Though I loath to get too political in this blog, the following news item is just a little too much.
So a bunch of -for the most part- Republican Senators managed to kill a bill that allowed for background checks for gun purchases, a relatively minor and common sense (both in my opinion) proposed law that should have been enacted (again in my opinion) ages ago on the grounds that it was an invasion of personal privacy.
Yet these same people are now defending the NSA spying. When asked about the inherent contradiction of voting against gun buyers’ background checks -because they supposedly invade personal privacy- and defending the NSA spying -which essentially does the same on a much, much larger scale even though it is in the fight against terrorism- they reply that the two issues are very different and comparing them is like comparing “apples and oranges”.
Read for yourself…
I’ve noted it before and I’ll note it again: The internet and the digital revolution has created a vast new world, one where we’re only now beginning to see the potentially massive changes in how we and future generations will live our lives. Already some of the changes are obvious, from the extinction (for all intents and purposes) of both the video and music store -and coming soon, the extinction of the book store- thanks to online shopping to the fact that companies -not just the government!- now have a wealth of personal information on just about everyone out there which, in turn, leads to programs such as the NSA.
Am I against the NSA program?
It’s tough to form an opinion when I know so little about it. All I do know is that, again thanks to our new information age, it is suddenly much easier for an individual -any individual with access- to spill government secrets with the ease of clicking a button. The scary thing is this: In their zeal to expose what they believe is government overreach or possible corruption, could they be putting other people in danger? If the NSA program has been successful in stopping potential terrorist activity, will the exposure of same -and the potential of terrorists to circumvent what they now know the U.S. government is doing- endanger us? If, heaven forbid, a major terrorist strike occurs in the U.S. or in any friendly nation and scores of people are killed, and we find that the terrorists used the NSA leak to work their way around our security…then what?
But let’s look at the opposite side of the coin as well: What if the massive information the NSA collects is used by individuals to enrich/enpower themselves? If someone could look into the emails of big corporations and gain insight into their next moves, could they not use that information for themselves? And we’re not even talking about potential blackmail material, such the possibility of discovering that a certain CEO likes to hop onto certain pornographic websites or has made incriminating statements in an email…
I’ll repeat it one last time: The internet has changed things on a massive scale. The information age is upon us and privacy isn’t what it used to be, for better or worse.