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New definitions for privacy and anonymity coming from the government.

By       Message Ed Martin       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink

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From an article by the Associated Press:

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 business properly safeguard people's private communications and financial information.

Donald, privacy has never meant anonymity.  They are two very different things.  Privacy was best expressed in common law by William Pitt:

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"The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the force of the crown.  It may be frail, the storm may enter, the rain may enter, but the King of England cannot enter.  All his force does not cross the threshold of the ruined tennement."

Our right to privacy is absolute, guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment with the phrase that we have the right to be "secure in our persons, houses, papers and effects."  To be secure means that you are free from all interference by anyone or anything.  So, yes, the Constitution in fact does provide for our privacy, contrary to a lot of government officials who know better and won't admit it.

Anonymity simply means without a name.

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Donald fails to make the distinction between a person's right to remain anonymous or not and the government's attempt to remove anonymity.  I gladly and proudly put my name on everything I do, but, I reserve the absolute right to remain anonymous when I so choose.  It's my decision and mine alone.  I voluntarily give up my anonymity to conduct transactions with businesses.  Those transactions are at my instigation.

But, notice that we don't voluntarily do transactions with the government.  It is at the government's instigation that we must interact with it, involuntarily.  Now, the government wants to remove even our anonymity to the government in our interactions with each other, which is none of the government's business.  Listening to Aunt Bessie talking about the Thanksgiving turkey has nothing to do with Bush's supposed Warrn Turr.

I had one of those maddening conversations with a Republican who said that I shouldn't object to the government snooping on me if I have nothing to hide.  I pointed out that precisely because I have nothing to hide is why the government has no right to snoop on me.  It's pointless to try to find out what you don't need to know.  I'm not paying for the government to find out that I'm not doing anything.  I'm paying for the government to find out who is doing something that they shouldn't and put a stop to it.

This same Republican bragged about how proud he is of George Bush for attacking Iraq.  I pointed out there were no WMD in Iraq, the reason Bush gave for the attack.  He said, "Well, they didn't know that there weren't any WMD there."  I said, "You're proud of George Bush going to war and killing a million innocent people based on what he didn't know.  Listen up, pay attention here.  You only decide to go to war based on what you do know, not on what you don't know.  And the fact is that he couldn't have known there were WMD there because they didn't exist.  You can't know, as George Bush said he did, about what doesn't exist."

As I should have known, the application of logic to the issue completely escaped him, leaving him in total incomprehension.

Incidentally and not unrelated to this because it's all about Bush's war on terror, "intelligence" as in "intelligence official" used above is incorrect.  Intelligence is an abstraction, a quality of the mind.  They're referring, properly, to information.  The combining of intelligence with government official is at best ironic.  Likewise, Bush's war on terror is incorrect, terror being also an abstraction.

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I'd like to see George Bush shoot and kill an abstraction and hang the hide on the barn door.


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Ed Martin is an ordinary person who is recovering from being badly over-educated. Born in the middle of the Great Depression, he is not affiliated with nor a member of any political, social or religious organization. He is especially interested in (more...)

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