Reasonable Expectations of Privacy are Endangered

It is coming to this. The government is trying to change cultural expectations relating to privacy. This story is all over, but I originally saw it on Slashdot here. I was watching Fahrenheit 451 on television last week. In it a government fearful of allowing people to read things not controlled by it orders all books to be burned. Governors frequently feel the need to control what is said in society for fear that ideas may inflame passions of people in ways that afflict the power of the governor. This is taken to ridiculous heights in places like China and Russia and, alarmingly, an increasing number of places around the world. Of course a prerequisite to being able to control what is said and what ideas are exchanged, is to know what is said. Unfortunately, the same technologies that made enabled communication to spread in the 1990s, resulting in an increase of freedoms around the world, also make it easier for governors to tap into the idea stream. If AT&T really is collecting everything that goes across its wires for review by government automatons, this is a step toward the government being able to control speech. It is only a matter of time before this capability is misused. It is an attribute of statism. Statism is a prerequisite of authoritarianism. It must not be allowed. Where it is allowed, it must be subject to review. Perhaps telecommunications companies should not be held accountable for the cost of improper usage of what passes over their wires by government authorities, but someone has to be held accountable.

Comments are closed.