27 de diciembre de 2012

Otro discurso navideño

El de Assange, el 20 de diciembre. Y su regalito: “Estamos preparando el lanzamiento de más de un millón de documentos para el próximo año”, prometió, añadiendo que afectarán “a todos los países en el mundo”. Sus seguidores le gritaban en español "Julian, amigo, el pueblo está contigo". Aquí tenéis el video, con afirmaciones de esta grandilocuencia:
- "Our buildings can only be as tall as their bricks are strong. And our civilisation is only as strong as its ideas are true".
-  "When our media is corrupt, when our academics are timid, when our history is filled with half-truths and lies, our civilisation will never be just. It will never reach the sky."

La premio Nobel de 1976 Mairead Maguire, galardonada por su actividad en el Norte de Irlanda, pidió días despúes que acabase la "tortura psicológica" de Assange. Mientras, sus ex-colaboradores de la prensa internacional ruegan porque se agote pronto el culebrón que ayudó a crear. Sin embargo, continuará.

Porque mucho más interesante que este fogonazo mediático resulta la última entrevista de The Guardian. Contiene el núcleo de su último libro y sus profecías sobre el apocalipsis democrático que comportaría una Internet convertida en red que intercepta y almacena todas nuestras comunicaciones:

- "The internet, our greatest tool of emancipation, has been transformed into the most dangerous facilitator of totalitarianism we have ever seen".

- "The last 10 years have seen a revolution in interception technology, where we have gone from tactical interception to strategic interception," he explains. "Tactical interception is the one that we are all familiar with, where particular individuals become of interest to the state or its friends: activists, drug dealers, and so on. Their phones are intercepted, their email communication is intercepted, their friends are intercepted, and so on. We've gone from that situation to strategic interception, where everything flowing out of or into a country – and for some countries domestically as well – is intercepted and stored permanently. Permanently. It's more efficient to take and store everything than it is to work out who you want to intercept."

The change is partly down to economies of scale: interception costs have been halving every two years, whereas the human population has been doubling only every 20. "So we've now reached this critical juncture where it is possible to intercept everyone – every SMS, every email, every mobile phone call – and store it and search it for a nominal fee by governmental standards. A kit produced in South Africa can store and index all telecommunications traffic in and out of a medium-sized nation for $10m a year." And the public has no idea, due largely to a powerful lobby dedicated to keeping it in the dark, and partly to the legal and technological complexity. So we spend our days actively assisting the state's theft of private information about us, by putting it all online.

- "The penetration of the Stasi in East Germany is reported to be up to 10% of the population – one in 10 at some stage acted as informers – but the penetration of Facebook in countries like Iceland is 88%, and those people are informing much more frequently and in much more detail than they ever were in the Stasi. And they're not even getting paid to do it! They're doing it because they feel they'll be excluded from social opportunities otherwise. So we're now in this unique position where we have all the ingredients for a turnkey totalitarian state."

In this dystopian future, Assange sees only one way to protect ourselves: cryptography. Just as handwashing was once a novelty that became part of everyday life, and crucial to protecting our health, so, too, will we have to get used to encrypting our online activity. "A well-defined mathematical algorithm can encrypt something quickly, but to decrypt it would take billions of years – or trillions of dollars' worth of electricity to drive the computer. So cryptography is the essential building block of independence for organisations on the internet, just like armies are the essential building blocks of states, because otherwise one state just takes over another. There is no other way for our intellectual life to gain proper independence from the security guards of the world, the people who control physical reality."

Y, por último, sobre "su trabajo" para la tele de Putin:

"I've never worked for a Russian state-owned television channel. That's just ridiculous – the usual propaganda rubbish." He spells it out slowly and deliberately. "I have a TV production company, wholly owned by me. We work in partnership with Dartmouth Films, a London production company, to produce a 12-part TV series about activists and thinkers from around the world. Russia Today was one of more than 20 different media organisations that purchased a licence. That is all." There is no one to whom he wouldn't sell a licence? "Absolutely not. In order to go to the hospital, we must put Shell in our car. In order to make the maximum possible impact for our sources, we have to deal with organisations like the New York Times and the Guardian." He pauses. "It doesn't mean we approve of these organisations."

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