Following on this mention of traffic analysis and bitcoin. Spies and counterspies don’t need to know what you’re saying. They only need to know who you are and who you’re talking with.
This extends to the common and stupid misconception of censorship. Advocates of “liberty” and “rights” always focus on the CONTENT of the message. Content is irrelevant. Caste is everything.
These two things are opposite ends of a spectrum.
Before Alton Strowger, phone systems were corruptible. Mabel was in the middle of your conversation from the start. She didn’t have time to listen to your jabber (usually) but she knew who you were and who you wanted to call.
Alton, an undertaker with mechanical talents, decided that Mabel was corrupt. Another undertaker was paying her to steer calls away from Alton. So he invented a system to make connections without Mabel.
The Strowger Relay was the heart of the system. You dial 371. Relay receives 3 pulses from your dial, turns 3 steps to link you to column 3 in the first row. Relay then acts on the output of column 3. Receives 7 pulses from your dial, turns seven clicks to link the output of first row to column 7 in the next row. And so on. A vastly more complicated version of a combination lock.
= = = = =
The Web has Strowger-like switching elements, but it was NEVER pure Strowger. It was Mabel all the way down. NSA is always at the switchboard, always keeping track of who calls who, always listening when it has time. Because NSA is ahead of the game in language processing, it has plenty of time.
Each new development of the Web goes more Mabel.
Google is EXACTLY the same corrupt Mabel that Alton distrusted. When you ask Google for information about undertakers, Google’s first answer is an undertaker who has paid Google to be listed first.
Siri brings back the voice aspects of Mabel, with the same snappy answers that the movie versions of Mabel were famous for. When Apple hears you talking with Siri, AND when Apple picks up location and accelerometer and temperature and heartbeat and metabolism data from your FitBit, Apple can gather INFINITELY more metadata than Mabel could. Your gender, age, ethnicity, stress level, heresy level.
Conclusion: The tech Mensans and Bitcoiners who think they’re fooling Mabel with encryption are missing the point. And Mabel wants them to miss the point.
Spies and tyrants have never needed to listen to what you’re saying. All they need is WHO you are and WHO you’re calling. Modern tyrants can determine a much deeper WHO than old tyrants.
Can we re-Strowge the net?
Most likely there isn’t a tech answer. The best solution is the same solution that Resistance movements have known and used for 3000 years. Don’t use the channels provided by the tyrant, whether those channels are messengers, mail, telegraph, telephone or Siri.