John Perry Barlow on TIA, IAO, and PATRIOT Act: The All-Seeing Spy

Earlier today, Electronic Frontier Foundation co-founder and "cognitive dissident" John Perry Barlow distributed to a mailing list of friends and fans this essay on Total Information Awareness, The Really Scary IAO Logo, and his proposed alternative to the IAO–an "Open Intelligence Office." Excerpt:

What we see here is a technological vision and depth that is
generally beyond most governmental capacities. But we can no longer
be assured that we will be spared their despotism by their
incompetence. Even the best and brightest have now been seduced by
the belief that terrorism is threat that justifies turning their
intellectual resources to creating the most intrusive personal
investigation system ever conceived.

With such a system comes immense power of extortion. When the
government can know all our secret shames and we can know nothing of
what it has gathered about us and how it interprets those data, we
are at an enormous disadvantage should we seek to raise our voices
against it.

Moreover, what was devised to combat terrorism can be used to
investigate other "crimes" of a more cultural nature. We've already
seen evidence of this with behavior the new Federal Transport
Security Administration. In the past, private security screeners at
airports were exclusively focused on finding weapons or threats to
the aircraft. (…)

We can be assured that the quest for Total Information Awareness will
have similar guidelines. Which implies that the same posse that's
currently asking itself "Who would Jesus bomb?" would finally have
the means to impose its cultural practices on you while preventing
you practicing your own.

Note: FWIW, this message was distributed before it became apparent that The Really Scary Logo had been removed from the IAO website.

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