Investigative reporter Duncan Campbell reflects how 9/11 has torpedoed resistance to intrusion and undermined privacy rights born of earlier struggles. It may, irreversibly, have changed the way we think. 9/11 was a savage nightmare that took too long to happen for some in the West. For 12 fallow years, from the fall of the …
I cannot dispute that you have some point here, however.....
......I pose another question. Ask an average European to name all of the states that the US consists of and at the same time ask an average American to name all the states in the EU. Which of the two groups would do better in your opinion?
Appreciated the input. I think there's 3 Oulu's in US IIRC(I live in the Finnish one)
As to the Welsh, "Twll din pob Sais" I think roughly translates as "arseholes to the English". Should put it on a sign, underneath saying "Welcome to Wales"...
Wikipedia says there are ~700,000 people of Finnish descent in the US. I can't say how it's measured but it's at odds with your assertion.
Sorry for derailing the thread.
> Wales & England are pretty much homogenous
You've clearly never been to the valleys, then...
In honesty, not without Googling...
But what did it for me was talking to a bloke in a bar in Dallas, who believed Iraq was near Canada. I kid you not.
Yep. America is big. So is Europe. So is Russia. So is China.
I guess I've been lucky in my (relatively) uneducated life to have travelled to all of these places.
"Lack of geographical knowledge is not any indication of lack of intellegence"
Agree. But, surely it's an indication of a lack of interest, natural curiosity, and of not wanting to leave one's 'comfort zone'. Friend of mine, married to a Finn, lives here in Oulu, north-ish Finland. He told me that he'd never been out of Ohio 'till he came here. I was gobsmacked.
UK trash culture? Hit the nail on the head there! In Greece last month, seeing Brits eating "sausage, egg and chips", while my Finnish Girlie and I (Brit) were eating octopus, mezze, etc. made us laugh.
Yes the US is a big country (with a nod to various tourist boards...) but I think part of the point is that the lack of external interest is a worrying sign.
I have driven from Maine to Miami - it took forever, but for the entire journey I experienced zero change in culture. Every stop was in a place that broadly looked the same, the food was the same, the dress was the same (except for the climate change...) and the language was the same.
Now, try driving for 2000 miles in Europe. That is less distance than it takes to go from London to Split taking in France, Belgium, Germany, Austria and Croatia. Multiple languages and even cultures although it would be largely Germanic.
You could, for the same distance go from London to Russia, the Baltic States even Morocco.
So while it really isnt a sign of a lack of intelligence, it is a sign of how insular most Americans are, even the ones who travel a lot arent exposed to different cultures and mindsets. An American living in Lincoln NE can travel 1500 miles in almost any direction and still be using dollars at a Denny's.
Sadly, this is not a specific dig against Americans - the British are just as bad. English people will travel to Thailand and spend their time in a Brit pub....
@Andus & AC 8:10 & Vic
Andus: Howdy Neighbor! We are still in touch with our kin in Haapavesi and points further north ... I've been out that way on numerous occasions.
AC, I said "Ethnic Finn". I'm Sami, not Swedish or other Euro ;-)
Vic: Yes, I've been all over the British Isles. The British (as a whole) and the Welsh (as a whole) are a lot closer to each other than Glaswegians and Highlanders ... Or Dalesmen and Scouse, for that matter. Note my "nod to odd corners" qualifier.
> Yes, I've been all over the British Isles.
> The British (as a whole) and the Welsh (as a whole) are a lot closer to each other
You do know that the Welsh *are* the British, right?
You seem to have made the usual mistake of confusing "English" with "British". The two are not synonymous.
> than Glaswegians and Highlanders ... Or Dalesmen and Scouse
And I would absolutely refute that statement. That you believe it would indicate a remarkable ignorance of the diversity within the British Isles. Not that I blame you for that - you're not a native, after all - but you really ought to think twice before holding forth about someone else's country.
> Note my "nod to odd corners" qualifier.
That makes as much sense as saying "Americans are entirely indistinguishable from Aardvarks - with a nod to odd corners". That you note there to be exceptions to your sweeping generality does not excuse the fact that you omitted to mention that those exceptions constitute substantially all of the population.
But Vic, old chap ...
*YOU* were the one that made the crack about "the valleys", insinuating that the Welsh were somehow not entirely British ... And how would my pointing out differences in culture between a couple of groups in the British Isles make me unaware of the diversity? The fact remains that one can ramble the length & breadth of your country(s), pop into a local pub or tea shop, and know exactly what to expect.
Methinks your knickers are showing ...
 Ireland included ... Not only have I done John O'Groats to Land's End, I've also done Malin to Mizen. On bicycle. And the Pennine Way on foot, both ways.
