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Friday freedom question: Would you quit the Internet?

Ever since Pamela Jones shut down Groklaw and announced she was not only abandoning the site but quitting the Internet entirely in light of the Edward Snowden revelations, I’ve been thinking about this.

At the time, though I found her reasons poignant and pertinent, I thought she was overreacting. Now, I don’t know.

Personally, I’m not on the verge of quitting. A big part of my life is here. And all of my career (such as it is) is here. That’s been true since 1986 when a client bought me my first 300-baud modem and set it up so I could electronically submit stories to him. It was certainly true in 1993 when I met my Significant Sweetie (now ex, but still friend) on a FIDOnet gun-rights bulletin board. It’s definitely true now when I’d likely starve to death and blow away without the ‘Net.

Still, I think most of us (and most notably a lot of tech types hereabouts) feel the temptation.

We’ve always been independent sorts around here. We avoid being messed with by power trippers. If we can’t avoid, we “mess back.” But right now, there’s nothing we can do to counter the electronic offenses being committed against us and against freedom by the UberGoverment whose all-probing eye peers out from Mordor on the Potomac.

Oh, sure, we can play the old “keyword” game with our emails. (There’s even a new Firefox/Chrome browser add-on to let us do the same thing with URLs and HTTP headers now.) That’s fun. And it’s always true that irritating and misdirecting the bastards is worthwile, even (or perhaps especially) as tyranny grows. We can also use GPG, dump Windows for Linux, use TOR, etc. etc. etc. And eventually heroic tech wizards may save us — and the Internet — from NSAuron.

But now …? Now …? Now we seem to be faced with using dodges that may or may not help or simply shrugging and going on because, realistically, there’s not much else to do. So …

Would you quit the Internet? If so, what would you do instead? If not, how do you adapt to knowing that everything you do online (or on the phone) is probably recorded and analyzed, even if it then disappears into the maw of a datacenter’s godzillabyte storage capacity, never to be seen again?


Now, that said, I’m “quitting the Internet” for the next three days. I may pop in to post some cute dog pictures tomorrow, and I’ll check in to moderate comments at least once a day. Otherwise, I’m away for a bit from the Bad News Net.


  1. slidemansailor
    slidemansailor September 27, 2013 5:41 am

    The Internet is the main source of honest news. If they scare us away, they have a virtual monopoly – their misiinformation and control become society’s exclusive input.

    Many, probably most people even slightly aware of the threats that exist to life, liberty and property retreat. That’s smart – kind of. However, if everyone closes their doors and pulls the drapes, the JBTs simply go door-to-door taking us out one-by-one.

    Fourteen Million people made it to the goulags that way. Some things don’t change.

    “And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?… The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If…if…We didn’t love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation…. We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.”

    ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

    Smart people hide and hope others will save them. For some of us that is not good enough. That does not seem a hopeful long-term plan. So we expose ourselves, inform, cajole, shout ….

  2. ILTim
    ILTim September 27, 2013 6:07 am


    And I thought it funny that a comment yesterday suggested you could quit buying from “internet companies” as if there were some type of alternative. Even many of the Amish are online these days.

    Sure, buying junk at walmart does not require YOU to send your credit card over the internet, but WALMART still does. As does every single other point of sale business that has moved beyond the carbon copy swipe machines.

    But what about cash?

    Well, there are at least SOME opportunities to use cash somewhat anonymously. But don’t kid yourself, your still being video recorded, potentially face detected, license plate recognition on the way there, etc. If any part of the business ever has any type of personally unique information about you (and lets not forget pattern detection in cash purchases that try to build your profile for marketing) – and any part of the business is ever connected to a computer, its online. Its nearly indistinguishable from an internet business.

    Sure, the internet makes it easier – but we are not in a position to ‘opt-out’ of whats being done to us.

  3. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty September 27, 2013 6:18 am

    No, I won’t quit. I’ve never written anything on line that I wouldn’t be happy to say in person, to one or a million of them face to face.

    In fact, I’ve wodered for many years just how many of the “watchers” have been converted by what we’ve written over the years. How many trolls finally see the light? What is the turnover for NSA operatives? Not to ignore all the others we might inform, educate and encourage.

