10 thoughts on “Dark Fiber: Metadata, the final frontier?

  1. I really enjoyed your post this week as its relevance is almost immediate which is something I struggle with and will take away from reading yours! I think Edward Snowden’s tweet has hit the nail on the head, and is probably fuelling my disapproval of these new laws and appreciation for people who dedicate their time to things such as the hacker cultures. I am totally uncomfortable with the storage of metadata and believe it’s simply another tool to gain an authoritative power again. Metadata retention has and will touch us all, with an ever-evolving technological world our information is being recorded, used and stored every day. Weather its is used to sell us the latest iPhone, tailor our Facebook feeds to those that interest us most or “national security.” The Data Retention laws passed by the Australian federal government have created a widespread conversation fuelled with anger as what many see as an invasion of privacy. Edward Snowden has been particularly vocal in this debate, with another article voicing his opinion (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-08/edward-snowden-says-australias-mass-surveillance-dangerous/6456938)
    Cheers Sam

  2. I really like the way you’ve introduced a separate social media platform into your blog post, referencing Snowden’s twitter post. I think his tweet is scarily accurate and very thought provoking, perfect for the discussion of this week’s topic. You definitely hit the nail on the head when expressing your concerns in regards to the Internet world feeling a lot smaller. I too can share that ideology, as I think there is an immense amount of supervision in regards to browsing. It’s a scary thought that all our data and metadata is being stored. Is this surveillance just used to control us as Snowden suggests? Or is it a necessary component of ensuring the Internet is a safe place? Take a took at this article about Germany’s retention laws that were published only days ago http://www.itnews.com.au/news/germany-passes-mandatory-data-retention-laws-410633. It all seems so invasive and scary – what future lies ahead for us?

  3. I like how you chose survellience for this week! I think the first quote you used is extreemely true and sums up how the government uses survellience as control and to control. I find online survelliance is really interesting. Governments need it in order to track node activity, for things such as illegal downloading. Which much be addressed. My thoughts on your final question is as its just for control and power. The power to scare people into doing what they should be.

    Fantastic blog! a very interesting read 🙂

  4. The government is trying to suggest that the point of the new metadata retention laws is to help the fight against terrorism, child pornography etc. These are seemingly just causes (no sane person wants terrorism or child porn in Australia) however, bypassing data retention is quite simple. If a terrorist is using the Internet in order to plot attacks against Australia and not using a VPN they not really the terrorists we should be worried about. Anyone plotting serious attacks against Australia would surely put basic measures in place to prevent being traced. I do not condone terrorism but I also do not government implemented mass surveillance- which is what metadata retention essentially is. If anyone wants to hide on the Internet they can, its not hard. Terrorists, Child porn enthusiasts, trolls, politicians, everyone has the the ability to remain anonymous online.. its not hard.

    http://junkee.com/junk-explained-how-to-get-around-the-governments-new-data-retention-laws-4/54134

    http://www.pcworld.com/article/2030763/how-and-why-to-set-up-a-vpn-today.html

    https://www.torproject.org/

    All those links can assist anyone who is interested in remaining anonymous on the Internet (recommended)

  5. On the bright side, the relatively recent information leaks from Snowden and the new metadata retention laws have caused a lot of discussions on privacy and security. It’s not much of a silver lining but it’s the only positive I can think of right now.

    For some reason this reminded me of a book called ‘Little Brother’ by Cory Doctorow, honestly don’t know why, I haven’t read it in years but I do remember really enjoying it. It has a pretty large focus on individual freedom, privacy and government surveillance so it’s actually kind of relevant. It’s also where I first heard about Tor (which I believe someone linked to above). Here’s a link to the author’s website where you can download it for free, because why not?
    http://craphound.com/littlebrother/download/

  6. I enjoyed how you have used real life scenarios (of children playing outside) to illustrate how the gaze of surveillance enters every facet of our lives. It seems as though Snowden is correct in this instance, and that surveillance is predominantly used for control and maintaining power and authority. While all this information is circulating our networks and exposed online through WikiLeaks for example, there is still a huge demographic that are not aware of Snowden’s operations or who he is at all. I came across this segment with John Oliver (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEVlyP4_11M), who interviewed a diverse range of American citizens and non of them could place Snowden or WikiLeaks correctly. It appears that the people in question were more concerned about the Government collecting their nude pictures, as apposed to collecting all of their aggregated online data. I think that many individuals, myself included, still do not understand the extent to which our data and information is being observed, collected and stored. Partially because WikiLeaks is published in a rather convoluted and technical context, which is difficult to decipher and also because a huge amount of the Governments operations are still covered up.
    Thank you for an insightful read.

  7. Edward Snowden is a really great voice on this issue, and this is even more relevant as he has also given his opinions on Australia’s metadata laws, as shown in this article from the ABC (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-08/edward-snowden-says-australias-mass-surveillance-dangerous/6456938). It states: “While acknowledging that governments must take steps to protect people from terrorism, he [Snowden] said the sort of metadata collection programs being operated by governments were at odds with free Western society. “This is dangerous,” he said. “This is not things that governments have ever traditionally been empowered to claim for themselves as authorities.”
    And I do agree with him. It’s a bit scary knowing that everything I do is being monitored and collected, even if it might never be used. If this is now ok, then what’s next? The cyberlibertarian view of the Internet is that it is free and for the people, and with the introduction of these kinds of laws it feels like this is slowly being taken away from us. I do understand the point of view of preventing terrorism etc., but I question how successful that is, and if it’s worth putting everyone under the microscope and compromising our personal privacy. I’m sure the government has other ways they can use this technology to meet the same ends.

  8. A really good blog post on the topic! You raised some good questions, power and safety do go hand in hand. It just depends whos hand you are holding. Governments have momentous power over their citizens, more so now thanks to the internet and laws relating to it.

  9. This is a topic that I am realllly interested in so awesome job with this post! Snowden’s tweet is very relatable and really lays down the basis for this post – everyone should have an interest in privacy. When it comes to data retention and the new laws in Australia, I really struggle to see the benefits of it and I don’t really understand where the authority has come from, like was there any form of communication with the general public about how they feel or did the government just go ahead and do it without considering our thoughts? I also struggle to see what the benefits of data retention will be – as pointed out in the comments above, if an individual or a group want to be invisible online, then they will be. It is far too easy to hide your own metadada for this retention laws to be effective as any data they is worth retaining will not be accessible by authorities. Interesting topic. Good work!

  10. Insightful post with great relevant examples. You clearly explained the concept and issues surrounding surveillance online but I was left wanting to know more about who is behind it all and what their purpose is for all the information!

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