WHAT IS PUBLIC?

 

 
It's time to redefine "public" once and for all.

There's no privacy granted to me if I walk from point A to point B in public. But, if I have a private conversation at point B, that's private. If someone should want to secretly eavesdrop on me at point B, he or she would need a badge, probable cause and a court order. But, no law prevents anyone from observing me on my walk there.

Today, we don't walk from point A to point B. We call by phone and send emails. When I place that phone call, I'm in public space as surely as if I were to stroll down the avenue. That which I say on the phone is private and should remain private without a court order. But, the fact that I made the call and to whom I made it, can be observed and duly noted -- it's in the public space. At least, that's MY premise.

 

 
 

The MASTERS of WAR

Bob Dylan wrote "Damn you masters of war. You that build the big bombs" He went on to say "I hope that you die and your death will come soon..." Powerful words. I can't wish that those who work to prevent the observation of big bomb plotters should die in the resulting explosion. I can't do that. For one thing, other innocents will surely die.

But, there would be some level of justice if those who work to prevent the our national law enforcement agencies from foiling the plots of these masters of war, should die in the blast. My guess is, they're willing to make that sacrifice for the principle. "Live free or die!" they say. That's OK for them. But, not for the other innocents who may die in the explosion--and it might be a nuclear bomb next time.

I would have thought that the majority of US citizens, the courts and congress would find that the NSA did not err in defining "public" to include phone records in order to trip up the Masters of War. Phone records only! Not individual phone conversations.

But, I was wrong. The courts decided we couldn't trust our government to hold these records without abusing that privilege---considering their record of past abuses. They denied them the ability to use powerful data mining techniques to discover the bomb plotters' plots before they turned deadly. This is a shame to have lost this powerful tool.

"You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks"
- Bob Dylan


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