January 3, 2006


What Are You Lookin' At? (JOHN SCHWARTZ, 1/01/06, NY Times)

WHAT does it take to get Americans riled about invasions of privacy?

Every week seems to bring reports of a new breach of the computer networks that contain our most intimate personal information. Scores of companies - including Bank of America, MasterCard, ChoicePoint and Marriott International - have admitted to security lapses that exposed millions of people's financial information to potential abuse by identity thieves. For the most part, however, Americans have reacted with a collective shrug, many privacy experts said.

"They feel they can't do anything about it, anyway," said Lawrence Ponemon, the founder of a privacy consulting company, the Ponemon Institute. "They move on with their lives."

Has something fundamental changed in Americans' attitude toward privacy? Conditioned by the convenience of the Internet and the fear of terrorism, has the public incrementally redefined what belongs exclusively to the individual, and now feels less urgency about privacy?

Americans have never cared about privacy--we're too puritanical. The idea of privacy "rights" was cooked up by liberal elites to provide cover for evil practices like abortion.

Democrats to hit White House, Republicans on privacy issues (Charles Hurt, January 3, 2006, THE WASHINGTON TIMES)

Democrats on Capitol Hill are drafting a strategy to attack the Bush administration and Republicans as having little regard for the privacy of Americans.

Because if the NY Times agrees, you must have your finger on the American pulse?

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 3, 2006 12:00 AM

Just like property rights and corporations were invented by lawyers and business to boost profits.

Posted by: Grog at January 3, 2006 3:46 AM

In the Magna Carta?

You're like the poster boy for ignorance being necessary to Leftism.

Posted by: oj at January 3, 2006 3:50 AM

OJ: I am not a leftist. I am not a communist. I am not even a socialist. Unless I give you specific reason to do so, please do not demonize me like that.
I know that property rights were a part of the Magna Carta. Corporations were not. The idea of private property goes back a little farther then medieval England, brother Orrin; did you know that?
The earliest privacy rights are in the Koran; was Mohammed a liberal elitist? Foucault (you know, that philosopher who you pretend you understand?) traces its modern development in The History of Sexuality, as he dismantles the "repressive hypothesis" and tries to show how power has channeled sexual energies into numerous and diverse techniques for achieving the subjugations of bodies and the control of populations.
"Americans have never cared about privacy--"Once again, I have you ask you if you are really being serious here. Sometimes I really think you shoulda been a Communist instead.
"...we're too puritanical." - yeah, I guess our Puritanical values are why SUV sales are down this year. Our society's modern hypocrisy is so far removed from Puritanical hypocrisy that I'm amazed you don't feel stupid saying that.
You have all these opinions about what the demographic make-up of people in the United States that to me are completely off base, and probably have to do with a relatively small variety of friends that you have. It might be comforting to view yourself as a noble Puritan in the New England wilderness, but to everyone I have ever discussed Puritanism with, there isn't much we can thank them for other than a legacy of racism, sexism, paranoia and hate. In fact, if you read some of the work of the early Puritans, you find the same kind of discourse they used to justify the killing the Indians as you find in the War on Terror!!! A combination of representing the Indian as a unique threat, coupled with the noble Christian duty of spreading the light of Jesus to the savages.
As far as property rights being invented by liberal elites; sounds kinda crazy to me, but then again, I probably sound the same way to you.

Posted by: Grog at January 3, 2006 5:42 AM

SUV sales are down because gas prices spiked. Once the prices leveled out and started going down a bit, SUV sales went back up.

I think Grog must be channelling KB. He certainly makes most of the same stupid and ineffective arguments.

Posted by: sharon at January 3, 2006 6:44 AM


You're a stock Leftist who likes to imagine himself an independent thinker. It doesn't make you a demon, just immature. You'll grow out of it.

The Founding incoporated Magna Carta and the Common Law, not the Koran. Mohammed was, of course, a conservative, thus property rights.

Our frugality is Puritan.

They were right to kill the Indians, just as we're right to kill terrorists--simple clash of superior culture with inferior.

You don't sound crazy, just programmed.

Posted by: oj at January 3, 2006 8:19 AM

And what is with this fixation on corporations. Corporations are just a legal fiction allowing a large group of disparate individuals to own property together. Why aren't you upset at tenancy in common?

<Charlton Heston>Corporations are PEOPLE</Charlton Heston>

Posted by: David Cohen at January 3, 2006 8:35 AM

In answer to the article's author's basic question about the "listening" flap (the real point of the articles political inspiration) is that most Americans are smart/practical/realistic (your choice) enough to avoid joining the terrorists and "Neolites" in their suicide cult.

Posted by: Genecis at January 3, 2006 8:36 AM

Or that people walking around talking on a handheld radio don't have any privacy rights? Especially as most of them seem to do their talking right behind me in the cashier's line at Stop & Shop.

Posted by: David Cohen at January 3, 2006 8:56 AM

Yeah, yeah, yeah. So grog wants to give New England back to the Indians and the oil back to the sand monkeys--let's talk about the article.

The Schwartz piece quote an "expert" as saying, "The essence, really, is a majority of the public does not believe the administration should be given a blank check."

Really? Really, really? Let us look at the data in the article. We read that for 2004 23% of respondents were very confident and 56% were somewhat confident that the subject information would be properly use. Sort of looks like 76% were confident, doesn't it.

One more time--truth means less than nothing to those people. 24% of those surveyed were other than supportive of the surviellance program, but a "majority of the public" is in opposition, and Bill Clinton did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.

Posted by: Lou Gots at January 3, 2006 8:58 AM

If there's a scandal here, it still will have to go to finding some domestic-to-domestic spying that was done as part of the NSA program. As long as it remains a case involving international phone calls and e-mails, which most Americans don't do frequently, if at all, the privacy concerns are not going to create a bigger stir in the general public than the fear that nothing is being done to keep another major al Qaida attack from happening inside the U.S.

Posted by: John at January 3, 2006 9:57 AM

when you give a leftist a cookie...

Posted by: toe at January 3, 2006 10:12 AM


So, you're saying that "lawyers and business [corporations]" invented property rights even though corporations didn't exist at the time property rights were invented?

P.S. If you really believe that property rights are just a scam to enrich lawyers and business, why not strike a blow against both by refusing to have any property?

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at January 3, 2006 1:05 PM

It just dawned on me, Democrats to hit WH, Republicans on privacy issues,

then maybe they shouldn't have gotten Steele's SS #.

Posted by: Sandy P at January 3, 2006 3:50 PM

After the Democrats talk about how important it is that the Feds respect your privacy, I wonder if they'll argue that the Feds should have less control over health care? Lots of privacy concerns there, right?

Posted by: PapayaSF at January 3, 2006 4:15 PM

And Rush Limbaugh's medical records just have to be public record, now don't they? Because he's a criminal, isn't he?

As for Schumer's staffers, they were 'just looking'. Perhaps Judge Alito will bring it up during the hearings - Ashcroft would have (like he did with Jamie Gorelick).

Posted by: jim hamlen at January 3, 2006 4:28 PM