In the sci-fi flick Colossus: The Forbin Project, the all-knowing computer was asked if it understood privacy.
“Privacy: Being apart from company or observation,” Colossus intoned.
Colossus didn’t really think much of respecting privacy; nor, it seems, do many legislators.
Today’s convergence of privacy-invading technologies and Washington‘s appetite for surveillance could send civil liberties packing if we’re not careful.
The historical accident of the Internet age arising alongside the post-9/11 “war on terror” and the derivative modern “cybersecurity” mania complicates matters profoundly.
OK, so it’s true that long ago Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy advised, “You have zero privacy anyway….Get over it.”
But new developments are particularly provocative.
One is the House-passed cybersecurity legislation called CISPA (Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act), now wrapped into the Senate’s noxious Cybersecurity Act of 2012. It’ll be considered in June, to the consternation of many on both the left and right who see it as a conduit for inappropriate information sharing between business and government.
The designation of unmanned surveillance drones flying overhead as “great” by Republican Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia is another tidbit of note. The FCC has been exploring drones’ use for emergency communications restoration, and I reckon they’ll somehow decide it’s A-OK.
It’s possible for drone usage to be OK; but not in the environment created by Washington‘s broader disregard for individual privacy.
These are just the latest privacy flareups. Others include certain biometrics deployments, public cameras, wiretap enhancements, RFID tags, invasive computer-assisted airline passenger screening and escalated e-mail monitoring fostered by the Patriot Act...