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12 November, 2007

Redefining intrusion

Allegedly, modern society has reached a turning point.  The Guardian quotes Donald Kerr, the principal deputy director of US national intelligence as saying that our concept of 'privacy' needs to be explicitly revised.

Privacy no longer can mean anonymity. Instead, it should mean that government and businesses properly safeguard people's private communications and financial information.
So, as Cory Doctorow translates that for BoingBoing:
Human beings can no longer expect governments and companies not to spy on them; instead 'privacy' will now mean having the right to expect that governments and companies won't tell other people what they learn when they spy on you.
No. Just no. Not acceptable.

Kerr repeats a routine non-sequitur:

Millions of people in this country - particularly young people - already have surrendered anonymity to social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook, and to Internet commerce.
So it's not so big a deal if governments appropriate the information too, right? Wrong. The essential distinction, which Kurt Opsahl of the EFF does grasp, is personal choice: there is no contradiction between my voluntarily disclosing (or, quite openly, faking) certain information in exchange for private-sector services and my refusing to share that information with the state.

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