The expectations is for us to trust in the NSA and the law "enforcement" community in general, with our personal information and secrets those who gave us Oli North (Brandt) and want a key to our safe, and one which leaves no trace once they've been there!

"The existence of COINTELPRO was first revealed when every document in the Media, Pennsylvania office of the FBI was stolen by unknown persons on March 8, 1971. Some sixty documents were then mailed to selected publications, and others were sent directly to the people and groups named. These documents broke down as follows: 30 percent were manuals, routine forms, and similar procedural materials. Of the remainder, 40 percent were political surveillance and other investigation of political activity (2 were right-wing, 10 concerned immigrants, and over 200 were on left or liberal groups), 25 percent concerned bank robberies, 20 percent were murder, rape, and interstate theft, 7 percent were draft resistance, another 7 percent were military desertion, and 1 percent organized crime, mostly gambling." Brandt

"Another example of sloppy ethics is found in the way the word "privacy" is babbled about without qualification. I have yet to see any suggestion that the right to privacy ought to be inversely proportional to social power, and should be balanced against the right to know. Joe Sixpack deserves more privacy than David Rockefeller, because Joe's simple livelihood may be affected by Rocky's wheeling and dealing. Joe has more of a right to know what Rocky is up to than vice-versa. It does not require a philosophy degree to grasp this; libel law in the U.S., for example, makes a similar distinction between a public figure and a private figure."

The sad fact is that the ethical balance of privacy is turned on its head; the average citizen's life is an openbook for all who care to buy the information while those who control and affect policy in this country, the wealthy and the powerful, can afford to guard their privacy as they wish. In fact the average citizen doesn't even seem to have the proper protections if he or she happens to be a child (more info), a subgroup generally afforded extensive protections in most realms.

One of the more amusing recent examples of "government run amuck" invovles the Prosecutors Management Information Systems (PROMIS)

"Senior intelligence and department officials have told Wired that PROMIS, a database management software, was appropriated as part of a covert intelligence operation authorized by the Reagan administration. Once stolen from Inslaw, PROMIS (which stands for Prosecutors Management Information Systems) was altered, then clandestinely installed in various computer systems, allowing US intelligence agencies - the CIA in particular - to surf the computers of foreign banks and spy services through a secret "backdoor." WIRED

Click on icon to go back to debate.

Click on icon to go back to abstract.

Click on icon to go to Sources and Acknowledgements.