Tag Archives: Transparent

Access

We curse the spies. N.S.A: the evil-doers. But we have ourselves to blame.

If you were given the choice, would you rather be safe or be free? Security, the absence of fear. Edward Snowden wants mankind to be free, and chooses life in exile. And fame.

Obama’s response: the US spy agency has prevented over thirty terrorist attacks in Germany alone, just by overhearing our phone calls, and reading our e-mails. We should be grateful.

I have personally never feared terrorist attacks, even now that I live in the capital of The Netherlands (who joined the wars in the Middle East). They are too helter skelter to fear, really. And their scale is too small. Almost like natural disasters; hitting merely when they hit. But we humans would like to control everything. If, of the six billion people around, one wants to wreak havoc, is that a valid reason to spy on all? And what if there are a thousand criminals? How many people’s privacy have the same value as another person’s life? What if it’s your life?

There are many sides to this issue. Say it works. Say you can truly prevent terrorist events in this way, does that resolve the problems that motivate these people to attacks? How about this one: if government agencies can see us pick our noses while holding our genitals, then who else can? Or this: where will this stop? Are we heading to Orwell’s ’84? Will we have to justify every dialogue one day? To whom?

Once again, the human nature has been tempted, and once again, it has fallen into the trap of curiosity. Instead of addressing important questions in a timely debate about cyber ethics, most media and the mob blame the bad guys for doing what they do. What many people fail to see, is that the access to our privacy is a vital property of the global network we are building.

It is the purpose of telecommunication to provide access. Using this medium means being heard on a larger scale. We are bringing our self-image to the surface for all others to admire, but when indeed we are seen, we start to scream. Whether it is the government who hears you, or your parents, or a group of obscure individuals who are up to no good, you are the one who gives them this chance. Internet without spies is like friendship without conflict.

We are entering a time in which transparency has a different meaning than it had before. Instead of moaning, be aware of it next time you plug your soul in.

Advertisements

A happy new year

I’m looking at the typical Amsterdam rooftops. They are at our height. We are standing on a balcony at a friends place in the Jordaan. It’s dark. Even though 2012 is still half an hour away, colourful fireworks are exploding right between two of the triangular shapes pointing at the sky. There would be no better place for me to be than here.

Behind me, one of my best and oldest friends, Alex explains to his old Capoeira teacher how knowing he has MS has made him feel in the last few months. Tears in my eyes reshape the sparks of light in the air, but I don’t allow myself to burst. Alex seems to deal with it better than I do. Or maybe that’s appearance. We heaven’t really discussed the theme yet. Guess I was afraid. “Why do they shoot the fireworks already before 12?” Asks an Italian artist I was talking with earlier. “They can not hold themselves.” I say.

At twelve, the company climbs on the roof. What were just a few arrows before has turned into an ongoing “ka-ta-ba-ka-ra-ka-ka-ta-ra-ka-ta”. We happy-new-year, hug and drink Champaign. I think about my decision of earlier today to write a weekly blog. It seems like I have finally accepted that next to all those things I can and want to become, a writer is what I am. It’s a therapy. Whether I do it as a job or for myself, I just need to write. “This is even worse than in Napoli” yells the Italian. I laugh inside. After we go down from the roof, the Champaign transforms my awareness into a collection of blurry shortcuts in my brain. I will soon turn into a problem.

Whenever I’ve been too drunk, people explain me afterwards that I got trapped in my own world. They describe the symptoms of a psychosis. I seem to think I know everything without being understood, but in fact I project my own thoughts and feelings upon others. A clash within my own character and with anyone who comes too close. Tonight, I’ll put Alex to the test. Say nasty things to him. Cry. Annoy the hosts. And I will have to hear it from him over the phone: my memory does not allow me back.

I have known a darker part of me, and I have feared it’s power for long. In this blog, I will take you along on a journey to the depths of me. I’ll try to be transparent. As I don’t always dare to see the truth in things, I will not always be able to. Yet I promise to give it my best shot.

Welcome here,

Gilles