 In that order ... call me backward ;-)
 Malin to Brow, actually, for you sticklers in the crowd.
jake, your ignorance is showing...
> *YOU* were the one that made the crack about "the valleys"
Yes. "The Valleys" is how parts of Wales are often designated. As you'd know if you were familiar with Wales.
> insinuating that the Welsh were somehow not entirely British
Bollocks did I insinuate that.
I was responding to your erroneous claim that "Wales & England are pretty much homogenous". This says nothing whatsoever about the British. Are you still unaware of the difference between "British" and "English"?
> And how would my pointing out differences in culture between a couple
> of groups in the British Isles make me unaware of the diversity?
Because you're just spouting nonsense about groups you don't know. There are differences between many regions of the British Isles, but if you really believe that the English and the Welsh are "pretty much homogenous", then you really don't know what you're talking about.
> The fact remains that one can ramble the length & breadth of your
> country(s), pop into a local pub or tea shop, and know exactly what to expect.
Bullshit. You appear to have gotten your familiarity from "Murder, she wrote" or something.
> Methinks your knickers are showing
And I think you don't have a clue what you're talking about.
Now I'm a Jock. My missus is a Taff. And we live on the southern edge of England. Why exactly do you think you know more about the country in which I was born than I do?
 And I use the term quote wrongly
Vic, you seem to be lost.
May I offer you a map?
"The fact remains that one can ramble the length & breadth of your country(s), pop into a local pub or tea shop, and know exactly what to expect."
I very much doubt that.
I defy to you compare a pub in Strabane with one in Llanberis in any meaningful manner that meets what you are claiming here.
Please note that I mentioned "odd corners", right from the git-go.
The mind absolutely boggles ... Are all y'all TRYING to be xenophobic?
Personally, I've never had any issues hanging out anywhere in the British Isles, and I'm a bloody Yank, for Gawd/ess's sake ...
it was a token nod to odd corners with no apparent value other than to give you a weasel-words get out of jail free card if anyone took your incorrect claims to task.
This is not by any stretch of the imagination xenophobia, it is simply (in my case at least) people point out where you are massively wrong.
Re: Jim Booth
~ The problem is we have become apathetic. We blindly accept new laws without so much of s squeak, we as a society, are as much to blame for not standing up and saying enough if enough.
"We" speak is group think -imo, there have been many complaints against this all along, many warnings that it's in opposition to the constitution(in USA), or queens bench (Canada), yet at the end of the day corporate media owns the spectrum and tows the establishment agenda and they chronologically and choreographically dull their propaganda cruft out exactly timed for maximum effect. You either have to be rich, or things have to become an emergency before they can get fixed. Guerrilla journalism only occasionally slips through on small matters. On anything big like DHS/ICE/UN/NATO the people don't get a vote. The one's pulling the strings have everything set exactly the way they want it with their foreign and corporate agenda. This is the way they want it to be.
Except. . .
"that since 9/11 we may all be headed to a time why we don't understand anymore why privacy matters"
Except the basic point of this article seems pretty weak when you see the hundreds of millions of people using Facebook and caring nothing about their privacy, or the people who use Gmail, Chrome, or other Google products. To those people, privacy does not matter, has never mattered, and will never matter. Are "cloud" users really all that concerned about their privacy? It would seem not. You can not impose privacy on people who do not want or care about it.
But the article is very tendentious. "What 9/11 has done to take away the idea that we should have the power to control what happens next" is the last sentence but is not supported by anything actually *in* the article. That most people do not care about this surveillance, or share your concerns, or that some people possibly even support these measures, doesn't really mean that they can't be controlled. It simply means that things are not going the way that *you* want them to go.
The big point you miss and the one the article hits on the head is most people hand over their data through ignorance not a conscious choice.
We are sleepwalking into this.
I think you have missed the point...
...it is about choice.
that rather good Adam Curtis series, The Trap made a worryingly convincing case for the idea that gave away our freedoms in the name of 'choice'! Perhaps 9/11 was just the icing on the cake and a very good excuse to consolidate what was already there in outline?
I can't help but notice all the TV news coverage of the anniversary, and how often the politicians say how [insert nation here] refuses to bend, and how the terrorists cannot break [insert nation here].
Yeah right... I can't even take a 125g jar of marmite on as hand luggage!
(Yes, I know the limit is 100ml, a volume measurement, and 125g is a measurement of mass, but you try explaining that to security at 6am).
Let's see how free we are...
I'm off into central London with my trusty Nikon and tripod, let's see how much that will make me look like a terrorist today.
Oh, and I haven't had a shave either - living life on the edge!
