This is the real tragedy of America’s “Internet freedom agenda”: it’s going to be the dissidents in China and Iran who will pay for the hypocrisy that drove it from the very beginning. America has managed to advance its communications-related interests by claiming high moral ground and using ambiguous terms like “Internet freedom” to hide many profound contradictions in its own policies. On matters of “Internet freedom” – democracy promotion rebranded under a sexier name – American enjoyed some legitimacy as it claimed that it didn’t engage in the kinds of surveillance that it itself condemned in China or Iran. Likewise, on matters of cyberattacks, it could go after China’s cyber-espionage or Iran’s cyber-attacks because it assured the world that it engaged in neither.
This is a really long post, but it is the best summary of all the moving parts and issues they present that I have seen to date. Also, I do love this bit:
Google could have easily chosen to encrypt our communications in a way that its own algorithms wouldn’t be able to decipher, depriving both itself and the NSA of much-coveted data. But then Google wouldn’t be able to offer us a free service. And who would be happy about this?
Morozov also draws a comparison to energy consumption which is a really good way of looking at digital privacy — that there are consequences we are just now learning about that are far reaching than we ever thought.