Dear Jim (my NSA angel),

My cable company is attempting to buy their closest competitor. I know you and Comcast are bros on the DL, but your love is quite transparent to the public. Anyways, was this your idea? Vertical integration of data harvesting, now covering 37 of the top 40 markets in America. Solid strategy. I try to avoid conspiracy theories, but a surveillance state combined with this sounds like some Illuminati1 shit.

Speaking of TV, how have you liked the new season of House of Cards so far2? Some solid digital espionage going on in the first few episodes, but through the FBI/Secret Service? Come on, we both know who the real 1337 h4XX0rs are.

So, listen, if any packages come to the house, could you put them inside the screen door for me? I don't get home until the evening, and I would prefer they weren't covered in snow. Also, weather machine? Is that a thing yet? Please get someone on that ASAP.

Thanks,
Craig


  1. Who is head of the Illuminati these days? Is it Beyonce? It is, isn't it? Your secret is safe with me. Ooh, is it Tupac? 

  2. You haven't answered yet, so I assume you can see my TV ok. 

The amount of people that do not (or even choose not to) understand modern technology and the internet is bewildering. I see it day to day at work (my company thinks it is a “tech” company! Cute) and from the people elected to make laws. I remember a TA in a software engineering course tell us about an internship he had in which he automated all his work in the first couple days using a few Python scripts. This gave him a free summer to goof around. Menial tasks can generally be avoided these days.

I guess that is why CISPA bothers me. It seems like a step in the right direction from SOPA, but that step mostly benefits the intermediaries handling user information, not end users themselves. Internet communication is (generally) free speech, and expecting to know who can see your data seems reasonable enough. But the people writing the laws do not see this perspective; they see terrorists and scofflaws (always wanted to use that term) that must be stopped at all costs, and the internet as a readily governable entity. If you can’t obtain a warrant for that information, then why do you need it?

The bottom line is just understanding what you are getting into when you are sharing data online. Microsoft keeps calling out Google for this, and the only reason it gains any traction is from the personification of Google reading your email. Putting any rational thought into that renders it absurd (how many people would they have to hire to read every Gmail account?). Part of the reason I started this blog, besides having a place for longform thoughts, is that I don’t really trust Facebook with my data that much to begin with. Ever since they went public, they have seemed a little desperate about finding new ways to monetize my data. I would like to use that data to interact with people instead of with more computers. And if I would like it to be private, it should be private.