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state & corps dark web

A propósito de "new revolutionary technology" que podem "change our economic and political systems", uma pequena incursão pelo estado da arte da web, novas tecnologias e sistemas económicos e políticos, circa finais 2016.

Nenhuma novidade aqui se estás no nosso comprimento de onda e consegues interpretar a envolvência que se impõe. State surveillance não é novidade. Nem é novidade que grandes corporações colaborem com os Estados na vigilância das suas populações virados consumidores. Novidade é mesmo que corporações possam agora ombrear e concorrer com os Estados. Nem o final de inocência que a erupção de um Trump na América poderia abalar às redes sociais se acumulará às revelações de um Snowden em 2013: este último desmascarou o uso das novas tecnologias por parte dos Estados, o circo mediático-social do primeiro deveria ter alertados até  os mais distraídos para a nova realidade que entretanto se instituiu enquanto brincavam ao farmville.

Seguem-se alguns apontamentos para caracterização da época. Conclusões, como sempre, para eventualidade futura. Duas peças de 2015 e uma de 2014 - porque não é de agora - e depois regressamos à actualidade. Primeiro, State-wise.

I

Collect it All

Governments everywhere are expanding their own mass surveillance capacity (...) Left unchecked, this dynamic could soon produce a world in which every online search, electronic contact, email, or transaction is stored away in one or more government databases (...) a truly Orwellian scenario could unfold.

We have reached an inflection point for the future of the Internet. To preserve the Internet as an open, global platform for rights, development, and commerce, we need principled rules to govern digital surveillance and protect privacy that apply to every government ['cuz] while championing an open and free Internet, these governments were collecting data on hundreds of million people worldwide every day.

We now live in an age of "big data," when our communications and activities routinely leave rich digital traces that can be collected, analyzed, and stored at low cost. In parallel, commercial imperatives drive a range of companies to amass vast stores of information about our social networks, health, finances, and shopping habits. The plummeting cost of storage and computing means that such data can be retained for longer and mined for future, unforeseen purposes. (...) These digital dossiers appeal to governments for a range of purposes, both legitimate and illegitimate. By accessing data held by the private sector, governments can easily uncover patterns of behavior and associations, both offline and online—whether to thwart security threats or to identify a particularly vocal online critic of government policy. (...) Officials seek even greater cooperation from major technology firms, including through "back doors" built into devices and services that will allow them greater access to user communication. (...) Law enforcement and security officials argue that encryption back doors are necessary to protect public security.
in "Internet at a Crossroads" 2015

A propósito de encriptação, mais sobre essa demanda com consequências não devidamente calculadas pelos próprios:

Weakened encryption standards and withheld information about security holes in commercial products so that it can exploit them before companies can fix them (...) to make it easier to spy on people online and identify security threats, they have also surreptitiously weakened Internet security, paradoxically making all Internet users less safe and more vulnerable to hackers and identity thieves
in "Internet at a Crossroads" 2015

Voltaremos a estes a propósito de DRM.

In the name of security, [States] have thrown away any notion of proportionality, where surveillance is targeted only at individuals they have reason to believe present a genuine threat. Only a tiny fraction of Internet or mobile phone users being surveilled today will ever be suspected of wrongdoing, let alone ties to terrorist activity. (...) Mass surveillance was "emerging as a dangerous habit rather than an exceptional measure" [e] mass surveillance is by nature indiscriminate and it is presumptively illegal.

Fears of terrorism [have blind] them to the harms their practices pose (...): those harms include chilling basic freedoms of expression and association, weakening the press and freedom of information, and degrading access to legal advice and defense.
in "Internet at a Crossroads" 2015

Nota: pensa global mas aquilo do local. O big brother não é do âmbito das nossas teses: não precisas de te entrincheirar em paranóias além dos cuidados habituais a ter naquelas ocasiões, não precisas de planear o demise da NSA e afins -porque, para mais, não tens os recursos ou o alcance. O que podes fazer é criar entropia, uma cultura activa de resistência que não facilite. Ou, como sempre, não te escuses, não te escondas: okupa. Ou, a piada da avestruz:

"Porque não há avestruzes nas cidades? Porque como o chão é de cimento ou alcatrão: não conseguem enterrar a cabeça por isso os predadores caçaram-nas a todas."

