Thursday, August 08, 2013

The Ecuadorian Library, or, The Blast Shack After Three Years
by Bruce Sterling

"[T]he electronic civil lib contingent is lying to themselves. They’re sore and indignant now, mostly because they weren’t consulted — but if the NSA released PRISM as a 99-cent Google Android app, they’d be all over it. Because they are electronic first, and civil as a very distant second.

They’d be utterly thrilled to have the NSA’s vast technical power at their own command. They’d never piously set that technical capacity aside, just because of some elderly declaration of universal human rights from 1947. If the NSA released their heaps of prying spycode as open-source code, Silicon Valley would be all over that, instantly. They’d put a kid-friendly graphic front-end on it. They’d port it right into the cloud.

Computers were invented as crypto-ware and spy-ware and control-ware. That’s what Alan Turing was all about. That’s where computing came from, that’s the scene’s original sin, and also its poisoned apple.

There’s not a coherent force on Earth that wants to cork up that bottle. They all just want another slug out of that bottle — and they’d rather like to paste their own personal, prestige label onto the bottle’s glass. You know, like your own attractive face, pasted on the humming planetary big iron of Facebook."

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