One of my groups has been studying David Sanger’s book The Perfect Weapon. Most discussion groups I attend have an agreed-upon statement like, “What is said here stays here,” and to respect that hope of privacy I don’t mention the names of the groups that I write about. But, it’s now becoming an idle statement of a vanishing hope, because The Perfect Weapon makes it perfectly clear that any personal privacy we hold dear is vanishing. Even spy organizations that are fanatical about maintaining their own secrets can’t keep their secrets secret for very long. It appears that soon even a single digit that is deeply encrypted is subject to decryption because of the context that it is buried within.
Our personal daily lives are surrounded by microphones and speakers that can also function as microphones. And an invisible laser beam reflected off a vibrating glass window can be converted into the sounds of the conversations within the room. Even our thoughts can be penetrated to some degree by observing our behavior closely enough. It is a person’s physical behavior that most clearly represents his deeper thoughts and not his spoken or written words.
The argument that I presented today was that the book we are studying, The Perfect Weapon, was grievously misnamed. It would have been better named, “The Most Imperfect Weapon Ever Created So Far.”
Cyberwarfare is counterproductive because the more cooperative human behavior is the more benefits accrue to all parties. But using the deeply hideable qualities of the sources of statements made on the internet to create confusion and distrust eventually hurts everyone. That behavior makes the whole world a worse place for everyone because no one can trust anyone. And those most likely to suffer the most are the ones who are perpetrating distrust of other people. The reason is that the perpetrators of distrust become suspicious of everyone and everything, and the billions of people now on the internet become seen as potential creators of falsehoods. The perps’ personal suffering may not happen instantly, but over the remainder of their lives, as their distrust of other people grows their isolation and pain will grow. How can it be otherwise?
People are most in contact with their own thoughts, and if those thoughts are focused on how to confuse other people, then they themselves will become doubtful of everything that comes into their consciousness and they will become totally confused about the reality around them and within them.
“Honesty is the best policy” was my argument, but no one seemed convinced that it was viable in the modern world.