I didn't get arrested, or even questioned.
In fact I actually questioned too cops to confirm the location of the fireworks!
After that I had no interaction, even when I proceeded to climb up over a sea wall, and set the camera up for shots on what can only be described as a health and safety minefield!
You should have taken a photo of the cops
Then you would find out how free you really are.
1984 was 17 years late
We are all Winston Smith.
Good article. We need more reasoned argument and less headline politics.
Still can't see how things will turn around in the near term unfortunately.
At least someone else cares - it needs repeating until people understand ...
just how intrusive most governments are.
Britain is just a bit player in this game, no self-respecting country would allow another to build a spy base as the U.S. National Security Agency has at Menwith Hill in the Yorkshire dales with British police hassling anyone, be they in cars or on foot hiking the dales to quell American anxieties.
I say again, you cannot hike the dales because of Americans.
France wouldn't do that.
And the national number plate tracking scheme being installed by the unelected ACPO floes i the face of the furor of the proposed National Database proposed by Labour and a reason for their downfall. Not only does the system use public cameras but also private ones.
A friend visiting Britain on business reported he stopped at a roadside gas station and it displayed signs advising their cameras were hooked to Hendon.
The Plod designed system has one big weakness, it depends on criminals not being smart enough to switch number plates. Unlike North America, where number plates are issued only by governments, anyone can have any number on a plate made up in Britain.
Fortunately, infra-red 'night vision' cameras can be effectively neutered by a handful of LEDs mounted around a plate or on a baseball cap, in the case of facial recognition,.
What other country imprisons someone for not handing over a password? My fellow employees, when traveling internationally, are required to carry essentially blank hard drives - they are formatted and have DOS but nothing else. Upon arrival in a foreign destination it is necessary to use a cell phone to activate a download which subsequently permits downloads of working files. We are not alone in this, many corporate IT departments are adopting this - not because we live in authoritarian countries but because of supposedly free countries in the West.
So long as electorates permit their representatives pass laws overriding basic human rights without protest it will continue. In Britain it is worse as the government grants amazing powers to the police who have proved repeatedly they can not be trusted.
If police, without judicial oversight, are permitted to do this one has to ask why we need politicians.
Brilliant post, JaitcH!
So c'mon geeks!
There have to be a hundred ways to encrypt data that aren't even noticeable, if you really care about privacy, for every snooping technology
Convoluting a Jpeg with a sparse matrix and a secret message, from some shared secret appeals..
Remember also, 9/11 was a 'spectacular'..its chief effect was to transform the psyche: I credit Bin Laden with the intelligence and the (CIA?) training to understand black ops completely. In this matter, he has won. His hope that an overreaction would convert people to the fundamental Islamic cause has not been as successful though.
No other event has attracted so much consistently dishonest and lazy reporting.
Culminating in the atrocity of the BBC, inviting the people who were part of the planning of 9/11 (Rumsfeld, Pearle et al) in, to televised "debates", to talk about the aftermath and why we were right to murder over a million civilians in non-combatant nations.
Thinking is hard
People don't vacation by going to a museum where they have to use their brain. They go to Disneyworld where stuff is poured into the skull by smiling workers. Fox News predigests all you need to know. Faith is so much easier than logic.
The slippery slope was traversed long ago: The Advertorial blurred the ethical lines and Infotainment erased it.
The Dark Ages have returned and it is blindingly bright.
Thank a terrorists
Thank a terrorist for your loss of privacy and safety. The world was changed forever and not for good. Those who express apathy toward terrorism are doomed to witness it many more times, unless you are one of the many victims.
From the point of view of civilians on the ground,
drone strikes and car bombs look *very* much the same.
Hearts & Minds? We've heard of them.
You didn't live through real terrorist campaigns, then. Like others, I remember the attitude to the Irish bombings, which was "Fuck you, you aren't scaring me into anything" (oh, except for the rail companies, that still don't have proper litter bins in stations!).
No, the blame lies with governments and news corporations, not the terrorists. There were so many other ways of dealing with this, but certain people in certain places (Bush and Blair at the top of the list) decided to use it for their own corrupt, depraved ends. I'm not religious, but sometimes I wish there is a hell for people like them.
Thank you Duncan for an excellent piece. I viewede this item three times
posted by AC at 12.24. As someone who was an engineer I was very interested. One possible reason did occur. We know the two towers were brought down by the aircraft - the impact and massive fires were easy to see, and the science is understood. WC7 is a different matter. However, it occurs to me that there might be a cause for the collapse. The buildings were designed to withstand an earthquake. Earthquakes are immensely powerful but normally quite deep with relatively slow effect. When the towers fell, millions of tons hit the ground very near to WC7 at close to 90%. If this huge force cracked the foundations of WC7 they coulod have cracked and imploded, possibly with explosive speed given the pressure they were under. That might explain the very rapid and verticle collapse. The fires might not have been able to cause it, and in isolation the building might never have failed in that way, but millions on tons of building collapsing in seconds very close by could have done it. Possibly.
