One day I'll write a lot more (don't say you've not been warned) about this.
But for now, I'll restrict it to:
There are all kinds of noises being made about new laws needing to be passed concerning communication over the internet (I don't know what the fuck's going on with the Patriot Act and the Freedom Act and the yada yada yada, but let's assume they've got some covert internet surveillance going on - balance of past probabilities and all that).
The first problem with blanket internet surveillance (which unless I've misunderstood things, seems to be generally the way the politicians want to go) is that it probably isn't even possible; yes, it's possible to measure "internet traffic" but there's JUST SO MUCH OF IT...how can any reasonable person suggest that anything of use could be extracted? You'd need literally millions of people working on it 24 hours a day just to keep up. If the government think that this is analogous to the reading of prisoners' communications, they're even more naive than I thought.
Anyway, here's a few flaws in the blanket internet surveillance argument off the top of my head (assuming the following):
- resources are available to accurately intercept all cyber-data;
- resources are available to filter the signal from the noise;
- resources are available to deliver any information deemed relevant to someone "in power".
- oh, and you'd have to be able to do all this in real time, too.
- Much of what is flagged as "signal" will be entirely innocuous under any scheme I can think of;
- Anything that might be useful as "signal" will almost certainly been sent in an encrypted form, so
- if it hadn't already been dismissed as "noise", it would still need deciphering and
- there are already any number of encryption methods that are effectively undecipherable,
- or, a entirely innocuous-seeming exchange could be prearranged to mean something completely different to those "in the know", and this arrangement almost definitely wouldn't have been made via the same channels
- and anyway, terrorisztz/paedophiles etc. tend not to broadcast their plans by whatever means, unless they're very stupid.
Got a bit confused there, but that's only because there's so many ways to shoot this thing down that it's difficult to know where to start.