Sunday, November 11, 2007

Private Snowball

I usually try to sugarcoat these depressing stories about creeping fascism with a dash of humor, to make them go down easier, but it's hard making this funny:

As Congress debates new rules for government eavesdropping, a top intelligence official says it is time that people in the United States changed their definition of privacy.

Privacy no longer can mean anonymity, says Donald Kerr, the principal deputy director of national intelligence. Instead, it should mean that government and businesses properly safeguard people's private communications and financial information.

See, personally, I don't think a good definition of privacy allows for constant surveillance by the government (AND BUSINESS!). Kerr seems to think that, so long as the public at large doesn't have immediate access to information, that this information can be considered "private," even if business types and government employees take a gander at it all the time.

In other words, spying on the ladies' locker room is wrong...unless you're the principal, in which case, spying on the ladies' locker room is just fine. Encouraged, even. Just don't let the vice-principal see!

Any time government employees start telling me to change my definitions of things, I get suspicious. (Yes, even when Bill Clinton told me to change my definition of "is," in case any of you readers thought you could catch me in some sort of hypocritical Serbian Jew double-bluff or something, as you are wont to do). When they tell me to change my definition of privacy, I am no longer suspicious. I am fearful. And angry. And, now that you bring it up, kind of hungry.

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