Hoe leg ik de Snwoden leaks uit aan een zesjarige?

cory-doctorowIn een column voor Locus vertelt Cory Doctorow hoe hij de onthullingen van Snowden over de massale surveillancepraktijken uitlegde aan zijn zesjarige dochter. Volgens Doctorow begrijpen kinderen intuïtief wat het betekent om voortdurend in de gaten te worden gehouden door volwassenen die zichzelf tot autoriteit benoemen en denken dat ze zich niet moeten verantwoorden voor wat ze doen.

So I explained to my daughter that there was a man who was a spy, who discovered that the spies he worked for were breaking the law and spying on everyone, capturing all their e-mails and texts and video-chats and web-clicks. My daughter has figured out how to use a laptop, phone, or tablet to peck out a message to her grandparents (autocomplete and spell-check actually make typing into an educational experience for kids, who can choose their words from drop-down lists that get better as they key in letters); she’s also used to videoconferencing with relatives around the world. So when I told her that the spies were spying on everything, she had some context for it.

Right away, we were off to the races. ‘‘How can they listen to everyone at once?’’ ‘‘How can they read all those messages?’’ ‘‘How many spies are there?’’ I told her about submarine fiber-optic taps, prismatic beam-splitters, and mass databases. Again, she had a surprising amount of context for this, having encountered digital devices whose capacity was full – as when we couldn’t load more videos onto a tablet – and whose capacities could be expanded with additional storage.

De column is bij momenten grappig maar vooral ook boeiend om lezen omdat Doctorow van de gelegenheid gebruik maakt om thema’s aan te snijden die zowel zesjarigen als gepensioneerden als iedereen daar tussenin aanbelangen.

The Snowden era has sparked debates on whether the Internet is good for freedom or bad for it. The reality is that the Internet is both good and bad for freedom, depending on how it’s used and regulated. The right question to ask isn’t ‘‘Does the Internet make us free?’’ The right question to ask is ‘‘How can the Internet make us free?’’

Cory Doctorow: How to Talk to Your Children About Mass Surveillance