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.