    In any case, I’ve made my last retreat. I’m all done backing up. If “they” want me, they know exactly where I am and, I hope, understand what my response will be if they come with force. Molon labe.

  4. Mr Galt
    Mr Galt September 27, 2013 6:21 am

    I’m in the tech field, and although it’s an integral part of my occupation, I have toyed with the idea of abandoning it except for work. I would be extremely challenging to do a “half a pie” approach, but I believe I could do it providing I could muster sufficient net-usage discipline. Not being independently wealthy, that’s the only way I could see it happening in my life. Although interestingly, I absolute abhor “smartphones” and I’m seriously considering chucking my iPhone into the nearest lake.

  5. UnReconstructed
    UnReconstructed September 27, 2013 7:03 am

    No, I won’t quit. Its too useful a tool.

    But I will (and am) beginning to ‘go dark’.
    Only the more banal things are in public view. I *am*, after all a ‘normal’ person, right? So….only ‘normal’ things are done out here in plainsight.

    If I’m feeling frisky, maybe send some cookie recipes via gpg.

    If I have something really really important to tell someone, I’ll arrange to meet them face to face. Or use one of the secure but somewhat expensive one time communications options.

    And for me, really, it just doesn’t matter. I’m on so many lists that it would be ludicrous to believe that I am safe from scrutiny in anonymity.

  6. Mark Call
    Mark Call September 27, 2013 7:15 am

    Agreed, so far, with all of the sentiments expressed above. Particularly, the ‘net is essentially the ONLY valid source of news today, short of direct word-of-mouth — subject to the usual provisos.

    However, speaking for myself and many of those I talk to who believe in the prophetic import of Scripture, I recognize that there will come a time, and arguably SOON, when we will quit for another reason:

    it won’t be long until we who refuse to accept some type of biometric “mark” won’t be allowed to ‘participate’ and partake of the Wondrous Benefits of Ownership by the Biggest Brother You Can Imagine, without it. And without the web, of course, no “commerce”, either; no “buy or sell”.

    Apple and Google are already leading the Way into the glorious servitude. And everyone knows that slaves donn’t HAVE any Rights, much less any privacy.

  7. Scott
    Scott September 27, 2013 7:24 am

    Nope, not going to quit. It’s literally my life’s work, since 1979. I’d have to have a frontal lobotomy.

    I’ve been kicking this thought around — do we need a 3%er type of digital rights militancy? I think, yes, but I don’t really know where to go from there. I reckon there are plenty of others more creative than I who could give us some ideas.

    I found this amusing to read considering our views of the internet, which is that it’s compromised beyond our wildest fever dreams, and what a lot of other people, probably most, will end up doing:
    In “How the Internet of Things Changes Everything,” a new and seemingly machine-written article in Foreign Affairs, two McKinsey consultants write of “the interplay” between “the most disruptive technologies of the coming decade: the mobile Internet and the Internet of Things.” The “mobile-ready Internet of Things,” as they term it, will have “a profound, widespread, and transformative impact on how we live and work.” For instance, “by combining a digital camera in a wearable device with image-recognition software, a shopper can automatically be fed comparative pricing information based on the image of a product captured by the camera.”
    Are you ready for that? Your grandkids will be. Tell me again about this privacy thing we’re all het up about?

  8. MJR
    MJR September 27, 2013 7:44 am

    With CCTV, RFID, computer monitoring from a distance (Tempest*), biometrics and a host of other technologies to monitor people in use I have seriously though of turning it all off and running away. However, I am a realist and while I don’t like it, the simple answer to surveillance is to practice OpSec as much as one can. If you choose to violate anything, remember the golden rule… Only do it once and keep your mouth shut about it. The vast majority of people caught for doing things outside the box got caught because they violated this rule.

  9. LarryA
    LarryA September 27, 2013 8:02 am


    Too old and set in my ways.

    I won’t even wear “sensible” slippers to get through the airport.

  10. Kent McManigal
    Kent McManigal September 27, 2013 8:20 am

    The internet is pretty much the only reason I can stay sane and live in “Society”, plus in “Society” your information is going to be online whether or not you put it there. At least if you are active online you can guide what’s there about you by messing with the patterns/posting false information.