A piada é sugerir que se tivessem conseguido enterrar a cabeça num buraco tinham sobrevivido aos predadores. A moral é: se estás à vista de todos precisas de outras estratégias de sobrevivência.

Land of tha free - who ever told ya that is ur enemy

Global trust in US and UK leadership on Internet freedom has evaporated ever since former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden began releasing evidence of mass surveillance by the NSA and its British counterpart, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).

The UK government acknowledged that it interprets the law to allow agencies to gather potentially millions of communications via popular services like Twitter, Gmail, and Facebook without a warrant, merely because the servers of these companies are often located abroad [pelo que não têm] legal obligation to safeguard the privacy of anyone outside their respective territories [já os] US asserts authority to compel US-based companies to hand over information about any user around the world, regardless of where that data is stored: (...) the shortsighted approaches of the US and UK will almost certainly come back to harm their own citizens as other governments follow their lead. As Internet networks continue to globalize, an increasing amount of data about American and British residents will travel outside US and UK territory, and other countries will feel free to gather and store that data without limit.

The US and UK have provided a roadmap for governments of all political persuasions to build their own systems of mass surveillance.
in "Internet at a Crossroads" 2015

Roadmap esse que tem os seus frutos do outro lado do planeta: esqueçam a Turquia e afins. A grande firewall da China, ou a Russia a exigir que os servidores de empresas estrangeiras estejam em solo russo com o peculiar desenvolvimento desta semana: o linkedin a ser bloqueado na Russia, quando sabemos que a sua empresa-mãe, a Microsoft está na cama com o Putin. E, claro, no rescaldo deste novo maravilhoso mundo -o luddite em nós a falar- a Rússia pede à China que os ajudem a montar uma nova cortina de ferro, perdão, fibra.

Só o recordamos porque apesar de Russia e China serem hoje os colossos do ciber-bullin’-spyin’-stuffy, são-no na fama mas o proveito veio de trás. Com implicações aqueles outros temas que gostamos de implicar:

Insidious effects of large-scale surveillance on the practice of journalism and law in the US (...): interviews with dozens of journalists showed that increased surveillance, combined with tightened measures to prevent leaks and government contact with media, are intimidating sources (...) ultimately, this is having a detrimental impact on the amount and quality of news coverage, particularly on matters related to national security, intelligence, and law enforcement. This effect undermines the role of the fourth estate in holding government to account
in "Internet at a Crossroads" 2015

A fechar, fechamos sobre a nova relação que se emaranha entre Estados e corporações.

I used to think that the most careful people were not at risk, [that they] could protect sources and kept them from being known. Now we know that isn’t the case. That’s what Snowden meant for me. There’s a record of everywhere I’ve walked, everywhere I’ve been.
Surveillance harms a range of rights beyond privacy, including freedom of expression, association, and movement, as well as the right to counsel. If individuals cannot go online without fear of undue monitoring, the power of digital technologies to enable rights will be deeply undermined. Journalists cannot protect their sources, lawyers cannot ensure the confidentiality of their communications with clients, and human rights defenders cannot do their work safely.

States have obligations to safeguard the privacy rights of users outside their borders [e] where Internet or telecommunications companies turn over user data or assist with surveillance without adequate safeguards, they risk complicity in resulting violations.
in "Internet at a Crossroads" 2015

Voltemos a 2014. Aquilo de querem regular a internet.

Governments will become more skilled at blocking access to unwelcome sites. (…) Internet regulation has been most widespread in countries where regimes have faced protests , such as in Egypt and Turkey, and these countries block web access to control information flows and crack down on communication if it appears to be a threat.
in "Gov't, corporations the most dangerous threats to the internet, say internet experts" 4 jul 2014

Com aquilo das corporações:

Between the exposure of global surveillance projects, the slow creep of censorship into our lives, the tightening of Web control and the increased power of corporations to influence what we can and cannot access online, it's not easy to remain optimistic about the free internet.
in "Gov't, corporations the most dangerous threats to the internet, say internet experts" 4 jul 2014

Desse artigo e ano, um apanhado de ameaças ao futuro da internet que voltamos a encontrar hoje. Mas, de então:

Governmental "lack of foresight" to secure a strong digital future: in the future is evaporation of trust in government

Restrictions placed on the flow of information: ( inconsistent protection of) privacy issues may end up limiting sharing and access to knowledge online (...) limiting of connected activities + copyright protection

Corporate "lack of foresight" & network neutrality: commercial pressures and corporations impacting user experience - the rush to make money from the internet could hurt open internet access in the future, and one current example is the row over Net Neutrality, with telecommunications firms lobbying to change the system to suit their profit margins

Net Neutrality is the principle of treating all senders and receivers of content as equally as possible, and not ranking providers based on arguably anti-competitive principles. However, corporate goals can, and have, conflicted with this idea.

