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Can the military coexist with social networking sites?

5 August 2009 by Mike Gogulski
Posted in police, surveillance, war | 5 Comments »

The Los Angeles Times article asks:

Can the military coexist with social networking sites?

Gosh, I sure hope not.

The idea that Twitter, MySpace and Facebook could simply crash the modern cyber-state’s ability to wage war — which is to oppress, occupy, conscript, tax, torture, rape, murder, rob, poison, dispossess, expel, infect, regulate, control, police, imprison, degrade, dehumanize and destroy human beings — simply tickles me.

And it just may be possible.

At different times and in different combinations, military service personnel communication with the outside world is and has always been banned, blocked, censored, controlled, forced, edited in transit, misdirected, intercepted, co-opted, manipulated and so on.

The technology to do that has typically relied on the application of policy and physical means to the hired thugs themselves and their communications channels. In the dead age of empires, that mostly meant controlling the mails, access to military sites, physical documents and the like.

The modern mercenary for Leviathan has all manner of fresh, cool, exciting, low-power and long-reach wireless communications tools available which can beam messages, documents, position information, local data feeds and so forth around the globe to millions — on or off the secret military networks — in seconds. Those tools, in combination with the existing social networking services, might well make it impossible for wealthier nations to maintain typical military discipline and operational security.

This is not to mention that the tools are sometimes used by accident, and that just like the number of intentional uses, the number of accidental uses in increasing in tandem with the tools’ growing reach, range, speed, popularity, ease of use, market penetration, protocol and network compatibility, interchangeability, user loyalty and the like, plus their shrinking costs, sizes, power profiles, new-user learning curves, and detectability by Powers That Be and Pointy-Haired Bosses.

Let’s hope that’s enough to make the modern makers of mass misery not just obsolete, but impossible.

But if it’s not enough, what’s coming is distributed, peer-to-peer, organic, cypherpunk- and crypto-anarchist-created Facebook- and Twitter-like social networking and communication services that support unbreakable hard encryption, market-produced unfalsifiable digital identity management, mathematically guaranteed transactional and locational anonymity by default or at will, untraceable anonymous digital bearer certificate trading networks and, of course, assassination markets.

And when those things launch, they’re going to launch on all channels. Linux clients? You betcha! MAC OS X? Yes we can! Windows Vista? ¡Viva Bill Gates! Official Apple iStore version for iPhone? Gosh yes! But it doesn’t stop there, of course — there will be interfaces and gateways springing up on everything from your old-school two-way pager to instant messaging services like ICQ, AIM, MSN, Google Talk, Skype, Gadu-gadu and all the rest. Plugins and widgets and gizmos and HUDs for Counterstrike and World of Warcraft and Second Life and Runescape. Classified ads in the local advertising circular. Newsletters and forms by post. Scratch-off cards in cereal boxes. And nice men and women at church or in cafes who field requests and handle messages into and out of the darknet for the benefit of those who can’t manage the tech themselves.

To troops everywhere: think about getting into a new line of work.

  1. 5 Responses to “Can the military coexist with social networking sites?”

  2. By Teresa on 5 August 2009

    Plugins and widgets and gizmos, oh my!

  3. By brmerrick on 5 August 2009

    Not unlike what I was talking about in the article linked to my name (“The Railroad to Freedom”).

  4. By MerryMonk on 6 August 2009

    Re: And it just may be possible.

    Well said! And it seems like it is time to do it now. We slaves have always outnumbered the “masters”. But our will to be free of the state has always been sufficiently doused by state-incited fear of ‘others’.

    The state says: “yeah we are not perfect….but the other guys are worse!” and then the state applies the clincher “you need us and our military to protect you from the others who are much worse, so pay your taxes like a good slave”

    The new communication methods give us the gift of making trusting each other much easier. Day by day these social networks make it harder to fall into the state’s trap by irrationally distrusting others just because they live on the other side of an arbitrary line in the sand.

    We are replacing the state with trust for each other…not pollyanna “i trust everyone” or “yes we can” simplistic pablum but instead….crowd-sourced reputations. I trust that anyone with a 99%+ favorable rating on ebay will send me my “Hitler Gave Great Speeches Too!” bumper sticker regardless what country/religion/sexual position they are in.

    I trust that Mike Gogulski will likely continue do what he says he will do…. because I observe that he has consistently done that for over a year. I trust that Barak Obama will likely continue to promise to give away other peoples money, by stealing it and calling it “change” because that is what he has done his whole adult life.

    And I trust that most of the world will use twitter, ebay, facebook, email, etc to thank and reward those people who do things for other people…. regardless of what state those other people are in. We slaves are going to free ourselves from the fear of others. I think it is time for a party to celebrate!

  5. By Winterset on 6 August 2009

    And speaking of new capabilities…

    Does anyone know a code-monkey with a good familiarity of encryption techniques/technologies? Your article gave me an idea and trust-worthy encryption is the only part I can’t do myself.

  6. By temujin on 7 August 2009

    Anyone know whatever happened to Robert Vroman? He still got a website or blog somewhere?


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