    So, as long as I can manage to put up with “Society” I will probably not give up the internet. As soon as living in a cave while wearing bear skin becomes the more personally sensible choice, that’s what I’ll do.

    If “they” somehow manage to shut off my access to the internet, that’ll change the game. In that case I won’t die without it, but I might walk out on “Society”. It’ll just be a new chapter- I’ve had several new chapters over the years and I’d welcome one now. I don’t know how much of a nudge it will take, but I’m not worried.

  11. Matt, another
    Matt, another September 27, 2013 8:22 am

    No. The internet is probably an introverts best freind. It allows us to communicate and meet other people without really having to meet those other people. It is also the repository for knowledge (of good and evil) and is useful for learning new and arcane skills. It is also a premium device for keeping in touch with family. Practice good OPSEC and COMSEC though.

  12. Water Lily
    Water Lily September 27, 2013 8:32 am

    I cannot quit because I’m a writer and if I want to sell books, I must have an online presence.

    I’ve cut back back my time online that is not devoted to the business of writing.

    I don’t have a smartphone. I have an ipad, but I only use it when we are on the road. I no longer talk about controversial stuff on the phone. I have my laptop’s camera and microphone taped over. Small gestures.

    I don’t subscribe to as many blogs as I did before, and I’m no longer participating in any forums. I’ve stopped posting and commenting about politics. Most of the stuff that I talk about online relates to writing, dogs, and eating organic food.

    I’m writing my libertarian/voluntarist-themed dystopian fiction under a pen name, and I don’t plan to reveal much about myself to my readers. I’m sure my real name is already on some gubmint list, and my pen name info is easily traced back to my real name by those who want to find the info. We’re thinking of moving next year, and when we do, we may or may not have home internet service, but I will still be online a lot, I’m sure.

    So I won’t give it up entirely, but I will continue to be careful and try to guard my privacy where and when I can. I guess I’ll know when it is time to go dark, which will be a very sad day. I love learning new things and gathering information, and the internet has been great for that over the years.

    BTW, I read somewhere that one of the biggest contributors to the TOR project was the government? I have no idea whether that is true or not. I don’t use it, just use Firefox with the privacy extensions, and at some point I’ll probably get an email address from neomailbox.

  13. Mic
    Mic September 27, 2013 8:42 am

    No, I would not leave. Fortunately or Unfortunately depending on how you look at it a significant part of my life is now assisted by or wholly online. I make my living online, get my news, meet like minded people and yes, buy tons of stuff, most of it [for now] with no sales tax added.

    The thing many of us have to understand is all the crypto tools in the world that are available to us will only provide a base layer of protection. If the eye of Sauron decides it wants to know everything about YOU specifically they will break through those defenses in short order or just come and pick you up and hold you as a person of interest or enemy combatant or some other designation designed to keep you locked up forever.

    Sadly, our free republic died a long time ago with generations of apathetic citizens not bothering to fight back when the government wasn’t this big. Many succumbed to the “free” government gravy that has been ladled out so generously over the last 50 years and now wouldn’t know how to be free and self reliant even if it were possible.

    Finally, the number of people who have euthanized their brains with stupid reality TV shows and little techno gee gaws that keep them from paying attention or caring about their freedom and moved into the vast majority. We don’t have to worry about the fictional “zombie apocalypse” we already have brain dead zombies around us in hordes right now. All of them clamoring for free food and not bothering to think about anything.

    Remember Edward Snowden revealed a lot, but only after it had been going for probably over a decade and how much does he *not* know or was not privy to that did and is still going on? The point being every single one of us already have an extensive dossier worked up on us and details are added every day no matter what you do unless you go live in a cave [I mean an actual cave] somewhere and even then if they truly want you they will still find you ask most terrorists hiding out in caves in Pakistan. They might evade for a while, but eventually their luck runs out when a hellfire missile comes streaking out of the heavens from a drone 10,000 feet up and ends that good luck streak.

    I decided a long time ago that I will continue to be me and do what I do and continue to speak out and resist when I can because I don’t know what else to do. If that fateful day ever comes where the government storm troopers are at my door to collect my arms or me they should probably remember a guy named Leonidas who lived about 2,500 years ago and was given a similar decision and how that ended.

