Edward Snowden, in his new newsletter, makes the case that self-censorship — the suppression of ideas that never see the light of day — is the most dangerous kind.
Without mentioning it explicitly, I think he’s talking about cancel culture and deplatforming. He has a point, but the modern western world is very different from the Soviet examples which he gives.
(Bonus points for his mention of Michel De Montaigne’s best friend, Étienne de La Boétie, who died far too young.)
Unlike in Kiš’s milieu, or in contemporary North Korea, or Saudi Arabia, the coercive apparatus doesn’t have to be the secret police knocking at the door. For fear of losing a job, or of losing an admission to school, or of losing the right to live in the country of your birth, or merely of social ostracism, many of today’s best minds in so-called free, democratic states have stopped trying to say what they think and feel and have fallen silent. That, or they adopt the party-line of whatever party they would like to be invited to — whatever party their livelihoods depend on.Such is the trickle-down effect of the institutional exploitation of the internet, of corporate algorithms that thrive on controversy and division: the degradation of the soul as a source of profit — and power
🇺🇸 Well, that was expected — “I’ve recorded this here since it feels like the chronology of events and the smaller details are already evaporating, and this helps me wrap my head around a tiny fraction of it. If you happen to read this, don’t take this at face value (nor anything else on the web for that matter). Do your own research and correct me if you think any of the timestamps are wrong.”
📺Fox News and the real insurrection — “After Democrats said they planned to impeach Trump again, Fox opinionators echoed the risible Republican talking point that such a move would be provocative; after Twitter banned Trump, they pivoted to bash Big Tech. Yesterday morning, Jeanine Pirro compared Amazon’s decision to boot Parler, an app popular among right-wing extremists, from its web-hosting services to Kristallnacht—the night, in 1938, when Nazis in Germany killed around one hundred Jewish people and arrested tens of thousands more”
₿ Lost Passwords Lock Millionaires Out of Their Bitcoin Fortunes — “Of the existing 18.5 million Bitcoin, around 20 percent — currently worth around $140 billion — appear to be in lost or otherwise stranded wallets, according to the cryptocurrency data firm Chainalysis. Wallet Recovery Services, a business that helps find lost digital keys, said it had gotten 70 requests a day from people who wanted help recovering their riches, three times the number of a month ago.”
🕸️ Pirated Academic Database Sci-Hub Is Now on the ‘Uncensorable Web’ — “As evidenced by Sci-Hub’s own problems, the decentralized web is being built out of fears of deplatforming. As the internet’s access points are increasingly centralized in the hands of a few actors, certain applications – most recently, Twitter-alternative Parler – have faced censorship at the hands of web server providers, app stores and DNS certificate authorities.”
🏛️ Internet 3.0 and the Beginning of (Tech) History — Here technology itself will return to the forefront: if the priority for an increasing number of citizens, companies, and countries is to escape centralization, then the answer will not be competing centralized entities, but rather a return to open protocols. This is the only way to match and perhaps surpass the R&D advantages enjoyed by centralized tech companies; open technologies can be worked on collectively, and forked individually, gaining both the benefits of scale and inevitability of sovereignty and self-determination.
Quotation-as-title by Vauvenargues. Image from bottom-linked post.