Now that the world's wackiest dictators -- Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Omar Gaddafi of Libya -- are dead, it doesn't seem any other national leader, elected or not, is willing to risk pissing off the U.S. by granting asylum to Edward J. Snowden. The no-man's-land situation applies as well to Julian Assange, another hacker who has liberated documents embarrassing to the U.S. government, and who has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for more than year now.
Given that both Snowden and Assange are hackers, and that Snowden's an avowed libertarian, it seems only fitting that Peter Thiel, champion techno-libertarian, should grant both refuge on the cruise ship he's planning to set up off the coast of the U.S. in international waters for entrepreneurs who lack U.S. visas. Thiel's said the ship is off U.S. territorial waters to facilitate startup founders without green cards but it also seems the ideal venue for harboring freedom-loving hackers. His boat -- call it the Hacker Haven -- could be the Greenpeace sanctuary for data liberators everywhere, both past and future.
Like most people who have lived at the outskirts of the McCarthy period, I'm not suprised by the revelation of broad government surveillance of personal data. Nor am I surprised that most Americans don't really care, because, I would surmise, they haven't been arrested or called to testify before grand juries or lost their jobs as a result of their digitally exposed lives. In fact, given the popularity of social media like Facebook, Americans and people across the world would seem to prefer to expose more of their lives rather than less.
And most secrets -- like the documents spilled out by the Wikileaks channel -- are in the end what one would expect from the mouths of jaded diplomats. For the truth about the human condition, one is better off sticking to fiction.