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Re: <nettime> NSA-spying-on-Europe outrage somewhat disingenuous
Keith Hart on Wed, 3 Jul 2013 10:57:57 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> NSA-spying-on-Europe outrage somewhat disingenuous


On Wed, Jul 3, 2013 at 12:26 AM, Brian Holmes
<bhcontinentaldrift {AT} gmail.com>wrote:

> However the "mainstream" since 2011 is divided, the other half
> - which percent I am not sure - has an increasingly good basic
> knowledge of what's happening and is increasingly against it.
> Traveling around the world, Claire and I used to be impressed how
> much more just about anybody we would meet in the former East or
> Latin America knew about the global hierarchy than "our fellow
> Americans." Well, it is still true, but thanks to hacker and other
> efforts - and thanks to the visible naked power and greed of said
> hierarchy - things are changing.

On Wed, Jul 3, 2013 at 1:17 AM, Marko Peljhan <marxx {AT} ljudmila.org>
wrote:

> the problem is not that this is happening and a lot of people
> were aware of it. the problem is that it is most probably
> unconstitutional in most legal systems... the constitutions are thin
> membranes between total control and usurpation of power and they
> are indeed the last line of defense.Legal and political systems
> have evolved with and adapted so much to total corporate and state
> surveillance...


So it is partly a question of the law and how people in different
regions perceive and respond to the law. I wonder if it would be a
useful contribution to consider how public and private law are related
in different legal traditions, notably to start with, common law and
civil law traditions. Most European languages distinguish strongly
between public and private law, using two words for them following
Latin lex (state-made law) and ius (civil law): for example loi
and droit, Gesetz and Recht. This usually goes along with cultural
separation of the public and private or domestic spheres, symbolized
by taking ones shoes off when entering a home. In the English common
law tradition, however, there is only one word for law and this
reflects the idea that public or state-made law is in theory an
extension of relations between private individuals. So you don't take
your shoes off when moving between the two spheres. This is why the
Matignon is a palace and 10 Downing Street looks from the outside like
an ordinary terraced house. The English don't have a constitution
for the same reason and they invented economics, not sociology or
political philosophy. The Americans have a constitution and a White
House, but retain much of the common law tradition (they keep their
shoes on in the home).

So there is a lot more than meets the eye, when it comes to
understanding why some people make a strong public/private distinction
and others don't. I have always been intrigued by the cult of privacy
in some internet circles which again crosscuts the common vs civil
law opposition. But if you have been brought up with the notion that
public institutions are merely an extension of private relations,
you may be less offended by cctv surveillance or the accumulation of
internet data by spooks. In that sense, email was never private in the
first place.

This observation does not undermine Brian's or Marko's, but the
perspective oif comparative law amplified to tak ein broader cultural
practices might lend some precision to what we expect when private and
public law meet.

Keith




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