Politicians Proposing More Wiretapping to “Protect Against Terrorism” Are Full of Deceit
By Rick Falkvinge
Politicians in several countries have proposed restrictions in privacy and liberty in the form of increased surveillance powers following the Paris terror attacks. This is not just wrong and harmful, but deceitful, as they know or should know such surveillance is useless against terrorism – so they have something else in mind.
Politicians of all colors seem to say right now that “we must protect against terrorism, and therefore, we need more electronic surveillance”. This would have been the highest form of utter hogwash, if it wasn’t also a very real erosion of very real liberties. All these politicians should know much better, and there’s reason to believe a lot of them do know better and are acting in deceit.
In 2002, there was a military exercise conducted by the Pentagon that cost on the order of 250 million US dollars, involving over 13,500 people. It became an utter joke because of the way the United States refused to learn a thing from it and backscripted the entire thing to avoid public embarrassment.
The simulated US invasion of an Arab country – maybe Iraq, maybe Iran, the country was unnamed in the exercise – had two players: Blue Force, which was the United States, and Red Force, which was the simulated lower-tech country being invaded.
Red Force whipped the US forces back to the stone age in this simulated exercise. The US didn’t stand a chance. The player leading Force Red did so by the most simple means necessary: instead of using wiretappable radio communications, they used motorcycle couriers to relay orders and coordinate. They used light signals instead of radio signals to communicate with aircraft. By just evading the surveillance network, which was trivial, Red Force responded to a simulated wartime ultimatum by effectively eliminating the US Naval force (including an aircraft carrier, ten cruisers, and 85% of the landing craft). The exercise referees then decided that this “wasn’t how the exercise was supposed to happen”, resurrected all the dead seacraft, and prohibited the Red Force player from communicating in a way that wasn’t wiretappable and ordered it to reveal its positions and forces. The rest of the exercise was therefore a carefully scripted joke in how to avoid Pentagonian embarrassment.
It bears repeating that this was a United States exercise. Therefore, Pentagon and Western politicians are very aware that wiretapping is worse than useless against a low-tech adversary – you start relying on it and think it provides total visibility, and are then dumbstruck while unknowingly blind and blown out of the water (which was actually the case in this simulated exercise). This is a known fact as illustrated by this exercise in 2002.
There is just no replacement for classic police work. Thinking that a fiber split can replace classic detective work isn’t just dumb, it’s outright dangerous as the assumption is utterly false.
To wit, Osama bin Laden used homing pigeons to communicate. He was eventually traced through his courier, by classic detective work. Not by any kind of blanket wiretapping.
Since the Paris terror attacks, David Cameron of the UK has proposed increased wiretapping powers, as has Anna Kinberg Batra of Sweden. Both are utterly deceitful in any suggestion that surveillance helps defeat any kind of terrorism.
The only thing blanket surveillance helps defeat is the open society we need to protect.
The post Politicians Proposing More Wiretapping to “Protect Against Terrorism” Are Full of Deceit appeared first on Privacy Online News.
November 17, 2015 at 07:10PM
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