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<nettime> Orwell and the power of negation...
. __ . on Sat, 28 Jun 2003 18:38:22 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Orwell and the power of negation...

The best thing the devil ever did was convincing people that he does not

quod erat demonstrandum...



This story was printed from ZDNet UK,
located at http://news.zdnet.co.uk/

Location: http://news.zdnet.co.uk/story/0,,t269-s2136612,00.html 

Gates: Orwell was wrong about Big Brother 

<mailto:mailroomuk {AT} zdnet.com>Declan McCullagh, CNET News.com  

On the 100th anniversary of George Orwell's birth, Microsoft chairman Bill
Gates said the author of Nineteen Eighty-four was only partially correct
and predicted that technology will help preserve privacy rights.

Gates told a homeland-security conference on Wednesday afternoon that
Orwell's dystopian vision of the future, in which Big Brother used
technology as a form of social control, "didn't come true, and I don't
believe it will."

Microsoft's chief software architect used his appearance in Washington to
stress his company's willingness to work with the federal government on
combating terrorism and to tout his company's Trustworthy Computing
initiative and its controversial
<http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~rja14/tcpa-faq.html>next-generation secure
computing base," a project previously known as Palladium. "We're working
with a variety of hardware and software partners to provide this level of
protection against future viruses, threats from hackers or anyone seeking
to acquire personal information or digital property with malicious
intent," Gates said.

"This technology can make our country more secure and prevent the
nightmare vision of George Orwell at the same time," Gates said. "Orwell
didn't anticipate how technology can be used to protect privacy. The fact
that technology can protect both security and privacy by protecting the
computer systems and the information on them is a positive thing."

Orwell, the British author whose works include Animal Farm, Nineteen
Eighty-four, and the essay "Politics and the English Language," was the
pen name of Eric Arthur Blair. He was born in India on 25 June, 1903 and
rose to prominence as one of the 20th century's most influential authors
as a result of his biting critiques of totalitarianism.

Gates' remarks, to a conference organised by the Center for Strategic and
International Studies (CSIS) and the Information Technology Industry
Council, come as the nation's capital is weighing antiterrorism concerns
against privacy and other civil liberties. The US Department of Justice
has drafted a legislative proposal asking for more surveillance powers,
while congressional scrutiny of the Pentagon's Terrorist Information
Awareness (TIA) initiative is increasing.

Without taking a stand on the TIA system, which previously was called
Total Information Awareness, Gates applauded increased information sharing
between government agencies. He cited current law-enforcement efforts to
share criminal databases, but predicted that, "unless this system is
properly connected to the entire Homeland Security command structure, the
potential will not be fully realised."

"We're proud to be involved in the effort to connect a significant portion
of the federal homeland-security community into a national
information-sharing and intelligence-analysis network," Gates said.

In President Bush's State of the Union address in January, he described a
forthcoming government database -- called the Terrorist Threat Integration
Center -- that would compile information from all federal agencies and the
private sector on people deemed possible terrorist threats.

John Hamre, president of CSIS and a former deputy secretary of defense,
defended TIA in an afternoon speech that followed Gates' remarks. "I think
we need a domestic surveillance organisation in this country... I think
they're really on to something," he said, talking about Admiral John
Poindexter's plans to create the TIA system.

Hamre said that critics of TIA, who have worried that it may lead to the
creation of a computerised dossier on every American, are misinformed.
"They've engineered privacy into it... We need people to shoulder their
honest responsibilities for oversight."

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