Quote of the day–John Gilmore

The whole conference has spent a lot of time talking about ways to control uses of information and to protect peoples’ privacy after the information was collected.  But that only works if you assume a good government.  If we get one seriously bad government, they’ll have all the information they need to make an efficient police state and make it the last government.  It’s more than convenient for them – in fact, it’s a temptation for people who want to do that, to try to get into power and do it.  Because we are giving them the means.

John Gilmore
A transcript of remarks given at the First Conference on Computers, Freedom, and Privacy, March 28,1991
[See also my Jews In The Attic Test.–Joe]


2 thoughts on “Quote of the day–John Gilmore

  1. I usually figure that, by the time a government starts making an efficient police state, they tend to already have enough support or power that surveillance is relatively simple.

  2. The point is that a government can’t become an efficient police state if the tools for it are never put in place. One should get just as alarmed by a government you trust putting those tools in place as by one you don’t trust. In part this is because the type of government you don’t trust will be attracted to the power of the tools that are their waiting for them. Bruce Schneier has said: “it is poor civic hygiene to install technologies that could someday facilitate a police state.” Keep your government clean at all times because unsanitary conditions attract vermin.

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