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Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World by Bruce Schneier
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“We kill people based on metadata.”
Bruce Schneier, Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World
“If something is free, you’re not the customer; you’re the product.”
Bruce Schneier, Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World
“Privacy is an inherent human right, and a requirement for maintaining the human condition with dignity and respect. It is about choice, and having the power to control how you present yourself to the world.”
Bruce Schneier, Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World
“Data is the pollution problem of the information age, and protecting privacy is the environmental challenge.”
Bruce Schneier, Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World
“Surveillance makes us feel like prey, just as it makes the surveillors act like predators.”
Bruce Schneier, Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World
“One of the most surreal aspects of the NSA stories based on the Snowden documents is how they made even the most paranoid conspiracy theorists seem like paragons of reason and common sense.”
Bruce Schneier, Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World
“Google controls two-thirds of the US search market. Almost three-quarters of all Internet users have Facebook accounts. Amazon controls about 30% of the US book market, and 70% of the e-book market. Comcast owns about 25% of the US broadband market. These companies have enormous power and control over us simply because of their economic position. They all collect and use our data to increase their market dominance and profitability. When eBay first started, it was easy for buyers and sellers to communicate outside of the eBay system because people’s e-mail addresses were largely public. In 2001, eBay started hiding e-mail addresses; in 2011, it banned e-mail addresses and links in listings; and in 2012, it banned them from user-to-user communications. All of these moves served to position eBay as a powerful intermediary by making it harder for buyers and sellers to take a relationship established inside of eBay and move it outside of eBay.”
Bruce Schneier, Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World
“In the 17th century, the French statesman Cardinal Richelieu famously said, “Show me six lines written by the most honest man in the world, and I will find enough therein to hang him.” Lavrentiy Beria, head of Joseph Stalin’s secret police in the old Soviet Union, declared, “Show me the man, and I’ll show you the crime.” Both were saying the same thing: if you have enough data about someone, you can find sufficient evidence to find him guilty of something.”
Bruce Schneier, Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World
“As former NSA general counsel Stewart Baker said, “Metadata absolutely tells you everything about somebody’s life. If you have enough metadata you don’t really need content.”
Bruce Schneier, Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World
“The most common misconception about privacy is that it’s about having something to hide. “If you aren’t doing anything wrong, then you have nothing to hide,” the saying goes, with the obvious implication that privacy only aids wrongdoers.”
Bruce Schneier, Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World
“Privacy is an inherent human right, and a requirement for maintaining the human condition with dignity and respect.”
Bruce Schneier, Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World
“Complexity is the worst enemy of security, and our systems are getting more complex all the time.”
Bruce Schneier, Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World
“we tend to focus on rare and spectacular threats and ignore the more frequent and pedestrian ones. So we fear flying more than driving, even though the former is much safer. Or we fear terrorists more than the police, even though in the US you’re nine times more likely to be killed by a police officer than by a terrorist.”
Bruce Schneier, Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World
“Following someone covertly, either on foot or by car, costs around $175,000 per month—primarily for the salary of the agents doing the following. But if the police can place a tracker in the suspect’s car, or use a fake cell tower device to fool the suspect’s cell phone into giving up its location information, the cost drops to about $70,000 per month, because it only requires one agent. And if the police can hide a GPS receiver in the suspect’s car, suddenly the price drops to about $150 per month—mostly for the surreptitious installation of the device. Getting location information from the suspect’s cell provider is even cheaper: Sprint charges law enforcement only $30 per month. The difference is between fixed and marginal costs. If a police department performs surveillance on foot, following two people costs twice as much as following one person. But with GPS or cell phone surveillance, the cost is primarily for setting up the system. Once it is in place, the additional marginal cost of following one, ten, or a thousand more people is minimal. Or, once someone spends the money designing and building a telephone eavesdropping system that collects and analyzes all the voice calls in Afghanistan, as the NSA did to help defend US soldiers from improvised explosive devices, it’s cheap and easy to deploy that same technology against the telephone networks of other countries.”
Bruce Schneier, Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World
“In 2014, former NSA and CIA director Michael Hayden remarked, “We kill people based on metadata.”
Bruce Schneier, Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World
“Google knows more about what I’m thinking of than I do, because Google remembers all of it perfectly and forever.”
Bruce Schneier, Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World
“For years, well before consumer tracking became the norm, Radio Shack stores would routinely ask their customers for their addresses and phone numbers. For a while I just refused, but that was socially awkward. Instead, I got in the habit of replying with “9800 Savage Road, Columbia, MD, 20755”: the address of the NSA.”
Bruce Schneier, Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World
“Estimates put the current number of Internet-connected devices at 10 billion.”
Bruce Schneier, Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World
“By 2010, we as a species were creating more data per day than we did from the beginning of time until 2003. By 2015, 76 exabytes of data will travel across the Internet every year.”
