James Bridle's new essay (adapted from a speech at the Through Post-Atomic Eyes event in Toronto last month) draws a connection between the terror of life in the nuclear shadow and the days we live in now, when we know that huge privacy disasters are looming, but are seemingly powerless to stop the proliferation of surveillance.
He connects his essay to Maciej Ceglowski's speech, "Haunted By Data"; and my 2008 essay on personal information as nuclear waste.
The one concession to the present at Bletchley is a small Intel-sponsored exhibition about cybersecurity, which is largely useless, but also unintentionally revealing. One of the talking heads it calls upon while advising visitors to always use a strong password when browsing online is Michael Hayden. That’s Michael Hayden, former director of NSA and CIA, who is famous in part for affirming that “we kill people with metadata” – an affirmation that data is a weapon in itself.
This thing we call BIG DATA is The Bomb – a tool developed for wartime purposes which can destroy indiscriminately. I was struck hard by this realisation at Bletchley, and once seen, it can’t be unseen.
I’m not the only one who has this sense either*. The phrase “privacy chernobyl” or “meltdown” has been deployed by the media on many occasions, most recently in reference to the Ashley Madison hack when the personal information of thousands of people was posted online for all to see, with little sympathy for the victims, even when they turned out to be just that, conned twice over, first by Ashley Madison’s marketing department, and second by its security team.
But when that data is the names and addresses of all the children in the UK, or an HIV clinic’s medical records, or all of a cellular provider’s customer data, it’s a bit more concerning.
Big Data, No Thanks
[James Bridle/Book Two]
This is for everyone who follows me on social media, or who has read my press criticism. All my former students. Fans of my blog, PressThink. Anyone who owns my book. Anyone who's heard me speak. It is a personal statement, from me to them. I have never asked you for anything. Except maybe to […]
America's commitment to market-based broadband -- fueled by telcom millions pumped into campaigns against public broadband provision -- has left rural Americans without access to the broadband they need to fully participate in twenty-first century life, with students among the hardest-hit victims of broadband deprivation.
My latest Locus Magazine column is What the Internet Is For: it describes the revolutionary principle (end-to-end communications) and technologies (general purpose computers, strong cryptography) that undergird the net, but also cautions that these are, themselves, not sufficient to revolutionize the world.
There are two times you never want to just “eyeball” it: Conducting brain surgery and matching shades of paint for your walls. Whether you’re painting or repainting, make sure you’re never just “close enough” to the color you want. Not when the Nix Mini Color Sensor can scan and match any color perfectly. Small enough […]
In photography as in film, all the real artistry is in post-production – increasingly so, with the new possibilities cropping up in digital imaging. If you’re ready to get serious about your photography, may we suggest HDR Projects 2018 Pro. As working photographers can tell you, this imaging software can help you re-imagine even the […]
A picture can be worth a heck of a lot more than just a thousand words. If you’ve squinted for ages trying to get just the right photo, you might have the right passion for a career behind the camera. You might even have the right equipment, but do you have the know-how? The Beginner-To-Expert […]