Privacy Is Lost, and We Are All To Blame

From In These Times:

Where will the next generation of Americans draw the line on surveillance?

BY Andrew Lam
July 1, 2013

When full-body scanners were introduced at American airports three years ago, there was a brief public outcry. But just as quickly, it died down. Travelers interviewed shrugged off the loss of privacy in the name of safety, using terms like “trade-off” and “compromise.”  One frequent traveler seemed to sum up the general attitude when he said he’d grown “immune to the procedures.”

In other words, Americans don’t want to be groped or scanned, don’t want our personal spaces invaded, but we’re willing to endure both in the name of security. Such is the contract between the people and the state in the new, post-9/11 America.

At airports, it is understood that you’re not allowed to exercise your rights—the Second Amendment explicitly and the First implicitly. It’s common sense that you don’t ever carry a gun on a plane. And since 9/11, don’t even think of saying the word “bomb” to a TSA agent, even if it’s a joke. Travelers have been routinely detained for doing just that. Passengers have even been kicked off planes for wearing t-shirts that were deemed offensive. One passenger was removed for wearing a shirt with an Arabic inscription that said, ironically, “We Will Not Be Silent.” He later sued Jet Blue and the two TSA screeners and won.

How you dress and what you say can be used against you at airports, where scanners and cameras and security guards are aplenty, and where you are constantly being monitored.

But what if, in the name of security, you were willing to give up more rights, not just at the airport, but everywhere else? What if the whole country were to slowly become a kind of mega-airport, a place where you had to watch your language and restrict your communication activities, all under the watchful, electronic eye of Uncle Sam?

That is increasingly becoming the scenario in America today, as the story of Edward Snowden versus the National Security Agency unfolds.

Snowden blew the whistle on PRISM, a government program that collects enormous amounts of data from the phone and Internet records of Americans, as well as others living outside of the U.S. Though PRISM’s existence has been known about for years, the sheer amount of data being mined is revelatory– 3 billion pieces of intelligence were culled from the computer networks of U.S. residents in March of 2013 alone.

Continue reading at:

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Privacy Is Lost, and We Are All To Blame
%d bloggers like this: