Surveillance Valley: The Secret Military History of the Internet (Yasha Levine)

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      Cold Mountain Trail
      • Total Posts: 12,892

      The internet is the most effective weapon the government has ever built.  In this fascinating book, investigative reporter Yasha Levine uncovers the secret origins of the internet, tracing it back to a Pentagon counterinsurgency surveillance project.

      A visionary intelligence officer, William Godel, realized that the key to winning the war in Vietnam was not outgunning the enemy, but using new information technology to understand their motives and anticipate their movements. This idea–using computers to spy on people and groups perceived as a threat, both at home and abroad–drove ARPA to develop the internet in the 1960s, and continues to be at the heart of the modern internet we all know and use today. As Levine shows, surveillance wasn’t something that suddenly appeared on the internet; it was woven into the fabric of the technology.

      But this isn’t just a story about the NSA or other domestic programs run by the government. As the book spins forward in time, Levine examines the private surveillance business that powers tech-industry giants like Google, Facebook, and Amazon, revealing how these companies spy on their users for profit, all while doing double duty as military and intelligence contractors. Levine shows that the military and Silicon Valley are effectively inseparable: a military-digital complex that permeates everything connected to the internet, even coopting and weaponizing the antigovernment privacy movement that sprang up in the wake of Edward Snowden.

      With deep research, skilled storytelling, and provocative arguments, Surveillance Valley will change the way you think about the news–and the device on which you read it.


      “Goodreads” wants to help me keep track of the books I want to read, lol.  They’re spying too.

      From the comments section:

      “…And that Silicon Valley receives countless billions from the government for services gladly rendered, be they hosting, profiling or out and out spying. Also nothing new….until quite suddenly and without warning, Levine turned to TOR. The paradox of the US government building, promoting and subsidizing the would-be secret world of the dark net is scary enough. That it is so fragile its managers attacked a university that hacked it, accusing the university of “ethical lapses“ is both laughable and shocking….That anyone thinks they are safe anywhere must forever be out of the question.

      …similarly, Signal is a dark net product of the US government. It encrypts communications over the internet, but first requires users to upload their cellphone number and their entire phonebooks. And everyone does. Like lambs to the slaughter. Signal uses Amazon servers, so any intelligence force can…quickly see who is using Signal to keep their conversations secret. Both Signal and TOR are forcefully and famously recommended by Edward Snowden and Julian Assange for their “privacy and safety”. They both must know better. So what does that mean…?” (D Wineberg)

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