II

Dos Estados. De regresso à actualidade, e das corporations de internet e telecomunicações - eufemismo para companhias de media que não se assumem como tal e outras redes sociais -, segue-se excerto retalhado para efeitos de brevidade. No final diz "spoookie!"

The world of data has its own economics. If you know one thing about one person, you don’t have much. If you know one thing about nearly everyone or nearly everything about one person, you have a little. But if you know nearly everything about nearly everyone, you’ve got something priceless. Essentially, data giants are middlemen who connect buyers with sellers for a fee.
The data giants have begun down a path that leads to almost god-like omniscience.
Individual secrets—a formula, a process, a price—will readily be discerned through the collection and analysis of data.
Companies like Amazon or Facebook know (or infer) not just who you are but what you are like. They know not only where you are but they can guess where you are going. They don’t just know what you are doing right now—they have a pretty good idea why you are doing it. And they make excellent guesses about what you will do next, guesses that grow more accurate every day as you go about the business of daily life while being carefully observed by the data giants. For the data giants, the Internet isn’t an abstraction, and it certainly isn’t a utopian space where all are treated fairly. The Internet is a loose collection of physical equipment owned by competing groups. It’s a commercial battleground where a few companies dominate the field.

What consumers don’t realize is this: They are in those structures.

Computers, tablets, cell phones, and sensors all around us pick up huge and ever-growing quantities of intimate information, then record, tabulate, and analyse it. For the privileged few with the access and ability to read it, a data wake shows what happened, why it happened, and increasingly what will happen next.

The history of technology is full of great enterprises. More than a century ago, the Industrial Revolution spawned giant enterprises: companies like Standard Oil, U.S. Steel, and American Tobacco, which dominated whole industries. The giant trusts delivered unprecedented profits and built individual fortunes never before possible. The Ten are positioning themselves to dominate not merely a single industry but many industries at once, perhaps even entire economies. That’s because data giants are positioned to act as middlemen on virtually every transaction, matching buyers with sellers while getting paid for that role. Gradually, the data giants are already capturing a growing share of the economy’s surplus.
in "Our massive new monopolies: Amazon, Google and Facebook have the power to move entire economies" 7 jun 2015

Demasiada suposição a acontecer aqui mas fica a nota para arquivo. Revisitemos para comparação num futuro próximo.

Knowing the customer intimately allows them to set various prices quickly and accurately, tailoring prices to individual need and the ability to pay from moment to moment. The more you need an item and the fewer your options, the more you pay. Engineering each transaction applies not only to pricing. Given sufficient data, quality and service can be individually tailored as well. A data giant can ascertain the minimum quality and service each customer will accept. Capturing a growing portion of the consumer surplus by charging more for almost everything represents an enormous commercial prize, a fortune bigger than has ever previously been possible.

Just as in the case of consumers willing to pay something more for their purchases if they had to, companies would be willing to take a lower price if they had to. In theory, if the buyer with sufficient clout knows the details, he or she can take all, or nearly all, of a seller’s margin. In the past, figuring out a seller’s margin wasn’t easy. (…) But as with consumers, big data is gradually changing the balance of power for sellers. Given sufficient information, an astute buyer can deduce the seller’s margin despite the seller’s efforts to conceal it. (…) The data giants are positioned to study companies as well as individuals, and the data wake left by companies is a rich trove. (…) Eventually, individual secrets will all but cease to exist, and the business paradigm will shift from creating value out of particular information to creating value from very large bodies of information.

Look at wages, for example. For a data giant, identifying all of the workers at a given company would be child’s play. Location data from phones, cameras, and road sensors readily reveal who comes to the offce. E-mail, web, phone, and travel records fill out the rest of the picture. Other sources fill out the details: roughly how much is earned and who is hired or fired, all in real time. The data giants can effectively study a company’s workforce and fairly easily draw conclusions about a company’s costs structure.

