Bruce Schneier on the state of the web

Bruce Schneier on the state of the internet. Schneier is one of the smartest people on information security and the implications of how systems change

Key takeaways:

  • The internet has been changed by a change in the elites involved in running it. In the early commercial internet through to the mid-noughties their was a libertarian post-hippy element at the centre of it. You had engineers and bodies with a somewhat countercultural outlook. This is no longer the case
  • The technological models haven’t changed that much: time-sharing –> client server model –> managed services –> cloud computing
  • Locked down end points are interesting because the consumer has much less control: Apple’s app store, Kindle store etc –> new model of security; someone else takes care of it. Users have to trust vendors from iOS devices to GMail and Yahoo! Mail – what he calls feudal security. It reminds me a lot of the power of the chaebols in Korea
  • Cloud platform companies are starting to look like banks where consumer trust is being compromised. NSAgate is just a minor part of that.
  • The internet magnifies power, consumers tend to have power when technological change first comes along, existing powerful bodies take a while to get up to speed but are more effective.

Four classes of internet tools of power:

  • Content filtering / data loss prevention
  • Use control
  • Marketing
  • Surveillance – personal data collection

Facebook is changing social norms, affecting what people is normal and regular for profit. Allignment of corporate and government power: Facebook is NSA’s wet dream

  • Ubiquitous data collection is the ‘end of pre-history’ where some things were recorded to where everything is recorded.
  • Cyber-nationalism with ITU looking to wrest control of the internet from the US to local governments
  • We are a forgetting species so the technology will transform both personal and societal relationships. Second order social consequences make all this unpredictable

The nature of power is changing from hard to soft power; the nature of social control has changed dramatically. Making privacy salient makes consumers aware and less likely to adopt a service.

No part of the internet commons, but a collection of privately-owned public spaces, which affects legality and control.

 

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