  14. Paul Bonneau
    Paul Bonneau September 27, 2013 9:18 am

    No. No no no, never!

    I don’t care about their snooping. Fuck ’em.

    However for sport, I put as many obstacles in their way as I can think of. I use VPN at times, and am becoming pretty good with pfSense, cooking up my own routers.

    I doubt the Internet will ever be shut down because it would completely ruin commerce. No commerce, no funds left for the rulers to steal. But if the “controlled” Internet gets ugly enough I will be setting up a mesh local network and spending time on the dark net, or whatever they call it these days.

    In case I haven’t posted about it yet, here’s an article I wrote:

    From the groklaw post:
    [And the simple truth is, no matter how good the motives might be for collecting and screening everything we say to one another, and no matter how “clean” we all are ourselves from the standpoint of the screeners, I don’t know how to function in such an atmosphere.]

    I don’t understand this thinking. Why would a person ever stop? Who cares what they know?

    Maybe it all gets easy when you get older, and decide that you will never permit your arrest for any reason. One good thing about getting old I guess. What’s there to be afraid of, when death is just around the corner anyway?

  15. Scott
    Scott September 27, 2013 9:22 am

    No-it’s too useful a tool to throw out of the toolbox. Useful to me in many ways. Still, it doesn’t hurt to have some sort of backup in place. The Internet is a very useful thing, but you shouldn’t be totally dependent on it.

  16. just waiting
    just waiting September 27, 2013 10:41 am

    We didn’t have any internets for 2 weeks after Sandy last year (had no phone or electric either) While the isolation was great, the worst part about it, other than the constant drone of generators, was having to rely on tv and the msm for my news. Sooo much bs, so little info.

    Would I do it again voluntarily? Probably not. Like many others have said, its just a tool, and there are others in the box that feel neglected when I spend too much time on the net. But the instantaneous access to news and opinion is a draw worse than tv, worse than drugs.

    As for privacy, one of the earliest lessons I taught my kids was “If you don’t tell anyone you did it, chances are you’ll never get caught for doing it, tell 1 person and you’re busted” I’ve always approached the web that way. Like MamaLiberty said, never say anything you wouldn’t say in public.

    So NSAfolks, to keep you up to date, mother in law is home and doing well, sis is visiting next week, and my new chicken coop is almost finished.

  17. Jorge
    Jorge September 27, 2013 11:06 am

    No I will not quit. It is too useful a tool and in reality nothing has changed. It has just become more so.

    I have been online since 1979 when a client insisted that I get a CompuServe account so that we could exchange email instead of him having to call me long distance all the time.

    I very quickly realized that CompuServe itself had access to all our emails. Since then I have assumed that everything I put online is public. If I don’t want it to be I encrypt it.

    In the mid 90s I realized that storage was becoming so cheap that it was, or would soon be, cheaper to keep all the data than it would be to periodically delete it. At that point I also realized that anything I put online is not only public, it is forever and accessible by anyone. The solution is the same. Encrypt.

  18. Tom Buchanan
    Tom Buchanan September 27, 2013 11:43 am

    I could definitely live without the internet, but then again I think I was born a hundred years too late. But it is a tool that is being used against our freedoms and we must use it to fight back. It is nice to get the latest news at the speed of the internet.
    However, sometimes it is hard to just think. We are bombarded with information 24/7 and it is nice to get away. There is nothing I enjoy more than hunting camp after 3 days. That’s how long it takes me to get into the routine of the woods before I can enjoy my surroundings.
    I wish the younger generation would have to live without it for a while, just to experience life without it. I try to imagine what life would be like if all of the satellites would be destroyed and everyone walking around staring at blank smart phones.
    I had an old friend named Craig who passed away a few years back. I don’t think he ever got on the internet. He would always preach and teach classes on ham radios and why they were important to survival. As time passes, I believe more and more that he was right.

  19. lelnet
    lelnet September 27, 2013 11:55 am

    Every post I see, here or elsewhere, about these Snowden “revelations” makes me wonder the same thing: “to whom, exactly, is any of this stuff news?” Ooh, look…the programs that anyone paying the slightest attention already knew they were running, turn out to have project codenames and bureaucratic powerpoint decks to go with them…what a shock!

