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Sunday
Aug252013

How We Killed Privacy Long Before PRISM

Foreign Policy has published an excellent review of US privacy and surveillance law and its evolution (if one can call it that) during an age of unprecedented change in the use of personal and mass media, and technology change at speeds which make legislative response look positively glacial.

The idea that it has suddenly and suprisingly been revealed that we have little or no privacy with the NSA revelations is, quite frankly, bogus.  It's a theme generated by an over-heated journalism (looking for eyeballs) and the unfortunate over-use of privacy threat by those organizations which legitimately are pushing back on abuse, have been for years, and now see an effective way of getting it in front of the general populace.  I find both disturbing and hypocritical

 

How We Killed Privacy -- in 4 Easy Steps - By Daveed Gartenstein-Ross and Kelsey D. Atherton | Foreign Policy:

Privacy in 2013 does not exist as we knew it in 2000.
But don't be fooled: The almost complete erosion of what we would have considered our private spaces at the beginning of this millennium is not entirely -- nor even mainly -- a result of the National Security Agency's surveillance. While nobody should doubt that the government's electronic spying is intrusive, we largely let online privacy slip away without any assistance from security agencies. Each step along the way was, for the most part, understandable and reasonable rather than nefarious. But the fact is that privacy in the United States is not what it used to be, and until we realize that, our debateSave & Close about electronic privacy -- Manichean as it is, and focused almost exclusively on the relationship between the government and its citizens -- will fail to resurrect its value.
Four distinct factors have interacted to kill electronic privacy: a legal framework that has remained largely static since the 1970s, significant changes in our use of rapidly evolving technology, commercial providers' increasingly intrusive tracking of our every online habit, and a growth in non-state threats that has made governments the world over obsess about uncovering these dangers. Only by understanding the interaction between these factors can we begin the necessary discussion about what privacy means in the 21st century -- and how to forge a new social compact to address the issue.

 

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