We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

The Panopticon State

The British government feels it no longer even has to hide the fact it wishes to be the centre of a vast spider web of surveillance. Gone are the days of ‘no comment’ regarding Echelon and Carnivore. Now the state is demanding the ability to control all communications between British scientists and foreign colleagues on pretty much any subject the state deems appropriate.

The situation is little better in the USA and as the editorial in the latest print edition of New Scientist aptly puts it:

The government there is withdrawing thousands of technical papers that amount to cookbooks for chemical and biological weapons. It has also asked journal editors to leave out details from papers that would be essential for anyone replicating the work. This undermines the whole notion of ensuring that research results can be checked by others. It also raises a paradox: terrorists, it seems, are deemed smart enough to understand arcane science, but too dumb to fill in the gaps in research papers

The deadening effect this will all have on a vast swathe of scientific progress is not hard imagine. Inevitably some types of research will just migrate to places where the state does not impede its development resulting in more, not less, diffusion of critical knowledge and technologies. Rather than a narrowly targeted moderation of clearly weaponised technologies, the state has elected to implement an Orwellian oversight on all technical discussions on subjects to be determined by semi-qualified bureaucrats who will always have a presumption of the legitimacy of intervention. A disappointing response but hardly a unexpected one to someone such as myself who assumes the worst of states and is rarely surprised.


When The State watches you,
dare to stare back

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