A Dutch Homage to Orwell (and NSA/Schroeder, GCHQ/Anonymous)

Rop Gonggrijp — a singluarly unique combination of hacker, activist, and successful businessman (is that even legal? when’s the how-to workshop/talk?) — has an English-language summary of some remarkable developments in a smallish Dutch city.

Nijmegen residents suspected of social security fraud may be getting cameras installed outside their houses… watching their front doors, so the fraud detection squad can watch them.

Gonggrijp points out that it will probably be “some time” before anyone considers using this kind of measure against the bankers who are suspected of stealing 100,000 times as much money.

I find this story particularly interesting for a few reasons.

One, it’s an excellent hand-on illustration of a princple that was elucidated 89 years ago by a dude with a funny ‘stache:

“Authority should flow down from the leader, responsibility should flow up.”

(“Autorität jedes Führers nach unten und Verantwortung nach oben.”)

Specifically, here we have people handing over responsibility to the local government (feed me! pay my rent!) and getting, in exchange, well… authority.

The logical extreme of this is of course what we see in prisons, the military, and the US public school system. The system takes total responsibility for you (you just show up and eat and do your work) and in exchange… I haven’t been paying attention — are they shooting tracking darts into elementary school kids these days, or are RFID nametags still considered good enough?

But second and more interesting is to consider Gonggrijp’s other observation — why not the bankers? And if the readily available answer (“political connections”) is too obvious, why not other forms of crime?

I would put forth the argument that again, responsibility plays a role. One element that makes the “1%” so hard to hit is their readiness to take responsibility for the situation (if not openly, legally, or in the public eye… that’s what lawyers and proxies are for) as soon as things aren’t quite going their way.

On the other hand, people who are used to not doing that, and used to relying on “the system” to provide for them… when “the system” starts looking for victims, is it going to go after the lions or the injured gazelles?

Food for thought… as much as hackers and spies like to cite Sun Tzu, I highly recommend reading Clausewitz’s “On War.”

As to why this responsibility thing is an issue at all, that ought to be obvious. It’s HARD.

Ham stuff: While I’m on the topic of responsibility, I’ve been doing some digging into the ham radio field and it’s interesting to note the meteoric popularity of the Elecraft KX-3 among both wealthy hams and “prepper” survivalists.

The former I can understand, but the latter… I just gotta shake my head at. As a software defined radio with a billion abstraction layers, seriously? If I were concerned the world was going to go to hell in a handbasket — I’d be building my own, so I’d have something I understood down to the transistors! (and could re-build using scrap metal and a chunk of ore in a pinch)

Buying a radio — not that I haven’t been guilty of this plenty of times myself — just seems against the “in it to learn everything about DIY communications” aim of amateur radio. Anything SDR-based as the beginner’s ONLY tool, doubly so.

The NSA likes spying on German politicians.

Germany’s Justice Minister is *NOT HAPPY* about this. “For the NSA, the cloak of security seems to be just a cover for gathering data en masse. Anyone who listens to the Chancellor’s telephone is certainly not using it to protect against terror attacks.” (my translation)

Note the Justice Minister is in charge of the Justice Ministry, which oversees the Federal Prosecutor’s Office… which is the entity deciding whether or not to prosecute the NSA (either under its own steam or the CCC et al’s complaint)… which for the moment is Snowden’s best shot at a ticket to and official protection in Germany.

GCHQ vs. Anonymous… In Soviet Britain, Government DDoS you!

Quoth one of the hackers, “My Government used a DDoS attack against servers I owned, and then convicted me of conducted DDoS attacks. Seriously what the fucking fuck?” https://twitter.com/CJFWeatherhead/status/431059633071878144

Coverage from the usual suspects… Greenwald is starting to get it through his courtroom-hardened rhinocerously thick skull that indeed, it’s not *JUST* listening that these agencies get up to:



“If you are suspected of social security fraud in the once progressive city of Nijmegen, you might get your very own camera, pointed directly at your front door, so the municipal fraud detection squad can better keep an eye on you. It would appear from these documents that this has already been approved by the city council and the CBP (our data protection authority / Bundesdatenschutzbeauftragter). Who probably feel wonderful about themselves for getting Nijmegen to only use it if they feel it’s really really necessary, and to make sure there’s a “separate decision” made before using the camera at night.[…]

Also do note how it will be some time before this level of privacy intrusion is deemed suitable for people suspected of defrauding society of 10.000 or 100.000 times more while working at a large bank.”

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