Convergence

Web 2.0 and the Future of Pervasive Computing

Monday, November 28, 2005

Big Brother Looking to Expand Product Line

Privacy has become increasingly important in our information-driven economy. Google's Eric Schmidt received quite a bit of press regarding the issue during the somewhat comedic CNET debacle. Privacy is not an issue that is limited to the private sector, however. In fact, some of the most serious threats to our privacy as Americans do not come from the private sector, but instead from are very own government. A recent article appearing in the Washington Post discusses moves by the government to create an "exception" to the privacy act stating, "The Pentagon has pushed legislation on Capitol Hill that would create an intelligence exception to the Privacy Act, allowing the FBI and others to share information gathered about U.S. citizens with the Pentagon, CIA and other intelligence agencies, as long as the data is deemed to be related to foreign intelligence." Deemed by who? What does it mean to be "related to foreign intelligence"? Anyone else see some large loopholes that could be subject to potential abuse? Whatever happened to the "checks and balances" we learned about in 3rd grade. We need to ask ourselves these questions as our leaders make the decisions that will inevitably impact the future of this country. The government is in a tricky situation. On one hand they are charged with defending the safety of the American people. On the other hand, they are also charged with the duty of protecting our individual liberties. It is not an easy balancing act, but I suppose that is what they signed on for. I just hope for the sake of posterity that we move carefully as a nation and do not lose sight of both sides of the equation.

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