Evgeny Morozov

Evgeny
Morozov
1984

Belarus-born American, Fellow at the New America Foundation, Editor and Blogger for Foreign Policy Magazine, Writer and Researcher who studies Political and Social Implications of Technology

Author Quotes

In addition to their 'do no evil' motto, Googlers have always been guided by another, much less explicit philosophy: 'computational arrogance.'

Jean-Paul Sartre, the existentialist philosopher who celebrated the anguish of decision as a hallmark of responsibility, has no place in Silicon Valley.

Our Internet debates... tend to be dominated by a form of openness fundamentalism, whereby openness is seen as a fail-safe solution to virtually any problem. Instead of debating how openness may be fostering of harming innovation, promoting or demoting justice, facilitating or complicating deliberation - the kinds of debates we are likely to have about the uses of openness in the messy world that we live in - openness in networks and technological systems is presumed to be always good and its opposite...is always bad.

The Chinese government keeps installing video cameras in its most troubling cities. Not only do such cameras remind passersby about the panopticon they inhabit, they also supply the secret police with useful clues? Such revolution in video surveillance did not happen without some involvement from Western partners.

The reason why there is more pessimism about technology in Europe has to do with history, the use of databases to keep track of people in the camps, ecological disasters.

Truly smart technologies will remind us that we are not mere automatons who assist big data in asking and answering questions.

You know, anyone who wears glasses, in one sense or another, is a cyborg.

A vibrant civil society can challenge those in power by documenting corruption or uncovering activities like the murder of political enemies. In democracies, this function is mostly performed by the media, NGOs or opposition parties.

Dictators aren't stupid, or regimes could be toppled easily by young people mobilizing on Facebook.

I want my government to do something about my privacy - I don't want to just do it on my own.

In business, standards establish the rules of the game, creating path dependencies as investments are made and corresponding designs are set in stone and plastic. Inferior standards can prevail due to smart marketing or industry collusion.

Just as Josef K, the protagonist of Kafka's 'The Trial,' awoke one day to discover that he had become part of some unfathomable legal carnival, we, too are frequently waking to discover that the rules of the digital game have once again profoundly changed.

People somehow assume that the Internet is going to be the catalyst of change that will push young people into the streets, while in fact it may actually be the new opium for the masses which will keep the same people in their rooms downloading pornography.

The decentralized nature of online conversations often makes it easier to manipulate public opinion, both domestically and globally. Regimes that once relied on centralized systems of media control can now deliver ideological messages more subtly, with the help of little-known intermediaries like anonymous commenters on websites.

The shift of communications into the digital realm solves many of the problems that plagued surveillance in the analog age. Digital surveillance is much cheaper: Storage space is infinite, equipment retails for next to nothing, and digital technology allows doing more with less. Moreover, there is no need to read every single word in an email to identify its most interesting parts; one can simply search for certain keywords ? ?democracy?, ?opposition?, ?human rights?, or simply the names of the country?s opposition leaders ? and focus only on particular segments of the conversation. Digital bugs are also easier to conceal. While seasoned dissidents knew they constantly had to search their own apartments looking for the bug or, failing that, at least tighten their lips, knowing that the secret police was listening, this is rarely an option with digital surveillance. How do you know that someone else is reading your email?

Universities ought to be aware of the degree they would want to accept funding from governments like China to work on, say, face recognition technology.

You know, it's not a given that there is an 'online' and 'offline' world out there. When you use the telephone, you don't say that I'm entering some 'telephono-sphere.' You don't say that, and there is no obvious need to say that when you are using a modem.

After the proposal has been submitted, and before it has moved to the voting stage, other party members can launch counterproposals on a similar subject or make suggestions about how to improve the original one. What's interesting is that party members can transfer their votes to those they consider more knowledgeable about a given subject; thus, someone recognized as an expert on transportation policy might end up casting ten votes rather than one. To prevent some such experts from accumulating and abusing power, transferred votes can be recalled to their original "owners." The votes cast in LiquidFeedback are not binding; they simply inform party officials about the views of the grass roots. Big policy proposals are still discussed and voted upon at the party congress. LiquidFeedback thus aims to provide the intellectual inputs to the Pirates' work; the outputs are still determined by rather conventional means.

Diplomacy is, perhaps, one element of the U.S. government that should not be subject to the demands of 'open government'; whenever it works, it is usually because it is done behind closed doors. But this may be increasingly hard to achieve in the age of Twittering bureaucrats.

I went to SXSW in 2011. God, that was awful. I mean, I only went because my publisher wanted me to promote the book and the organizers invited me and it seemed silly not to go, especially for a relatively unknown first-time author. This is just not my cup of tea; the fewer such events I do on an annual basis, the happier I feel.

In China, Internet surveillance has already become a profitable industry. In fact, a growing number of private firms eagerly assist the local police by aggregating this data and presenting it in easy-to-browse formats, allowing humans to pursue more analytical tasks.

Look at something like cooking. Now, you would hear a lot about smart kitchens and augmented kitchens. And what do those smart kitchens actually do? They police what's happening inside the kitchen. They have cameras that distinguish ingredients one from each other and that tell you that shouldn't mix this ingredient with another ingredient.

Personalization can be very useful in some contexts but very harmful in others. Searching for pizza online, it's probably OK to keep showing the same pizza shop as your No. 1 choice. I don't see any big political consequences out of that.

The director of the FBI has been visiting Silicon Valley companies asking them to build back doors so that it can spy on what is being said online. The Department of Commerce is going after piracy. At home, the American government wants anything but Internet freedom.

The spirit of the Internet. This spirit is a powerful myth concocted by overzealous legal activists, and the sooner we bury it, the better.

Author Picture
First Name
Evgeny
Last Name
Morozov
Birth Date
1984
Bio

Belarus-born American, Fellow at the New America Foundation, Editor and Blogger for Foreign Policy Magazine, Writer and Researcher who studies Political and Social Implications of Technology