Bruce Schneier, Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World
“Those of us who fought the crypto wars, as we call them, thought we had won them in the 1990s. What the Snowden documents have shown us is that instead of dropping the notion of getting backdoor government access, the NSA and FBI just kept doing it in secret.”
Bruce Schneier, Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World
“Lavabit was an e-mail service that offered more security privacy than the large corporate e-mail services most of us use. It was a small company, owned and operated by a programmer named Ladar Levison, and it was popular among the tech-savvy. It had half a million users, Edward Snowden amongst them. Soon after Snowden fled to Hong Kong in 2013, Levison received a National Security Letter demanding that the company turn over the master encryption key that protected all of Lavabit’s users—and then not tell any of its customers that they could be monitored. Levison fought this order in court, and when it became clear that he had lost, he shut down his service rather than deceive and compromise his customers. The moral is clear. If you run a business, and the FBI or the NSA wants to turn it into a mass surveillance tool, it believes that it is entitled to do so, solely on its own authority. The agency can force you to modify your system. It can do it all in secret and then force your business to keep that secret. Once it does that, you no longer control that part of your business. If you’re a large company, you can’t shut it down. You can’t realistically terminate part of your service. In a very real sense, it is not your business anymore. It has become an arm of the vast US surveillance apparatus, and if your interest conflicts with the agency’s, the agency wins. Your business has been commandeered.”
Bruce Schneier, Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World
“Mug shot extortion sites turn this sort of thing into a business. Mug shots are public record, but they’re not readily available. Owners of mug shot sites acquire the photos in bulk and publish them online, where everybody can find them, then charge individuals to remove their photos from the sites.”
Bruce Schneier, Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World
“There is value in dissent. And, perversely, there can be value in lawbreaking. These are both ways we improve as a society. Ubiquitous mass surveillance is the enemy of democracy, liberty, freedom, and progress. Defending this assertion involves a subtle argument—something I wrote about in my previous book Liars and Outliers—but it’s vitally important to society. Think about it this way. Across the US, states are on the verge of reversing decades-old laws about homosexual relationships and marijuana use. If the old laws could have been perfectly enforced through surveillance, society would never have reached the point where the majority of citizens thought those things were okay. There has to be a period where they are still illegal yet increasingly tolerated, so that people can look around and say, “You know, that wasn’t so bad.”
Bruce Schneier, Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World
“Philosopher Jeremy Bentham conceived of his “panopticon” in the late 1700s as a way to build cheaper prisons. His idea was a prison where every inmate could be surveilled at any time, unawares. The inmate would have no choice but to assume that he was always being watched, and would therefore conform. This idea has been used as a metaphor for mass personal data collection, both on the Internet and off.”
Bruce Schneier, Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World
“If you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear.” This is a dangerously narrow conception of the value of privacy. Privacy is an essential human need, and central to our ability to control how we relate to the world. Being stripped of privacy is fundamentally dehumanizing, and it makes no difference whether the surveillance is conducted by an undercover policeman following us around or by a computer algorithm tracking our every move.”
Bruce Schneier, Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World
“The panopticon is an architecture of social control. Think of how you act when a police car is driving next to you, or how an entire country acts when state agents are listening to phone calls. When we know everything is being recorded, we are less likely to speak freely and act individually. When we are constantly under the threat of judgment, criticism, and correction for our actions, we become fearful that—either now or in the uncertain future—data we leave behind will be brought back to implicate us, by whatever authority has then become focused upon our once-private and innocent acts. In response, we do nothing out of the ordinary. We lose our individuality, and society stagnates. We don’t question or challenge power. We become obedient and submissive. We’re less free.”
Bruce Schneier, Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World
“I used to say that Google knows more about what I’m thinking of than my wife does. But that doesn’t go far enough. Google knows more about what I’m thinking of than I do, because Google remembers all of it perfectly and forever.”
Bruce Schneier, Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World
“Our relationship with many of the Internet companies we rely on is not a traditional company–customer relationship. That’s primarily because we’re not customers. We’re products those companies sell to their real customers. The relationship is more feudal than commercial. The companies are analogous to feudal lords, and we are their vassals, peasants, and—on a bad day—serfs. We are tenant farmers for these companies, working on their land by producing data that they in turn sell for profit.”
Bruce Schneier, Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World
“Workforces are flexible, jobs are outsourced, and people are expendable. Moving from employer to employer is now the norm. This means that secrets are shared with more people, and those people care less about them. Recall that five million people in the US have a security clearance, and that a majority of them are contractors rather than government employees.”
Bruce Schneier, Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World
“former NSA director Michael Hayden: “Give me the box you will allow me to operate in. I’m going to play to the very edges of that box. . . . You, the American people, through your elected representatives, give me the field of play and I will play very aggressively in it.”
Bruce Schneier, Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World

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