re: FBI, NSA and massive data collection VIEW POST

re: The Google hearings the other day also reinforced just how much technical ignorance we have in politics. True that, but I also enjoyed an alterna...

As I see it, politicians reflect their voters — and I'm not speaking in a negative sense (although Republicans are obsessed with the biased search results).
As a recent post said: “The most important aspect of programming technology is the [average] user”.
The average user technical knowledge is pretty limited so both politicians and technical people need to downgrade their discussions in order to let people understand.
I honestly feel sorry for Pichai, I had the feeling that he was honest but some answers were clearly PR-ish.

The average user technical knowledge is pretty limited so both politicians and technical people need to downgrade their discussions in order to let people understand.

I'm not the average user and I honestly don't know how vast is the advertising reach of Google, nor I know how much data they siphon out of my Google phone and what they do with it.

I don't think politicians need to be chemists or biologists to understand that you shouldn't put harmful substances in food, yet they pass laws about that. How? By hiring experts to help them find the perimeter of such laws.

So, if understanding what happens to the data is so complicated that the average user cannot get it, the burden is on us technologists, not the user :D

BTW three seconds ago I read the news about Facebook letting thousands of apps accessing users's private photographs. So it's not just about how technical the explanation is, is about what and how they do it that needs to be regulated. They can hire technologists to help them write those laws, like we've been doing since forever

I get what you mean, and you're right. These hearings to Google and Facebook are a waste of time, as of the current moment.

I don't know how these Congress hearings works in USA but I think — and excuse me here in advance if I'm about to say a lot of bs — their goal is to gather information about a specific topic or issue so they can proceed to think about regulating it and how to do so effectively.

I'm pretty cinic, so I feel like politicians need to make a good figure with their voters. So they speak a language that their voters can understand, at least in this phase. I hope that when they'll arrive at the policymaking part they'll consult experts and not their nephews.

I feel like you could have misunderstood me (and I apologise for that if so) because I was talking specifically about the hearing itself and the sometimes-stupid questions.

Do not mix companies like Google with government surveillance, please, these are two different topics (even if in some cases they use basically same technology). In case of Google, Facebook etc. you can opt out (although it is not easy path), in case of government surveillance you could only set different strategy - use technologies which provides you with privacy by design (as Tor) etc. In summary they are 2 different threat models.

Also I would't mix FBI with NSA; they have different measures, different scopes of interest and (of course) different budgets. I would say that globally (from the US context), NSA and CIA are the most offensive ones. You will not probably deal with the FBI surveillance / offensive intel if you're not targeted.

@ondrej23 not mixing anything, I replied to the part about Google hearings

Ok, sorry, I was probably wrongly interpreted your post.

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