Along with the consumer surplus and the producer surplus, labor represents a third target for big data.

Companies already harness the power of data to increase their bargaining power with workers. Electronic workplace surveillance, e-mail and phone records, and web-surfing histories provide a trove of data useful not only for weeding out bad apples but also for influencing desired behavior and negotiating pay. (...) Your company may be able to detect if you have been in e-mail contact with a recruiter, but Microsoft or Google or Verizon knows whether you have an interview, and when (...) even more power to the data giants.

in "Our massive new monopolies: Amazon, Google and Facebook have the power to move entire economies" 7 jun 2015

Apesar das descrições anteriores nos parecerem ainda algo futuristicas não são irrealisticas porque tecnicamente viáveis. Mas de regresso a algo de muito palpável e recorrente às nossas teses: o Homem do Meio - também o conheces por outro nome quando usa outro chapéu, o Homem do Portão. Dois exemplos deste.

The Power of the Middleman

Amazon provides a good example of the enormous economic potential for data giants. Because of its scale and its accumulated knowledge of suppliers, the company is well positioned to bargain for cost efficiencies and lower margins from its suppliers. Amazon’s ownership of important data infrastructure, the server farms of AWS (…) can obtain granular data from millions of sources.

In 2004, without warning or explanation, Google changed its search algorithm. As a consequence, 2bigfeet.com all but disappeared from the Internet, demoted from the first page to the fiftieth page. After the company’s business nearly dried up, it didn’t take long for 2bigfeet.com to figure out a solution. The shoe seller began buying ads from Google and shot right back to the top of the results, where it remains today (…) If a business wants to be found online, Google is well positioned to charge a toll.
in "Our massive new monopolies: Amazon, Google and Facebook have the power to move entire economies" 7 jun 2015

E por falar na ficção científica do amanhã, hoje. AI? Algoritmos? Assistentes pessoais. Deixem-nos assistir-vos à vossa pessoa com mais um longo excerto.

Despite the promise of digital assistants, they also carry significant social, political, and economic concerns.

The digital butler will likely operate from an existing platform and tap into the vast personal data and services that platform offers. Four super-platforms—Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Alphabet—dominate today’s online world. Not surprisingly, each is aiming for its digital assistant to become our head butler (…) The more we rely on our butler, the more data it collects on us, the more opportunities for the algorithms to learn, and the better the butler can predict our needs and identify relevant services. The more we use the butler, the more power it will have.

Digital butlers affect our feelings and behavior. By complimenting and cajoling, encouraging us to communicate with others, and sending personalized notes on our behalf, it potentially can affect our moods and those of our friends.
As the digital butler expands its role in our daily lives, it can alter our worldview [e] effectively manipulate us through this stimulation (…) in ways that benefit the super-platform.

So who will pay our butler’s salary, especially as it offers additional services? Advertisers, most likely. Our butler may recommend services and products that further the super-platform’s financial interests, rather than our own interests. By serving its true masters—the platforms—it may distort our view of the market and lead us to services and products that its masters wish to promote.

The increase in the super-platform’s economic power can translate into political power. As we increasingly rely on one or two head butlers, the super-platform will learn about our political beliefs and have the power to affect our views and the public debate. [Exemplo:] Facebook users, the service collects data on the things you and your friends do, the information you provide, your devices, your connections, and much more. It shares some of this information with your friends and some of it with third parties, and it makes deductions about your political leanings based on your activity.

As our digital butler increasingly controls our mundane tasks, it will be harder to turn off. It will be tempting to increasingly rely on the butler for the news we receive, the shows we watch, and the things we buy and even say. We may feel that we roam the fields of free ideas. And yet, we are increasingly ushered by the super-platform’s digitalized hand, not recognizing its toll on our well-being.
in "The Subtle Ways Your Digital Assistant Might Manipulate You 29 nov 2016

"Worry, But Resist"

Não é um debate novo. Mas, cada vez mais urgente, e na ordem do dia. E com exemplos. Ou, como dizíamos em outubro a propósito de junho:

"Não é um debate novo, mas cada vez mais urgente e na ordem do dia - open web, indie web, encriptação e (pretty boa) privacidade, tha works, e agora a web descentralizada também."
in Real Nós

Continua no próximo. Afinal, descentralizada como em distribuída também.

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