Friday, 7 June 2013

Make your list

So it turns out that the NSA has been scooping up rather a bit of information about Version Verizon customers in the States. It hasn't been entirely a secret prior to now; it would be a bit surprising if the other phone companies didn't have other similar systems in place.

JD Tuccille notes that Americans travelling within America, but within 100 miles of the border, are getting stopped at checkpoints on the interstate for citizenship checks.

A couple of months ago, when Alex Tabarrok complained of his son's school being turned into a police camp, I noted some of the differences between American schools and the ones here, concluding:
You can choose to live like this too. Sure, New Zealand is getting worse, and it's definitely worse than some parts of the US if marijuana freedom is an important part of your bundle of liberties. But NZ is starting from a much better spot than the US, and it seems to be getting worse slower than other places.

Things aren't bad enough to leave yet? Fine. Freedom's a value, but so too are other things like distance from family and wealth differentials and access to Ethiopean restaurants. But write down today some bright-line rules that you think should trigger your future exit; it's easy to acclimatize to gradual changes for the worse.
If you really want to live free, write down your list of things that would actually be sufficient to trigger your emigration, then think about the places you might go that offer the best deal on the bundle of freedoms that matters most to you.

If you're instead happy getting consumption benefits from ranting about the deterioration of freedom in America, or from imagining that you'll be able to change things there, carry on.

Here in New Zealand, we should be especially vigilant against importing American spy regs. It's awfully tempting for some folks in Wellington to be seen to be team players by signing onto things the Americans want. I hope we're especially careful with the Telecommunications Interception Capability & Security Bill. New Zealand can become relatively more attractive simply by standing still.

Update: Emigration won't help you against this one. It might make things worse.
The National Security Agency has obtained direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other US internet giants, according to a top secret document obtained by the Guardian.

The NSA access is part of a previously undisclosed program called PRISM, which allows them to collect material including search history, the content of emails, file transfers and live chats, the document says.

The Guardian has verified the authenticity of the document, a 41-slide Powerpoint presentation – classified as Top Secret with no distribution to foreign allies – which was apparently used to train intelligence operatives on the capabilities of the program. The document claims "collection directly from the servers" of major US service providers.

Although the presentation claims the program is run with the assistance of the companies, all those who responded to a Guardian request for comment on Thursday denied any knowledge of any such program. ...

The PRISM program allows the NSA, the world's largest surveillance organisation, to obtain targeted communications without having to request them from the service providers and without having to obtain individual court orders.

With this program, the NSA is able to reach directly into the servers of the participating companies and obtain both stored communications as well as perform real-time collection on targeted users.

The presentation claims PRISM was introduced to overcome what the NSA regarded as shortcomings of Fisa warrants in tracking suspected foreign terrorists. It noted that the US has a "home field advantage" due to housing much of the internet's architecture. But the presentation claimed "Fisa constraints restricted our 'home field advantage'" because Fisa required individual warrants and confirmations that both the sender and receiver of a communication were outside the US.
I expect we instead need a Bruce Schneier guide on secure internet use.

Is there some Chinese version of Google I can flip everything over to? If somebody's going to be sniffing through all my email, family photos, chat sessions and the like, I'd sooner it be them. At least they're honest about it.


  1. Oh, I know, Tim. I am heavily reliant on all of Google's products.

  2. Gentlemen,

    this is John Rambo, Anti-Feminist Soldier. I am posting this on behalf of
    Peter-Andrew: Nolan© also now known as Joschua-Brandon: Boehm©. I am doing this
    because, as a young men who knows Peter well, I know he has our best interests
    at heart.


    It is well known that five years ago, April 2008, I spent a month suicidal as I
    went through the process of disowning my former children. When I came out of
    that rather unpleasant experience I contacted other men who had been similarly
    affected. I realized that many men were killing themselves because of the
    criminal abuse of the family law courts all across the western English speaking

    As a direct result of this experience, and my compassion for my fellow men, I
    made a vow in June 2008 to re-introduce the rule of law into Australia and Ireland.
    Naturally, at the time I made the vow I had no idea how that might be
    done. We call it “throw your hat over the wall”. You make the vow and “figure
    it out later”.

    Along the way I have talked to many tens of thousands of men, perhaps as many
    as 100,000 men have seen at least one comment by me one way or another. What I
    heard from men in 2008 was that they were DESPERATE for a remedy for the crimes
    being committed against them in the family courts. They were DESPERATE to find
    a way to end the criminal effects of feminism on their lives. Because so many
    men told me the same thing I mistook this to mean they actually WANTED to solve
    the problems of the family courts and feminism. As I said. My mistake.

    Through very extensive research and labour, and collaborating with the best and
    brightest, the remedy for both the family courts and feminism was proven on
    2009-11-26. A mere 18 months after I was suicidal. The court meeting that I did
    on 2009-11-26 I regard as one of the finest achievements of my life.
    Regardless? The very men I risked my life to create a remedy for have ignored
    that remedy, preferring to whine, bitch, moan and complain because that is far
    more rewarding to them than actually solving their problems. If they solved
    their problems they would have nothing to whine, bitch, moan and complain

    The remedy has now been available 2.5 times as long as it took to develop and
    has proved uniquely unpopular. I am hated for even talking about it. The blood
    of every man who kills himself due to criminal abuse in the family courts is on
    the hands of those perhaps 100,000+ men who have heard from me and done
    nothing. I did all I could. They did not. It is actually very simple.

    The mechanism for men to free themselves now is the Mens Business Association.
    The MBA provides individual based services to get men out of the control grid.
    Such services may well save the mans life from suicide. Going forward? It is
    necessary to create second economy outside the control of any government
    entity. Why criminals in governments can dominate and control men via the
    economy they will continue to do so. There is no reason for them to stop. The
    MBA is the proposal of a second economy outside the control of the government.
    This is a NECESSARY ingredient for men to live in freedom.

    Only a small percentage of men will want to live in freedom. Those men who want
    to live in freedom? You are invited to watch a short update on how we are going
    in our efforts to get the second economy going. Naturally? The second economy
    will grow just as quickly or slowly as men join in and contribute to it. Those
    who want to “stick with the government run economies”? You are welcome to do
    so. I wish you luck with that because you are going to need it.

    best regards

    your brother peter

  3. The Chinese Version of Google, Baidu, is very good. You just ended being tracked by the PRC instead. That's all.

  4. I'm very conflicted about emigration to NZ, and a couple of years ago I was visiting the immigration website frequently. The U.S. government has habitually appalled me throughout the last two administrations, and even if I didn't value liberty highly, I get disutility from paying into a system that practices torture, targeted killings, etc.

    On the other hand, I have a very nice academic job in the States, with a competitive salary and - due to a relatively large family and charitable giving - pay obscenely low income taxes. I also live in a fantastic climate in a house that is walking distance from everything but work (which is only a minute drive).

    In short, I'm one of those people whose consumption value includes but is not exclusively made up of liberty. For now, the U.S. is where I want to be. Maybe when the kids are all grown and my tax breaks are gone I'll buy my plane ticket.

  5. Our GCSB is effectively colluding with the NSA anyway, so that's sadly not a margin on which we're any better than the US (other than that we have less capacity for doing it than they do).