Following the recent NSA incidents made me read a bit about secure internet communications and alternative networks to the world wide web. Stumbling upon a few mesh projects and brushing up on my trivial knowledge about cryptography made me excited about entering what could be the beginning of the end of the internet as we know it but I’ll leave that for another post.
What I want to talk about is the reaction we all or most of us had when we read the news. People are seemingly more scared and more aware about their internet privacy and took to the streets against their own governments.
Looking back on the events I was surprised at how outraged people were by their governments “listening” . Surprised because since the birth of the internet intrusions have been a big problem.
Latest with Captain Zap’s hack on AT&T in 1981 it was clear that networks had to be secured from external intrusions the so called “hackers”. But intercepting communications didn’t just start 30 years ago, communication interception has been present ever since… well ever since a human being was able to communicate. If encrypted writings dating back 1900BC and codes have been cracked ever since, does it leave any hope for others not to put their nose where it does not belong?
Giving that humans had almost 4000 years experience in trying to know what the other is saying and trying to hide your thoughts it does not surprise me at all that there is basically no privacy on the internet, or telephone lines, or simple mail. Someone somewhere will always want to know what you are up to, might it be your grandmother, a bored hacker or your beloved big brother.
My guess is the people were shocked that the listener was this time someone they were supposed to trust. The government has now stepped into the shoes of the hacker, the person they have always warned us from but we all should have seen this coming 4000 years ago. If you don’t want someone to listen to what you are saying, then don’t say it.