Daily Archives: May 20, 2022

Moot points in the modern world

Jack wrote this in December, 2005:

I see there’s a considerable stink being raised over whether the Patriot Act gets renewed by the US Congress because of infringements on the privacy of Americans.  I’ll confess I’m generally opposed to a statute that allows circumvention of the US Constitution insofar as searches without warrants and abuses by official agencies in matters not involving national security.

However, having said that, I suggest it’s a moot point.

I have in front of me a cheap cellular telephone.  But it has a proven capability of recording a conversation between US Border Patrol agents sitting in the next booth in a restaurant.  Taking their pictures, both still, and video.

This is reality.

Maybe runaway technology is a good thing.  Maybe the certainty that we no longer have any privacy will finally provide a motivation for us to behave the ways we should have been behaving all along.  If we believe we have any dark secrets now we’re probably wrong in thinking so.

But if this $30 cellular phone will do what it will do, you can bet there are hundreds, maybe thousands of instruments in the hands of businesses, government agencies, and nosy neighbors to assure there’s no longer anything worth trying to hide.

Yeah, I oppose searches without warrants, particularly those conducted without my knowledge.  But the fact is, if it happens to me I’ll know.  The thumb-sized security camera installed in front of my house to record anyone approaching when I’m gone will get it all down for the record.

I don’t have any privacy, you don’t have any privacy, the US Border Patrol doesn’t have any privacy, and the cop who stops you for a burned out tail-light doesn’t have any privacy.

We’re all just going to have to start behaving ourselves.