Thursday, November 15, 2007

Privacy Without Anonymity in the USA

A few months back, i wrote a blog entry on Privacy Without Anonymity. Over the weekend, Donald Kerr, principal deputy director of national intelligence in the United States, declared:
"Privacy no longer can mean anonymity...Instead, it should mean that government and businesses properly safeguard people's private communications and financial information."
Over at Boing Boing, where i stumbled upon this news, there is a lot of resistance to what it calls an Orwellian redefinition. I would tend to be more sympathetic since the tradeoff between privacy and transparency is not cut and dried and is something that merits thorough deliberation. As Kerr added:

"Our job now is to engage in a productive debate, which focuses on privacy as a component of appropriate levels of security and public safety...I think all of us have to really take stock of what we already are willing to give up, in terms of anonymity, but [also) what safeguards we want in place to be sure that giving that doesn't empty our bank account or do something equally bad elsewhere."
In principle, i agree with his statement although not necessarily with the policy of eavesdropping without a court order.

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