Yesterday's terrorist attack against strategic targets in New York and Washington
DC have completely swamped the media and by now we've all seen those horrifying
shots of airliners plunging into buildings at least a dozen times or more.
the contents of Aardvark's "million-dollar ideas" notebook
are revealed for all to see!
What will the final toll be?
Thousands of innocent lives lost.
Billions of dollars worth of aircraft and buildings completely destroyed.
Confidence in the safety and security of life the USA badly shaken.
But something less obvious took a huge hit yesterday --
although it probably won't become apparent for a few weeks or months...
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I refer to our freedom and privacy.
Any hopes that we could avoid government control over the personal use
of strong encryption has been hit every bit as hard as the towers of
the World Trade Center.
The terrorist attacks against the USA were well coordinated, and it's highly
likely that they were directed from outside the USA. To that end,
the Internet almost certainly played a role in linking the perpetrators
with the instigators of the ugly deeds.
Just as Echelon and Carnivore were seemingly beginning to wither under
the concerted pressure of citizens demanding their rights to privacy -- it
would appear that governments around the world now have all the justification
they need to dramatically increase the scope and power of these systems.
Although the death and carnage was focused in three highly confined
US locations -- the shockwaves spread around the world in seconds -- and
now the fallout will do the same.
Here in New Zealand, the Crimes Amendment Bill, even with its draconian
late-additions, will almost certainly pass.
Yesterday's terrorist attack has handed its proponents all the leverage
they need to ride rough-shod over our rights in the name of public safety.
It's likely that politicians will jump on this "we need to infringe your
privacy to ensure your safety" bandwagon sooner rather than later. Right now,
people are still so shocked by the events of yesterday that they're unlikely
to put up much resistance to *anything* which could help avoid a recurrence.
However, we ought to stop and think before we give up one of our most sacred
Let's draw an analogy -- what about the small craft-knives used by the hijackers?
Clearly, just as the attacks would have been virtually impossible without
access to secure communications channels, it would have also been impossible
without the ability to carry some of weapon (such as these knives) onto the
Should we ban these knives -- or make them subject to licensing -- just in case
someone else uses them in the same way?
Before we give up the right to privacy in our communications -- we really need
to weigh up the true size of the risks involved.
Are we prepared to act and be treated like little children who are need
someone to wipe their backsides, tie their shoes and spoon-feed them -- or
are we a nation of grown-ups who are prepared to act as responsible
adults with the right to privacy and protection from the intrusive activities
of the state?
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who put their money where their mouse is :-)
If guilt is gnawing away inside you then there's still time to donate.
Just drop by and
hand over your loot.
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