Dec 26, 2013

Using Pigeons to Avoid Government Surveillance: Not as Crazy as It Sounds

Posted by in category: surveillance

— Slate


This essay originally appeared in Internet Monitor 2013: Reflections on the Digital World, published by the Internet Monitor project at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society. It is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license and has been lightly edited to align with Slate’s style guide.

On June 30, 2013, prompted by revelations of surveillance programs in the United States and United Kingdom, former Union of International Associations Assistant Secretary-General Anthony Judge published a detailed proposal titled “Circumventing Invasive Internet Surveillance With Carrier Pigeons.” In it, Judge discusses the proven competence of carrier pigeons for delivering messages, their non-military and military messaging capacity, and Chinese experiments to create pigeon cyborgs. Judge acknowledges that pigeon networks have their own vulnerability (such as disease, hawks, or being lured off course by sexy decoys), but argues that others have proven pigeons are effective at transmitting digital data.

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