At a hearing in the U.S. Senate Google and Apple acknowledged that they are collecting personal information of the users of their devices. The U.S. Department of State in accordance with the strategic concept of freedom of the Internet is providing $19 million to fight the network censors in the "totalitarian" countries. Reading this news next to one another reminds living in Wonderland.
On the one hand, the degree of electronic freedom, privacy of information and level of anonymity in the electronic environment are well known. Knowledgeable people prefer to act with caution considering complete lack of privacy.
Only very young users of the Web that has long extended beyond the computer network, accompanying our each step through thousands of devices, game consoles, gadgets and mobile communications, will not notice that social networks collect information about their user. This particularly concerns the networks that require the mobile number to register.
It is strange not to see that large search engines, providing more services, in fact, accumulate detailed map of the user on its servers. They keep personal information, documents, personal photos, personal pages, and access points to payment systems. The types of queries provide interesting material for the personality analysis.
It has nothing to do with paranoia or conspiracy theories. The owners of such services can assure the complete confidentiality of the information provided to them, but simple logic suggests that such powerful tools will inevitably be used not only as a simple online service.
There is nothing surprising in a belated acknowledgement of Google and Apple. Earlier, experts that studied smartphones found that they store special files with the data on the geographical location of a subscriber - all places visited by the user during the year. If the device accumulates on its platform e-mails, network access, credit card information, then the identification of the subscriber's location was just a matter of time.
Of course, the top managers at the hearings of the Legal Subcommittee of the U.S. Senate assured that personal information is collected not for spying, but only in order to optimize the placement of advertisements, i.e. exclusively for the commercial purposes. However, there are well-founded suspicions that in certain circumstances these commercial purposes on the order of the powers that be may become the intelligence of an entirely different type.
The so-called developed democracies and not the "totalitarian" regimes have this possibility. Those who see the guarantee of protection of the rights and freedoms here should be reminded about the ideological implications of the opposing "democracies" and "totalitarian" countries (though the concept of "totalitarianism" has no strict definition and is used in a purely manipulative manner). Think how quickly the U.S. Patriot Act was passed, allowing intelligence agencies to wiretap the suspects along with the fact that it has been repeatedly extended and is in force to this day.
It is quite embarrassing to mention the "Swedish law" adopted under the U.S. pressure that allows intelligence agencies of this country to listen to mobile and fixed communications, as well as filter Internet traffic and "censor" e-mails. We note only that all these measures are open, well-known to the general public, that is, there is a high probability that they are only the tip of the iceberg. They are applied by the 'democracies' in time of peace in the absence of any serious external or internal political crises.
The web is a very powerful informational, communication, social and political instrument of a global scale. There is no getting away from the fact that it is concentrated in the hands of one country. On Tuesday the information was released about the decision of the U.S. authorities to allocate $19 million for the promotion of the Internet technologies and bypassing censorship restrictions in the "totalitarian" countries, notably China and Iran. This is the acknowledgement of the interest supported by finances - the second such case after the U.S. State Department declared the Internet its strategic priority.
Interestingly enough, the allocation of funds was announced by Assistant Secretary Michael Posner who oversees human rights issues. The work is accompanied by the rhetoric of the network freedom and inadmissibility of constraints on the web.
This is a combination of human rights, freedom and control. The Big Brother is now largely dormant. However, sooner or later it would open its eyes.