14 September 2006

We Have Lost the War...

...the techno-war for liberty, that is. At least, that's what the venerable Computer Chaos Club (CCC) reckons:

"We have lost the war ," is what it all boils down to according to the assessment delivered by Frank Rieger, the former CCC spokesman, at the last CCC Congress in Berlin in December. "We are living in that dark world of sci-fi novels we always sought to forestall. The police state is now."


The new technologies have opened up a plethora of possibilities for collecting, storing and linking data. The desire to data mine these huge international repositories has become ever more intense, especially since 9/11. Scared people make for pliable populations and governments have no hard time getting their hands on the information they want. Whence the relinquishing of civil rights and liberties is taking place - in a creeping fashion.

The CCC has not been able to prevent these developments. But it saw them coming. Since its founding on September 12, 1981 the Club has sought to be more than a kindergarten for nerds and geeks. Very early on the CCC showed a commitment to educating the public. It has repeatedly warned of the downsides of the technology it so fervently embraces. An attitude that may appear a little schizophrenic but that is nonetheless indispensable.

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