I haven't used G+ for a long while. In the meanwhile I have stopped using Facebook. I return here, and I am confused by the new GUI. Am I the only one? Is this something I will get used to?
Anyway. Entering the last days of my vacation, begin at work again on Monday. We had 1.5 weeks in Spain - Costa Brava. Great times.
Otherwise, this Snowden thing has kept me awake more than a few hours per night. Not because I am surprised at all by the US and UK wiretapping en masse, but by how the governments are responding to this whistleblower.
First Snowden is a spy, US wants HK and China to send him to the US. They don't do it. Snowden goes to Moscow airport, apparently. US asks Russia to hand Snowden over. Cloak and shadows. Putin finally says that Snowden IS at the airport transit, and that since Snowden hasn't broken Russian law, they see him as a free man and won't hand him over.
So, we have seen the limits of US power here. But also, we have seen how Obama, who before his first election, spoke so much about the rule of law, has turned into a president who drops even more drones-bombs worldwide, who apparently wants to turn drones on US land as well (without the bombs for now). A president that talks about the whistleblower being a spy and criminal, instead of starting those important discussions we need to have to - as a society - evolve in a positive manner.
The illegal wiretapping can always be excused, by putting security in the spotlight. "We need to spy on the world to stop the bad guys". I agree that there are bad guys. My anger was immense in January this year when north-african scumbags kidnapped my uncle and others at In Amenas, and later he and others were killed.
Statoil had information about the dangers in the area. Not specific information about the what, when and where, of course, but still. They knew how Libya situation and AQIM was affecting their security at the gas plant. We are yet to see the details of what they actually did.
I am not saying that we shouldn't look for the bad guys. Quite the opposite. But what I don't get is why the governments of UK, US, and others, need to datamine all my communications with others in order to look for the bad guys.
Of course, the computers doing the datamining and looking for the patterns are more advanced now than 15 years ago. The technology is amazing, from a technical point of view. But the insensibility to people's privacy is worrying. And if we look at the larger geopolitical picture here, wow, what a minefield.
We know China and Russia are spying and hacking. It's a fact. We know the US and UK are doing it as well. I know that whatever I write here is, stored in databases in the US and elsewhere.. I expect the content to be analyzed. Even though I have deactivated my Facebook account (you can't ever delete it, the data will outlive me, there to be datamined until the end of time), my relationships with the 700+ people there is analyzed, and some machine and later some person might look at it and connect the dots. Who I am, where I stand politically, there might be some tags put on my persona, like "liberal", "politically active", "artist", "works in technology" and so on. They will - most likely - conclude that I am not a threat to the security of my country, Norway, or to US interests.
BUT what if they conclude otherwise? What if they then also decide to put my name on other lists? It won't likely turn so bad that I will be barred from entering the UK or US, but there Are other lists, that's a given. Other levels of scrutiny.
At times I have contemplated going silent. Totally. Stopping using non-secure email services, and other services. Live like a hacker, which, incidentally, according to the powers that be is almost the same as living as a terrorist. I have concluded that no, it's not worth the hassle. Both because I have nothing to hide, I need to get used to the idea that all my communications is being monitored by an analyzing computer (whether I like it or not), and because we don't win anything by doing this.
Sure, I might feel personally better knowing that my personal emails to friends and other contacts isn't being sniffed by the NSA, but I won't gain much apart from that. And instead I would turn into some annoying paranoid person. "Hey, if you want to reach me, use this specific method". Bleh.
I am rambling, I rarely do that these days, because so much can be read between the lines by others, and I don't feel very comfortable with that. And because, well, I surely am much more private now as a person compared to 2004-06 when I made most of the public videos on http://dltq.org/media
. Videoblogging, yay. My wrinkles, my living conditions, all out there to be analyzed as well, by humans and machines alike.
I work more than play now, and I enjoy that. Play is fun, but it doesn't buy me a house unless I am one of those Really good ones. It's like wanting to be an author. Only the top 5% make a Living from it, the rest are given small checks now and then, if they are lucky.
So. Work. No time for checking twitter all the time for news on topics that I am interested in. My blog is mostly half-dead. This google+ space mostly dead, stone dead. (I Still associate this arena with the july 2011 events). Work and family. Donate some money to causes I believe in, artists I want to see thrive. But not get much more involved.
Oh, politics? Um, yeah, I can't stop myself, so since 2011 I have been involved with that again, a year as president of Stovner Venstre (my local branch of the Norwegian social-liberal party), and now as vice-president. We have parliamentary elections coming up here in Norway in September, and I will do my little part in the campaigning. I sit in a committee in my part of Oslo, dealing with kindergartens/upbringing, youth and culture, representing my party. Meetings once a month, manageable. Unlike my cousin the minister, I have no ambitions beyond that.
It's Saturday, I will work again on Monday, I love my job as solutions architect, which is strange and new for me. I mean, loving my job, and not seeing it just as the way to pay the bills.
This autumn I will be studying part-time at BI, the Norwegian private business school. Project management and some basic business economics. Since it's part time studies, I hope my co-students wont all be 19 year olds with Frogner-clothes and a slick haircut. I hope to have good discussions about project management, and to learn stuff about numbers, and how corporations deal with their numbers.
.so. What else? Family. Kid of 2.6 years old. A wife I love to pieces.
They are what matters to me. These things are things that matter to me. I write my emails, read my news without cloaking my IP, use Google a lot despite the fact that everything I do will be logged. I expect it, and I don't have the will to fight that fight. To stand up, to protest, to spend time dealing with these scumbags. I have grown older, more comfortable, and I will support the causes in other ways, mostly by some money I make by NOT spending my days on ze internet, reading more more more, writing more more and talking more with people around the world. Insular, I know. But for now, this is where I am.
And then, in 5, 10, or 20 years, I will be in a position where I have that house in Norway, that 2nd house in The Philippines, no debts, a kid that has grown older, perhaps more kids that are growing too, and I will show them the world as it is, could be, and should be.