Tuesday, July 14, 2015

SHEARING A PIG

Edward Snowden, a hero for the digital age or a traitorous thief?

His stream of leaked classified documents has created major embarrassment and headaches for those who seem to think the ends justify the means - who feel that in order to protect democracy they must circumvent our rights to secrecy and privacy.

Snowden is guilty of exposing the establishment - those charged with protecting our liberties - of  egregious deception. 

Our security agencies have been collecting and retaining information on us that violates the privacy of hundreds of thousands of innocent people.  Most likely, something you have written, faxed or e-mailed is in their files. Chances are this post will go into a file somewhere.

Snowden's latest leaked cache of documents includes benign information ranging from resumes to job hunters, to medical records, family photos, transcripts of school children to private correspondence. 

I have tried to balance the blanket of security against the believe that if you are doing nothing wrong, who really cares what they see. 

It does not work for me. The big brother society is collecting anything and everything - and that if that is not insult enough - they can not seem to protect the information they gather. Our daily lives are an open book.

The Washington Post's latest article illustrates this. Your photos, correspondence or your child's grade three transcript could be on display in the Post's newsroom right now! 

Who do we trust? A government that says it does not violate our private lives - yet does by gathering and storing massive amounts of private data, or the media which has been provided proof of this activity but swear to protect the privacy of affected individuals? 

The fact that government agencies sworn to protect us are breaking the sacred trust we have placed in them is disconcerting. However, that information is now in the hands of journalists who Snowden hopes will act honorably. How is it that the information of innocent people is protected so poorly that it can be accessed so easily and disseminated? The lack of safeguards is nearly as disturbing as the lack of privacy.

Do these so called "national security agencies"  deserve of our trust? If you feel that the should be permitted to spy, collect and store massive amounts of digital data on us, why are there not adequate safeguards in place to protect that information? 

Even if you buy into the need for these sweeping powers and you trust the clandestine operations that collect the data - do you have confidence in their ability to protect your privacy?

These revelations serve to  encourage debate on the growing tension between divergent public policy objectives. The inability of security organizations to strike the balance between information privacy and individual rights on the one hand, versus national security and counter-terrorism on the other, does not enhance my trust - or confidence - in our overseers!



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