    So no, I won’t be quitting the internet. First off, you might as well ask a carpenter to swear off wood…it would not only be explicit professional suicide, it would be entirely contrary to my psychological well-being.

    What will I do instead? Nothing different. I have already conducted my entire adult life on the core assumption that anything about my online life the government wants to find out badly enough, it’ll find out. If you’re the NSA, there’s probably no encryption you can’t crack if you’re willing to try hard enough. But then, if you’re the US Government and the people you’re spying on are Americans using even the most basic of informational hygiene precautions, there have always been easier ways to get dirt on them than by breaking their crypto.

    You want to know about my finances? Well, sure…you could crack the SSL on the session between my web browser and my bank’s server…it’d take a lot of time and a lot of resources and you probably wouldn’t learn anything interesting. Or you could send a lawyer to visit a compliant judge and then go to the bank’s office with a warrant, and they’ll tell you everything you want to know. A government that makes no secret at all of being able (and willing, on the slightest pretense) to do the latter is not, to me, made any more scary by the prospect that it may be able to do the former.

    There are ultimately two things I do, to protect myself:

    1. To the greatest extent practicable, be uninteresting to enemies. If you really care that the government is snooping on the posts you make with pictures of your cat, you are mentally ill. Most of your online life is probably less interesting than pictures of your cat. So set the worry meter at absolute-zero for most of it. (If they want to watch you having sex, they can, even through walls, using thermal imaging cameras. But if they wanted to watch people having sex, there are millions of web sites that’d happily oblige them, mostly starring fornicators better-looking than you. So they probably _don’t_ want to watch you having sex, and it is pretty safe to assume that they aren’t going to, even though they totally could.)

    2. When doing or saying something which is likely to be of interest to enemies, _assume_ that your most paranoid fantasies about what they might be able to figure out are true, and act accordingly.

    In other words, learn how to hide in plain sight. Because whether you like it or not, plain sight is where you are.

  20. EN
    EN September 27, 2013 12:37 pm

    My ex wife used to call them “his imaginary friends”. Turns out they were better friends than she was. I won’t be quitting any time soon and right now I spend a lot of time feeding the beast with untrue and more true then they want to hear, info. The real problem for some is that the internet gives us anonymity from our friends and even spouses. Our political enemies will “out” us as enemies of the state and attempt to embarrass you with the info. But it’s already pretty well established that “EN has no filter”, and many people would prefer that I learn to lie. If you tell me Ron Paul likes gay porn and Haitian maids, I could give a damn. And at this stage of what’s left of our Republic the most honest US news comes from , Bloggers, Britain and other Europeans countries. But we are getting the truth and would not get it without the internet. The other thing is we can work on these sick voyeurs of the state. We have a pipeline right into their minds and need to keep making our case online so the the voyeurs are turned from the dark side. They live these lies and no the truth of the sate. WE CAN TURN THEM TO THE LIGHT!!! This actually happened with agents of the Stasi. The German Democratic Republic’s greatest flaw was the refusal of the Stasi agents to turn people in and in many cased directly hid their activities. I will stay with it.

  21. naturegirl
    naturegirl September 27, 2013 12:40 pm

    I have stopped using the internet for various time lengths a few times over the years, for multiple reasons. Interesting to find out I didn’t curl up in a ball and cease living, LOL. However, I share some of the same comments others have made: sometimes it’s my only source for news and knowledge. And I too have been online in names that aren’t my real name, same for email addresses. Internet service not being in my name, either. And yes, I wasn’t surprised to see my real identity show up in searches – put there by companies who gain from having such info. But it’s somewhat of a comfort to know that can’t be connected to “online me” so easily. I don’t say much anywhere that would send an army to my door, anyway. Not that they could find me.

    I too would be very unsocial if it weren’t for the internet – there are literally days that go by without talking to another human. And for that very reason, being connected to the internet probably saves me from complete hermitism.

    But as a choice, I keep connecting. If it all went away, I’d be a little less “in the loop” of things. I’d probably get more (other) things done, too, LOL.

  22. Claire
    Claire September 27, 2013 12:44 pm

    “If you really care that the government is snooping on the posts you make with pictures of your cat, you are mentally ill.”

