Friday, June 14, 2013

Five thoughts on Government reading over your shoulder right now

PPS.  I’m just kidding folks.  Honest people have nothing to fear.  Senator Feinstein assures us that it will only be used against terrorists, and also people that someday might become a terrorist:  
... She said on Thursday that the authorities need this information in case someone might become a terrorist in the future.
And since I don't ever plan on becoming a terrorist, I figure I have nothing to fear. Yes, I do publish one post after another calling for the IRS to be abolished, but I'm confident that IRS agents have too much professionalism to single me out for special treatment.
2. I also claim that a must-read is my own article, The Constitution of Surveillance, written nine years ago. [DW - Quite good]
3. I hope people are putting the NSA program in context with the Boston Marathon bombing. Here you go to all this effort to use Big Data to find terrorists, and when you are handed hard, actionable intelligence from the Russians you muff it.
4. I bet you will not find politicians putting the NSA program in context with Chinese cyber-spying, and explaining why ours is good and their is bad. I don’t think politicians are capable of doing the hair-splitting, so I think what they are left with is “What we do is good because we are good, and what they do is bad because they are bad.”
Fournier then runs through how the various Obama scandals show:
Government is intrusive … Orwellian … incompetent … corrupt … complicated … heartless … secretive … [and] can’t be trusted.
And that’s when the good guys are running the show!
Wallace (hat tip: The .Plan):
Are some things still worth dying for? Is the American idea one such thing? Are you up for a thought experiment? What if we chose to regard the 2,973 innocents killed in the atrocities of 9/11 not as victims but as democratic martyrs, “sacrifices on the altar of freedom”?* In other words, what if we decided that a certain baseline vulnerability to terrorism is part of the price of the American idea? 
...Is this thought experiment monstrous? Would it be monstrous to refer to the 40,000-plus domestic highway deaths we accept each year because the mobility and autonomy of the car are evidently worth that high price? Is monstrousness why no serious public figure now will speak of the delusory trade-off of liberty for safety that Ben Franklin warned about more than 200 years ago? What exactly has changed between Franklin’s time and ours? Why now can we not have a serious national conversation about sacrifice, the inevitability of sacrifice—either of (a) some portion of safety or (b) some portion of the rights and protections that make the American idea so incalculably precious? I recognize my own biases are showing pretty heavily here. On the other hand, The Economist publishes this that is tempering my thinking:
3. And now the key question: is it okay for Google to use knowledge it gains from searching your e-mails to sell advertising to Williams Sonoma, but not to pass it on to the government when it asks for matches between pressure cookers and beheading videos?
 We need to think coherently about what we find scary here. The problem isn't so much that we haven't set up a legal architecture to preserve our online privacy from the government; it's that we haven't set up a legal architecture to preserve our online privacy from anyone at all. If we don't have laws and regulations that create meaningful zones of online privacy from corporations, the attempt to create online privacy from the government will be an absurdity.

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