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Kistaro Windrider, Reptillian Situation Assessor

Unfortunately, I Really Am That Nerdy

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Something interesting I just realized: I trust Microsoft Security a lot more than I trust any branch of the American government.

Every workday, I lock my bike on a rack in front of Microsoft's cameras, walk through a courtyard monitored by Microsoft's cameras, wave a smartcard badge with an RFID chip matched to me at a security gate, walk through a lobby with six security cameras in it, head up a staircase monitored by one for each flight of stairs, walk down two hallways (passing three cameras along the way), and work within range of a security camera mounted in the hall between four offices. The door-reader reports to MS Security's central server with every activation, and "so Security knows what building you are in" is one of the reasons actively given for why people aren't supposed to let others into the building, no matter how closely they're following each other otherwise.

I would never tolerate that sort of thing from the government. "So we know where you are" is exactly a reason not to cooperate. Cameras that omnipresent controlled by the government would not be something I'd appreciate, even though I don't mind as much that private security companies use them extensively.

I guess it's all in who I trust to actually have best-interests that align with mine. Microsoft pays me because they believe that my work has more value than the amount of money they're giving me, and I would be costly to replace and retrain. The government has no such practical obligation to me. Or maybe it's that Microsoft has a better track record with privacy and individual respect; I haven't yet had cause to develop active distrust, at least not to the same extent.

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I bet the day when babies start having chips implanted for tracking purposes via satellite isn't too far off and any foreigners who want to travel here would have to have them implanted as well but it still wouldn't replace passports XD


Farmers are already tracking livestock.

Wonder if the gubmint thinks of us as livestock.

BTW: hearing "trust" and "Microsoft" in the same sentence just goes against the grain. :)

Also worth noting here: If Microsoft uses that very extensive security system to in some way wrong you, you have all manner of recourse. If the government controls a system like that and uses it for evil, you have no recourse at all. This example applies to all things government controls, which is why the US was founded with limited government as its first guiding principle.

The UK is known for having a large network of CCTV cameras; some of these are privately-owned (by the buildings they're placed on, for their own security) but many are also local government cameras placed on streets for security. There seems to be significant disagreement over whether this makes people feel safer or whether it's oppressive.

I can't say that I personally distrust the government (or Microsoft) with such information; if people know what streets I go down or what websites I visit, then unless I'm meeting with drug dealers or downloading pirate software then how is that information going to harm me? I'd be more concerned with information like my bank details and other information which has more potential to harm. I can't say I'm too worried about companies or governments knowing where I am (offline or online) though - for the latter, I agree to sending information back to Microsoft and don't worry about tracking cookies.

Sometimes it feels to me that people's privacy concerns about such things are more ideological than practical. There may be a stronger vein of distrusting the government in the US, but while I don't necessarily agree with things that politicians might do, I don't generally feel that the government having information about me is dangerous. Until they lose it, anyway..

if people know what streets I go down or what websites I visit, then unless I'm meeting with drug dealers or downloading pirate software then how is that information going to harm me?

The issue with this is that it's sort of a slippery-slope problem. Would you be okay with the police searching your house every day? You're not a criminal, and they won't find anything, so it should be okay, right? What if they pulled you over every time you drove down the highway?
What if the government tracked every book you bought or checked out from the library; Say you check out some books on drugs, or bombs, or nuclear physics, or anarchy; If your reading patterns seem suspicious enough, maybe men in suits will come to your door and question you. Is this okay?

The first two examples are excessive; sort of a reductio-ad-absurdium, if you will; the last example is already occurring to some extent in the US, in the guise of terrorism prevention.

The problem isn't with the government -having- the information, tis a matter of what they -do- with it, and governments have a track record of doing unsavory things with information, all under the cover of 'protecting us', or 'preventing crime'.

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