    Guess I must be crazy as a bedbug, then. Because unlike most commenters, the thing that bothers me the most isn’t that those federal creepazoids might see something “dangerous” or otherwise confidential. The thing that bothers me is that they’re snooping at all.

    It’s that they’re beyond all control, treating us all like criminal suspects, and wrecking what’s left of (political) freedom. Of course we can all play games to hide from their creepy eye. But I resent that I have to. I hate them for their arrogance and presumption, even when what they see is nothing but boring trivia.

    So yes, I really, really, really, REALLY care that the government is snooping on my cat pictures. Damn right I care!

  23. Matt, another
    Matt, another September 27, 2013 2:14 pm

    So, if we are not going to quit the internet, what shall we do about it?

  24. Pat
    Pat September 27, 2013 3:46 pm

    No. Have been thinking about this for some time, but can’t bring myself to go cold-turkey – yet. I have, however, been online less during the past few months, have been busy this summer enjoying my own reality and didn’t miss the Net as much as I expected.To me, that’s a good sign.

    News, knowledge, and freedomista contact are my major reasons for staying online at present, but I could live without it _if necessary._

    If we opted out totally, I would worry about leaving the internet to the bad guys, as slidemansailor said. I wouldn’t mind for a short period of time, though, to see what might happen to companies who trick and abuse their customers, and to rattle fedgov who couldn’t keep track of us during that time. But…

    I do think if we can’t keep them out of our private lives, we should stop beating ourselves up in frustrated talk and find other ways to make connection – temporarily if Luddite in nature, or permanently if a way can be found to improve or substitute for the internet. The internet is, after all, just a “way station” to the next technological chapter; it is not God, it is not the final answer, it just happens to be what *we* know and love right now. Something better WILL come along (even if we’re not around to see it).

  25. Karen
    Karen September 27, 2013 4:05 pm

    As others have said, I figure I’m already on the lists. Granted, I’m probably guilty of thinking that I’m more important than I am, but little stuff rings my bell occaisionally. For example……I recently bought a new little handgun. The FFL gal’s internet was down, so she called in the background check. Before she even finished giving all the information, the sale was approved and the woman in the background check office said “she must be a very good girl”. Yeah, or on *the list*.

    But then I remember a news story I read online. Some time back there was an attempted bombing in NY, but the bomb didn’t go off and the guy was caught. It seems that the guy’s father had called the various anti-terror agencies and warned them about his son. Gave them his name, where to find him and even the plan he suspected his son of. And those agency folks couldn’t/didn’t find him until after the fact.

    So, while I totally agree that I resent the likelihood of being spied on in principle, I really dont’ worry much about the competence of the spies and their handlers to sort out and do anything with hundreds and thousands of boring emails and funny cat videos and odd combinations of purchases thru Claire’s Amazon link.

  26. WolfSong
    WolfSong September 27, 2013 5:05 pm

    Nope. I won’t quit either. I have had a forced silence while moving and setting up a new ISP and I hated it. I don’t spend as much time with people IRL, but online is different. I could even say, truthfully, that I prefer being a hermit, but like having nternet access.
    If that makes any sort of sense.

  27. naturegirl
    naturegirl September 27, 2013 6:03 pm

    Claire said: “The thing that bothers me is that they’re snooping at all.” and I’m sure we all knew that’s what you meant, those of us who read here regularly. I’m pretty sure I can’t stop them, and I wouldn’t even know where to begin since they tend to conduct biz their way (sneakily and without morals). All we can control is what we do, and how we behave online, and not give them any juicy bits to trip out on. They’re out of control.

  28. LarryA
    LarryA September 27, 2013 7:43 pm

    OTOH if the snoops are on the web they’re seeing Mas’s latest “Chicks Rule at IDPA Nationals,” and “NRA Smashes Fundraising Record for 2013,” and Texas Association of School Boards’ “Guns on School Property” including how-to for teacher carry.

    The times they are a-changin’.

  29. Mari
    Mari September 27, 2013 8:58 pm

    I have no plans to quit the Internet or change anything about my life as the result of the recent NSA revelations because they weren’t really news to me. I worked with database systems for 25+ years and followed the growth of the surveillance industry. Two years ago I retired because all paid employment available to me involved feeding data into the monster.

    My Internet usage has declined this year as a result of a very successful 2013 New Year’s resolution – not the NSA. Time once spent consuming demoralizing messages is now dedicated to hanging out at the farmers’ market or the range and learning how to function in non-virtual reality again. NSA spying is probably here to stay until the empire dies and I don’t intend to spend any energy provoking it. However, I’m not going to complain if the NSA fails to track my cash purchases at local markets.

  30. PrePressVeteran
    PrePressVeteran September 28, 2013 8:36 am

    Random thoughts about this:

    For all the snooping, Obama only knew about the IRS scandal from cable TV? Yeah, right. And furthermore, does he really think he can get away with such a bald faced lie? Who’s crazy again?

    Resenting what the gov presumes it can do to the idea of freedom, and us… seems to be exactly the result they’re looking for. Person’s gotta wonder why?

    Years ago, I googled my real name. It’s not a normal name; but lo and behold, there is another person with my exact name. That will slow people down, if they’re looking for me! We even share some skill sets… weird world. I hope she doesn’t go dark…

    I am a hermit by predisposition. The Internet is important as my source of human interaction, communications, and a necessary yardstick for measuring out the validity of some of my perceptions, intuitions, and ideas. They’ll have to pry the mouse from my cold dead hands!! LOL….

  31. Jorge
    Jorge September 28, 2013 2:59 pm

    Claire, I know what you mean, and understand the feeling, but surely the news that the government is snooping on you (and everyone else) is not news to you. So if you are freaked out by this, why now? Why not before?

    I accepted a long time ago that someone, at the very least my ISP, has the capabilities to intercept all of my unencrypted net activity. Once you realize that someone can do this you also realize that someone will do this when it is cheap enough. It became cheap enough to capture everyone’s net activity a while ago.

    I will not stop using the net because of this. Just like I will not stop shopping at stores that have cameras in them, much as I hate the cameras.

  32. Mt Top Patriot
    Mt Top Patriot October 1, 2013 3:47 am


    Why quit now?

    We have them on the run Ms. Wolfe.

    These tyrants are afraid of us.

    They are afraid of what we will do to them for what they are doing to us.

    It is why they they call the AR15 rifle an “assault weapon”.

    Because they are afraid it will be used to assault them for what they have done to this great Republic.

    It is why the are attempting to make peaceful redress impossible.

    They are afraid because the idea of truth and reason reveals their illegitimacy.

    They are afraid of people speaking freely because they only have power until they do not.

    They only have power as long as the fiction of their legitimacy is hidden behind the existing appearance of legitimacy.

    They are afraid.
    Very afraid.
    Afraid we will know the truth of them.

    I think it is too late for them.

    I think they have made revolution to their illegitimacy possible.

    I think what terrifies these tyrants is people are beginning to see, indeed, but what these tyrants fear more than anything is the truth that people are beginning to realize they are not alone.

    It is a cascade preference of Liberty.

    And no tyrant, no power, no law, can stop this.

    Because the simple truth is once people stop believing in the legitimacy of the power and monopoly of force of the tyrants and their system of rule over us, they simply have no power any longer.

    They only posses the means to enforce their will through threat of violence.

    That is why they are tyrants.

    It is why they are afraid.

    Afraid people are beginning to believe.

    Believe the only power in this land, the only legitimacy of the sovereign, has always resided in us.

    What is even grander than this, what is so wonderful, this great nation of freemen has in it’s grasp the ability and wherewithal to become greater than any can imagine.

    That ideal of the shining light on the hill is true.

    When you believe you become free.

    And that is the freest speech, the most powerful assault weapon of Liberty there is.

    Oh yes, they are afraid.

    They should be.

    They should be terrified of us.

    They know power.

    But they do not know what true power is, how truly powerful we the people are.


  33. A.G.
    A.G. October 3, 2013 12:52 pm

    I have largely quit the net already, as I have found that awareness of day-to-day “news” is detrimental to my serenity.
    I have a few info feeds that are either primary sources or close to it. Things that are relevant to finances and geopolitics.
    Despite my best efforts however, I know who the Kardashians are.

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