"What do you mean, 'biblical'?"

Discussing the IRS and the NSA, Reason.com points out that The Problem Is Bigger Than You Think:
The NSA scandal is the tip of the iceberg...
The revelations about the extent of domestic surveillance have been a big story since they broke earlier this month. And the story keeps getting bigger: MSN reports that the IRS is “acquiring a huge volume of personal information on taxpayers' digital activities, from eBay auctions to Facebook posts and, for the first time ever, credit card and e-payment transaction records.” Soon it will have your health-insurance information, too.
Yet the tight focus on electronic surveillance keeps the bigger story out of the frame.
The bigger story concerns the increasingly asymmetric relationship between citizens and the state. The formerly secret program of domestic spying neatly illuminates one aspect of that asymmetry: The government knows, or can know, an awful lot about you. But you are not supposed to know even that it knows, let alone what it knows.
Zach Weiner at SMBC stated the problem in simpler terms:
There is an oft-repeated quote that's generally atrributed to Ben Franklin.
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
But, the truth is that very few of us are unwilling to trade some liberty for some safety. 
We just think that the exchange rate has gotten really bad lately.

1 comment:

Skowl Fiction and Poetry said...

Most of the government's actions regarding privacy lately have been unconstitutional. We all supposedly have the right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" so long as it doesn't infringe on the rights for others. There are so many people who can't pursue happiness if their every move is being watched. The government closely monitors the lives of people who have committed no crimes, done no harm, and acted out against no one. Innocent people are being monitored through webcams, in stores, and everything they do on the internet is preserved forever. A better system, perhaps, would be to only monitor those who are threats: people who have been in trouble with the law or actually show criminal intent, as opposed to everyone.