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Songs on the Security of Networks
a blog by Michał "rysiek" Woźniak

One-way cutting

This is an ancient post, published more than 4 years ago.
As such, it might not anymore reflect the views of the author or the state of the world. It is provided as historical record.

A great Internet comic, Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, celebrated the American Censorship Day with an episode, that is both fun and thought-provoking.

Now, while I usually agree with what SMBC convey in their comic (and the appealing form only helps here), this time I must protest.

The right to privacy (or lack thereof ) does not cut both ways. It cuts one way – but in fact the other way that we’re led to believe today.

Currently governments (and corporations – we all remember Schmidt’s and Zuckerberg’s remarks) are trying to make us think that right to privacy and having secrets is their own domain, while the citizens (not: “users”) are subject to invigilation – and can’t even talk about it too loud.

Well, once somebody made me aware of a simple yet powerful rule of democracy:
Citizens have rights; government agents have duties.

Right to privacy, secrecy of correspondence, freedom of speech – all belong to citizens. In the SMBC episode that would be the second frame. And keep in mind, even such an answer to governments’ “fear” of free speech, as the one given there, should only be a nice albeit voluntary gesture on our (citizens’) part.

We do not have to explain ourselves of exercising our rights, nor of controlling the way governments execute their duties. We should not agree to how this simple fact is subverted and inverted. We should not agree to being mute and under constant surveillance.