"I will not be spied on, rendered, tortured..."
"I can do these things -- and I've done many others too --in democracy and I will not be spied on, rendered, tortured, beaten up, have the thugs sent round, receive unsubtle death threats etc, but you seem to think that I will?"
If you're in the UK, you're either a troll or a fool. Maybe both?
JC de Menezes. Wrong place wrong time wrong face. Executed by the Met. No one held accountable.
Ian Tomlinson. Wrong place wrong time, attacked and killed by a thug from the Met. The Met lied to try to protect their thug(s), until CCTV (which they initially denied existed?) revealed their lies. No one held accountable.
Mark Kennedy. Undercover cop, one of many spying (illegally?) on perfectly legitimate peaceful protest organisations. Multiple arrests of innocent people in these organisations were made, and the trials fell apart once Kennedy revealed he'd been acting as an agent provacateur (under the control of a senior officer. From the Met, purely by coincidence). No one held accountable.
There's plenty more.
Then along come the riots, and the police (the Met in particular) initial response was pathetic. Maybe their post 9/11 "intelligence gathering" hadn't been working too well?
Will anyone be held accountable this time?
re: "I will not be spied on, rendered, tortured..."
> If you're in the UK, you're either a troll or a fool. Maybe both?
I have lived in countries where these things happen and I've seen real fear on my father's face when, as a child that didn't understand, I spouted something back in public which he'd said in private. Not safe to do in that country.
And I do not know what happen to one other relative when a certain government got its hands on him, because I deliberately chose not to know (I doubt you can understand why. I envy you). However Amnesty International has some details on file.
Now do you get it, you whinging apathetic ignorant lazy self indulgent cunt?
Now do you understand why I make the effort, small as it is?
"I have lived in countries where these things happen"
I'm not sure I fully understand what you're saying. Of course I accept that Bad Things happen elsewhere, and the victims and those close to them have my sympathy and support.
Why is it such a problem to accept that, whether you read much about it in the UK or not, some Bad Things can happen here too? Maybe not to the same extent, but we have been down that road in the past (WM Serious Crime Squad? various bits of the Met?) and courtesy of the likes of ACPO Ltd we appear to be at risk of heading that way again (partly, but not wholly, due to simple incompetence and bad management).
The people of an allegedly democratic country shouldn't be happy about it, especially as our beloved leaders repeatedly remind us of our moral superiority to other countries e.g. those where "regime change" is considered necessary (even when it's just a figleaf for "we need your oil"). But the people of the UK mostly don't know much about the things that are going on.
If it's trivially easy for a footballer or a disgraced ex bankster to use "the system" to suppress publication of his extra-marital bedroom activities, how easy is it likely to be for other more important things to be suppressed when it suits the authorities or big money?
Suppose, for example, someone was to start pointing out loudly and frequently that what goes on in the name of security at airports these days might best be described as "security theatre", because it is irrelevant to true security. How long would it be before someone was encouraged to stop doing that?
I don't know what your historical context is but here's a historical piece I know about. Take the former East Germany as an example. When I was a kid, there was a nice kid's TV programme called The Sandman (it's still around). There were different versions for east and west. If you (illegally) watched the Western one and talked about it at school, that could lead to Bad Things at home.
Now, in 2011, there's Al Jazeera freely available on TV in the UK. What do you think happens to people who start seriously quoting the Al Jazeera line when it differs from the Sky/BBC approved line? Step 1, these folk start being of interest to people you don't want to deal with. Let's hope it stops there.
The point is, Bad Things do happen, and not just elsewhere. Stopping them is tricky anywhere, but deserves some thought.
Take care. And watch who's watching you.
The two-edged sword.
