The top 0.0001%

When Abraham Lincoln referred to “government of the people, by the people, for the people,” how many of those people was he talking about? Perhaps the top 1%?

By the ethical standards of today’s Congress, that would practically make our 16th President a Communist. After all, given our nation’s current population, the top 1% is an awful lot of people — about 3.26 million. Asking the government to care about such a huge number of the unwashed masses would be crazy. Although admittedly those 3.26 million one-percenters are slightly better washed than the other 99%.

So maybe Lincoln meant the top 1% of the top 1%. But that too seems wildly generous. We’re still talking about 32600 people. I mean, has anyone in Congress even met 32600 people?

If you’re going to talk about legislation that benefits a meaningful group of U.S. citizens, you need to tone it down. Our nation’s laws should benefit at most a few hundred people, right? After all, that’s a manageable number — roughly the number of individuals who own significantly large shares of stock in our nation’s Telecom companies.

Yesterday our Congress passed a bill to honor Lincoln’s famous statement, with suitable adjustments.

Until one day ago, you legally owned your personal digital data. As soon as our current president signs this bill (which he strongly supports), you won’t. Somebody else will.

What used to be the digital portion of your personal wealth — which can translate into potential earning power — will now pretty much be owned by just a few hundred people. In particular, your data will mainly be owned by the small group of individuals who have significantly large ownership shares in Telecom stock.

What about the other roughly 325,870,000 people who currently reside in these United States? I think the message from the Congressional majority was extremely clear on that point: We can all go fuck ourselves.

By the way, I am typing this in a Tor Browser, which I switched to this morning. It stops a Telecom provider from being able to collect and then sell all of my browsing data.

Tor is a free download which works on all computers, and I highly recommend it. Such privacy-protecting browsers are still legal, but who knows how long the Congressional majority (and their extremely wealthy and generous donors) will tolerate that?

2 Responses to “The top 0.0001%”

  1. J. Peterson says:

    I’ve thought of another work-around for the privacy law fiasco: Set up a small, cheap computer (e.g., a $30 Raspberry Pi) to select random words from a dictionary, Google them, and select a random page from the results. It’d do this every few seconds, around the clock.

    Thus the “browsing history” for my IP address is nearly 100% random noise, and the ISP is left with useless garbage to sell to their advertising clients.

    Eventually, this becomes a standard feature built into your home router.

  2. Ben says:

    From what I understand it’s fairly easy to build a graph of paths across networks and simply remove everything below a certain threshold. You could see for instance, that I have a typical routine, visit reddit multiple times a day, check Gmail, etcetera – pure randomness is quite easy to filter out with simple algorithms. Maybe it’d be an improvement to take the random visits and establish false routines with some kind of mechanism in order to make it seem less like noise and more natural user interaction timings and whatnot. One might argue that the electricity needed to accomplish all of that on the ISP side would dip into their profits significantly enough that it’s overkill, but who knows.

Leave a Reply