The Obama administration’s war on privacy

In early August, two dictatorial (and U.S.-allied) Gulf states — Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — announced a ban on the use of Blackberries because, as the BBC put it, “[b]oth nations are unhappy that they are unable to monitor such communications via the handsets.” Those two governments demand the power to intercept and monitor every single form of communication. No human interaction may take place beyond their prying ears.Since Blackberry communication data are sent directly to servers in Canada and the company which operates Blackberry — Research in Motion — refused to turn the data over to those governments, “authorities [] decided to ban Blackberry services rather than continue to allow an uncontrolled and unmonitored flow of electronic information within their borders.” That’s the core mindset of the Omnipotent Surveillance State: above all else, what is strictly prohibited is the ability of citizens to communicate in private; we can’t have any “uncontrolled and unmonitored flow of electronic information.”To read this report in Salon in full, see:
www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/09/27/privacy/index.htmlAlso see:Administration seeks ways to monitor Internet communications
Federal officials are planning to seek legislation that would require social networking companies and voice-over-Internet service providers to adapt their technology so law enforcement agents can monitor users’ communications to catch suspected terrorists and other criminals.The proposal arises out of concern that technology and social customs have outpaced the law and that law enforcement authorities lack the means to monitor new methods of communication, administration officials said. But the initiative has also revived the debate over the proper balance between national security and personal privacy as well as what industry can be reasonably asked to do without stifling innovation.
www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/27/AR2010092703244.html

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