Modern data-processing and communications technology enables us to readily and easily process information, interact with each other with a speed and ease that has never existed before regardless of distance and see/witness events that we otherwise would only ever have read about and seen photographs of often days after. As recently as two centuries or so ago it might have been many days or even weeks between an event and our hearing of it, or our receiving a reply to that letter we had sent someone. The sheer speed and scale of all types of modern communication has an effect on the impact that the world has on us and how we react to it and events. The mainland US had never been attacked since King George had his little dispute with George Washington and even the attack on Pearl Harbour in Hawaii was something that one heard about on the radio or read about in the newspapers and had a certain amount of psychological distance from. When those planes were flown into the towers on that awful day the *whole* of America could *see* and *hear* it happen virtually in real-time and the impact on the collective consciousness of the people of the United States was enormous, leading directly to what Bush and Cheney could get away with and the pernicious home security industry that grew up in the wake of 9/11. "Everyone" saw their nation attacked, everyone "felt" the impact as those horrible videos (more horrifying in their gruesome reality than any horror film could be) showed the plane flying into the tower as if it were a special effect from a new "Die Hard" movie. The very technologies which provide us with so much information and interaction both facilitated the post-event psychology in the US and provided both government and "BigCorp" with the tools with with which to spy on and control us. We as a species are still not quite prepared for the impact for good *and* ill that modern communications technologies have and will have on us as individual human beings living in a society that interacts at a *mass* level in ways and at speeds that are unique in human history.
Learn what paragraphs are. You might get your point across more legibly.
Before you get mad at me, I think I agree with you, for the most part ...
@jake "I am not remotely mad at you"
I wrote that somewhat "free-form" and only realised that its structure was somewhat "lacking" after I had sent it in. I only hope that those who read it realise/understand my intention without being to hard on me with regard to my composition!
APNR and other things...
If they monitor the movements of my car, then they'll be confused because I tend to go for random drives. There is no science that could ever decipher it.
If they silently activate the car's embedded microphones connected to the TeleAid system, then they'll hear either BBC World Service or 400 watts of Sirius Hits 1.
If I ever decide to embark on a life of serious crime (for the record: ¡extremely! unlikely), then I'll use these systems against them.
Well then perhaps...
...you could embark on a life of frivolous crime?
I love hearing about banking online. It's the banks that create the problems. Most of the banks I deal with have loads of third party code on them.
Liveperson, google code, visitor tracking.
Please tell me, why does any website need to monitor with google or other visitor tracking those that log-in to secure areas?
You know the people are logging in; what else is there to know and why is it to be made public?
I've grilled my banks about it and have cancelled accounts with non-banks that insist on having tracking code inside of logged in areas.
Nobody should wonder why we have such a high rate of identity theft.
Im not saying google is evil or anything, but shouldn't it be against their tos to have their code inserted into secure logged in banking websites? :) I know they are rather picky about political sites and their ad payments.
We've already seen some benefits
The U.S. and others have already folied several terrorist plots due to better intelligence but you can't stop all terrorism. We need to live in the real world and it's full of whackos hellbent on killing as many people as they can in the name of some crusade. The use of all technology available to stop these animals is justified IMO. I'm far more concerned about terrorism than some imposition or perceived loss of privacy from intelligence gathering.
"We need to live in the real world and it's full of whackos hellbent on killing as many people as they can in the name of some crusade."
Eh, no it isn't. Diagnosis: you are either a juvenile, or a paranoid dupe. People or organisations, including "bogey men" have specific goals - for example, the United States - pursuant to it's "interests" desires to have military presence in all areas of the globe and will kill - and has killed - millions to achieve that goal. The documented and stated goals of Al Qaeda are to remove American military presence from the Middle East.
Now evil genius Bin Laden calculated that the way to nobble an overwhelmingly more powerful democratic adversary is to make it implode simply by demolishing a few buildings and getting them to use their own state apparatus against their own population. Job done, I'd say - 360 million headless chickens with a ridiculously powerful military is far more of a threat to me personally than some dupes with rucksacks full of fertiliser and the odd AK-47.
"full of whackos hellbent on killing as many people as they can in the name of some crusade"
So not like our own crusade of taking and controlling oil by invading a foreign country, and so what if a bunch of locals get killed in the process?
" I'm far more concerned about terrorism than some imposition or perceived loss of privacy from intelligence gathering"
Which is exactly how the govt wants you to think. Looks like the propaganda works in your case.
I think Goering (remember that evil Nazi who founded the Gestapo?) put it quite well:
" .. the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country"
You're kidding right?
"Those who trade their liberty for a safe and dreamless sleep doesn't deserve the both of them and neither shall he keep".
Presumably, you also believe
that the terrorist attacks on the US are by people who hate and fear your freedom, right?
We lost our privacy in the name of security. Since then, Bush used his powers to look for porn. Obama is using them to look for offshore bank accounts.
Seems like most of us agree here in this forum that the world changed for the worse since 9/11. And I am happy to see that freedom is still remembered as a great thing by all the technical people here. It is our duty to at least keep our communication channels as free as possible (the Internet above all).
Seeing all the comments here I get a little hope back into my heart. Maybe, just maybe, the world might not become a huge Big Brother place in the near future. Just maybe....