'We're All Hypocrites' on Privacy

Bill Keller: Where's the outrage over government, corporate invasions?

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 14, 2013 12:39 PM CST

(Newser) – The public howled when a New York newspaper printed the names and addresses of locals with gun permits, and we'd probably be similarly incensed if a paper decided to publish legally-obtained lists of abortion clinic employees, food stamp recipients, and on and on. Yet we, for the most part, do nothing when our privacy is invaded by our government in the name of national security, or by companies like Facebook and Google in the name of making a buck. The bottom line: "When it comes to privacy, we are all hypocrites," writes Bill Keller in the New York Times.

Keller lists numerous examples of our ever-more-intrusive "surveillance state," from the National Counterterrorism Center's ability to study and share any information the government has about you to intelligence agencies' ability to snoop on your phone calls and emails. We should demand "rigorous, independent oversight" to protect ourselves, but we don't. And then there are the Facebooks and Googles of the world, whose snooping we often see as "harmless, or even useful," not to mention online hacktivists like Anonymous, whose snooping we sometimes see as heroic. "As a society we have no coherent view of what information is worth defending and how to defend it," Keller writes. Click for his full column.

A screenshot of the Journal News' online map of permit pistol owners in two New York counties.
A screenshot of the Journal News' online map of permit pistol owners in two New York counties.   (lohud.com)
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