Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Effort to Stigmatize Privacy as Anti-American

The Effort to Stigmatize Privacy as Anti-American

Most terrorist attacks are plotted, at least in part, inside terrorists’ dwellings. In the U.S. those are subject to Fourth Amendment protections and built with opaque walls, doors with locks, and windows that are frequently covered with the products of dastardly curtain and mini-blind companies, who facilitate all sorts of bad behavior by being complicit in the method by which it is hidden from view. Wouldn’t police be more able to stop bad guys if we all lived in glass houses?

In the analog world, everyone recognizes the absurdity of effectively outlawing privacy or the notion that the government should be empowered to conduct surveillance on everyone in order to catch a few bad apples. Why do so many Americans totally lose that understanding when the conversation turns to the digital world? It is not radical to believe Americans should be free to talk to their friends, lovers, family members, and associates in private, without anyone listening. And it is no more radical to suggest that they ought to be able to do so via email.