A Little Less Privacy, a Bit More Security
ONE NATION UNDER SURVEILLANCE: A NEW SOCIAL CONTRACT TO DEFEND FREEDOM WITHOUT SACRIFICING LIBERTY, Oxford University Press, 2011
3 Pages Posted: 30 Nov 2010
Date Written: November 12, 2010
The European Union has announced that it will overhaul its data protection rules in 2011. Later this month, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and Commerce Department will release their own reports on online privacy. Meanwhile, as part of the much-hyped efforts to prepare for cyberwar, the U.S. National Security Agency is strengthening ties with organizations like Google and its efforts to mine social networking sites like Facebook.
The dynamic is a familiar one. As usual, privacy will lose. In recent years, the battleground of privacy has been dominated by fights over warrantless electronic surveillance in the United States and closed-circuit television(CCTV) in Britain. The coming months will see further debates over data mining, DNA databases and biometric identification. There will be protests and lawsuits, editorials and elections resisting these attacks on privacy. The battles are worthy, but the war will be lost. Efforts to prevent governments from collecting such information are doomed to failure because modern threats increasingly require that governments collect the information; because governments are increasingly able to collect it; and because citizens increasingly accept that they will collect it.
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