When people hear from NSA PRISM and other programs such as “Vorratsdatenspeicherung” or the surveillance of the public via cameras there are usual all kinds of reactions.
Broadly speaking it seems though that the public does not care. While we can easily discuss at length the baby of kate, bushido’s new song, FC Bayern Munich’s decision to hire that guy and fire the other – we don’t have a revolte on the street proclaiming the protection of our private data.
One aspect might be, that the protest itself does not need to happen on the streets anymore. Networking happens now in the internet, large petitions, shitstorms, #aufschreis etc. – this all happens there and it’s usually strong enough to reach the relevant ears, people and political circles.
But usually we have someone outside this circle, someone who is not regularly using the internet. These persons who believe they are cool and up to date, as they send emails from an old workstation or a crappy laptop. If you ask them, your grandma, uncle, aunt – whatever – they will usually shrug. As they don’t understand. They don’t get it, that everything is the internet now. The weather forecast on their smartphone, their TomTom getting new traffic information and sending your position, speed etc. using public networks.
They don’t know how embedded everybody is these days and when we actually use the internet. In my experience people understand things by touching them – one of the really important senses we have. Unfortunately the NSA listening on a wire somewhere in Frankfurt is neither noticeable, nor visible or touchable. If we had in every private appartment someone taking notes where you sent your emails, letters and SMS to, who you call and for how long – well we would feel not very comfortable. And even if he would be in the flat above us, but introduce himself before he moves in to every neighbour as being the NSA and that he will listen to all what we say and do, be it something in the internet or any other way of communication – I strongly believe my aunt wouldn’t like it.
If we want to get the less information technology affine person to understand, to feel and touch the problems nature – then we need to make it visible by making vivid examples where someone who “does not use the internet” actually is living in it already.