, anti-political correctness.

 

The genuine far right doesn't exist in any meaningful way in the UK.

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