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Day 2, The Aftermath
7amNews.com's concise coverage of the Terrorist attacks against the USA contines. Get the latest reports

The Next Victim? 13 September 2001 Edition
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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.

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.

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    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 rights.

    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 planes.

    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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    Open in New Window = open in new window
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