2 June 2015

Technology is change: forget about law

The Blog

Writing prior to the vote of 1 June on the renewal of the USA PATRIOT Act, C4SS writer Kevin Carson cautioned that politics is not the effective channel to challenge something like immoral state spying on society.

At the end of the day, the determined spies of the NSA don't care what the law says. They are part of a regime that will stop at nothing to get what it wants, and has no interest in anything more than a parody of democratic legitimacy and legality.

The theory advanced by Carson coincides with what the cypherpunk rebel elite and whistleblower Edward Snowden referred to variously as forces of nature, brute forces, or more specifically encryption. Theoretically, this is the second means available to challenge the use of the Internet as a spying apparatus, while the first is the US Constitution and the force of the law.

As Carson argues, "So long as the physical means of surveillance continue to exist at Fort Meade, the NSA and other federal spooks will spy on us just as long as they feel like it."

It is a call to action to the technology community and to lone hackers and coders to devise the means to blind the state to the citizen's communication. At present, this avenue of change is being pursued by enthusiasts who sustain the Tor Project and others. It is also being pursued by WikiLeaks itself, as it is tasked with keeping its sources as secure as possible from reprisals by repressive regimes, in particular the United States, which is the world's most sophisticated authoritarian state.
Carson made reference to his existing theory of technological liberation, which coincides with similar works promoted by this blog such as the Catalyst thesis, arguing:
States exist to serve economic ruling classes. Trying to capture the apparatus of the capitalists’ state and reform the system is a losing game. In any case, with liberatory technologies like cheap, small-scale production machinery and networked communications, and the kind of convivial associations for mutual aid and cooperation (described by Kropotkin) which existed before the state suppressed them, we have no material need for any function the state provides. The state is only important insofar as it can stop us from building a networked, self-managed post-capitalist society amenable to human values. And that threat can be met far more effectively and cheaply by bypassing the state’s enforcement capabilities and then ignoring it, than by participating in the political process to obtain permission to build the kind of society we want.

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